Food Language

The sky lit up a spectacular purple against the dark grey of the clouds. The pouring down rain was a familiar sound as the thunder rose to a roar. The storms here are beautiful to watch. It is something that is a normal part of living here. To me, the storms are something big, new, and exciting. For the Lahu, it is just a normal evening and people wait out the rain as it comes in spurts. The weather here is hot and sticky, but you get used to it!

Class was held at Payap University. The Adjun (professor) introduced us to the class of Exclusion and Exploitation. We watched a video about human trafficking that was produced in 2003. It was heartbreaking and revealed a reality that I feel the States has a hard time understanding. How most girls in prostitution are pulled in by circumstance and are there almost by a forced choice. It is a way to make money for the family and to be able to eat. They have no skills, limited education, and are often hundreds of miles away from home. Most girls are from either Burma or China that are in prostitution in Thailand. The most vulnerable girls are those in the high mountains who have no citizenship. Lack of citizenship is just one of the many complicated issues around exploitation of women and men. Men are also trafficked for forced labor, which most are only teenagers and younger. The video showed several interviews with people who are seeking to solve the problem as well as girls who are currently in prostitution. The venues where prostitution happens is something I was not as aware about. From karaoke to coffee shops, women are trying to make a living and support their families. By circumstance mostly, women are forced into selling themselves. Something that is hard to understand and come to terms with. Throughout this semester I will be learning more about the subject and hope to become more aware of the issues in this region.

I got the pleasure of chatting with my family yesterday and I still am reminded of the blessing of an incredible support group behind me. Thank you to my family, my friends, my aunties and uncles, my second moms and dads, the library staff, and to whoever else has and is supporting me in my dream. I would not be here if it were not for your loving support!

The cook made us the most delicious dish of Pad Thai! Apparently, pad thai is just like spaghetti in the States. Every mom makes it differently! I think my favorite is homemade for sure. 🙂 The culture is all about food. Even in the market there is a food of some sort every twenty feet. The meals are light and always have a vegetable. American cuisine could really learn from Thai cuisine. Food is for sure a language here. We learned some Thai in the evening, which mostly consisted of giggles at the wrong pronunciation. The language is hard to learn, but I am determined to know some phrases at least so I can talk with people in Thai and Lahu.

The internet was down due to the storm, so I was not able to post yesterdays happenings!


Bethany Jane



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