27

March

When we first arrived at the Karen village, they told us some of the rules. The one that really stuck to me was that you cannot show affection to the opposite gender. If you do, they would sacrifice a chicken. Their religion isn’t Buddhism. Buddhism actually isn’t a religion; it’s a philosophy. We learned that on the first day from a Monk at the resort. I’m not going to try to say what their religion is because I can’t remember, but I think it starts with an “A.” Then, on the last night of the homestay, they sacrificed a chicken. Nate asked if he could kill the it, but they didn’t let him. Queen, Sterling, and Jessica H. were scared and emotional about the chicken getting killed, so they just tied the legs up and put him on the floor until we left. Then when we left, they killed it.

My mosquito net tent was really small, so my feet and my head were poking it. I had to sleep diagonally just to fit. My blanket was small too, so I had to scrunch up to stay under it. I couldn’t do the little brick pillow she gave me, so slept on of my blankets because she gave me four. It was freezing cold at night, and I wasn’t expecting that. It felt like Indianapolis. I woke up and was like “Huh… How did I get home already?” Then I had to take a freezing bucket shower when I got up in the morning. After that, I didn’t take a shower in the morning anymore. I had to take it at night. When we did the first hike, it was like four hours. We saw a 500-year-old tree. We also saw this bee thing they use to check how the forest is. I don’t know how to explain it, but they can tell by how the bees are doing how the forest is doing.

One day, we went to pick tea leaves. We got big baskets full of them. They had these pan things that they put all the leaves in. Then we massaged the leaves for five to ten minutes. After that we put them in the oven for 49 minutes. We didn’t get to see what they looked like when they took the leaves out of the oven, but we had tea the next day. Everything was slanted uphill because we were on a mountain. My house was on a hill, so every day Lamont and I had to walk up it and walk down it. One days we interviewed our hosts, and Miss G said we had the best interview of everybody. The last homestay was a success.