The adventure continues! The last four days, just like all of the other days, have been filled with wonderful learning opportunities and cultural experiences! On our last day at the Kanchanaburi campus, we visited the famous HellFire Pass, a rail road track that was constructed by prisoners of war during WWII. This stop was a very powerful sight to see due to the somber history of its creation, however, it was valuable to learn more of this historic location I had known little about. Continuing on with our theme of food sustainability, we next ventured to a small scale, organic Japanese melon farm where we spoke at length with the farmer about his agricultural processes. With the help and supplemental knowledge of Mahidol professors who accompanied us, it was very interesting to see how successful the melon production was as well as what environmentally friendly and sustainable practices the farmer utilized. For example, he described his methods for making his own organic soil, fertilizers, and even plantation design. Next we visited a larger food processing facility that specialized in packing corn and other vegetables for shipment to various areas. Being taken to their production floor was an very cool experience and really allowed us to talk in depth about food and microbiology safety. The staff was very friendly and even provided us with our own samples of their canned corn product to try. It did not disappoint!
The following Sunday marked our free day which we began by waking up at 4am to take part in the Mahidol Kanchanaburi campus 2019 fun run charity event. This was an amazing experience as I have never participated in event like this, especially not in a far away country while study abroad! The energy of all who attended was electrifying and made running a 10k feel like a breeze! Just kidding, it was still incredibly challenging. But once we said goodbye to the wonderful staff, we returned back to our home base in Salaya and used our free time to explore the city of Bangkok in the afternoon. What I enjoyed most about the trip was visiting Khao San Road which is known for its high concentration of backpackers from around the world.
For our last venture on this trip, we spent yesterday traveling 8 hours up north to the more mountainous area of Thailand to study their agricultural practices as well. Since yesterday was mostly travel, we spent the afternoon resting and exploring our bed n’ breakfast-like accommodations called Uncle Tom’s cabin. The town we are in, Phetchabun, is extremely different from Salaya and Kanchanaburi as it is much more isolated, small scale, and clearly has a life style of self dependence. Today we traveled 3000 meters up a mountain to visit a farming community and observed their farming practices. The day was filled with outstanding views, extremely kind locals, and wonderful food!