A great example of a mutually beneficial exchange
As part of their annual visit to Chiang Mai, Concordian likes to visit a local school as a cultural exchange for their students.
This year they went to Muang Ka School, which is around 30 minutes further into the countryside from Traidhos Community. There are approximately fifty students at the school. Most of them are from ethnic groups such as Karen and Hmong.
Thanks to the cooperation with Sangob Foundation, Muang Ka School prepared some traditional activities for their new friends from Bangkok to try. Even in this area, some of these traditional activities are becoming more difficult to find. The different activities were:
Students had the opportunity to learn how to make a popular traditional snack in many different hill tribe groups: khao puk. Sticky rice, sugar, and sesame are the main ingredients and every student had a turn to smash the sticky rice by using bamboo sticks, plus of course the best bit: eating it afterwards!
Students learnt how to make a traditional grass roof that has been used for many years by local villagers. The teachers of the school and local villagers came to teach students how to weave the grass to become a roof.
Although it looks like one, this is not really the same as a dream catcher. In fact, in the north of Thailand many people believe that these objects can protect them from evil spirits or bad situations. They will hang this in front of a house or in a particular place in the village. Even though they are well-known in this part of the country, Concordian students were able to learn about a traditional Thai belief that they had never come across before.
This was a traditional Karen weaving station. The students learned how to weave by hand and not from a machine. This helped the students understand more about how hard it is to make handmade products. There are so many processes to finish the cloth!
After finishing all the stations, Students experienced and exchanged culture together. All the students were excited and happy to learn new things which they would never experience in Bangkok. In fact, the day was such a success that Muang Ka School has decided to introduce local skills to their school curriculum and will be inviting village elders on special days to teach the children in order to help preserve their local culture!