The last two days have been very emotional seeing the children with so few resources at the school and visiting some of the villages. Throughout the villages are dirt roads ( often swept clean) and everything is so dusty. We saw a baby who lived near the school who at one year old is unable to walk as the mother had difficulty breast feeding and the babies bones have not become strong enough to put any weight on them to move or walk. The mortality rate is one death out of every five children.
So we headed for the waterfall today 30 min from Um Phang where we had stayed the night. The Nantok Thi Lo Su waterfall is in the world heritage listed Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary. The road into the waterfall is 25 km and took us just over an hour in a 4 wheel drive. We bounced and held on for dear life at times as we turned corner after corner and tried to dodge all the ruts and potholes. You could never make this trip after heavy rains. The waterfall is 5 football fields wide, 900 m above sea level and nearly 300 m high. It was impressive and would be even more so after the rains. After the hour in the truck, we still had 1.5 km of an easy but absolutely beautiful walk to the waterfall itself.
On the way home we stopped at a "factory" (under some houses) where they made "roof panels" of tien tree leaves. They wait until the leaves fall off the trees and are quite dry before they tie them on to flat rods of bamboo! They need to be replaced every two years or so.
The Takhobi Cave was on the way home so we made a quick stop...amazing rock formations. Big said that when the communist were fighting the Thais the Thais used the cave to hide in.
Finished the day by walking through the village "walking market" where they had all types of food. We had some caramel popcorn, fresh corn on the cob, a seafood stir fry and a vegetable dish. We then had some different Thai sweets, one was coconutty and the other was a sweet rice paste jelly. All very interesting!