Today I have a real day off. I’m doing nothing. This morning my wife and my daughter left for a riding competition. My youngest I send off with the school bus at seven and my 11 year old stayed at home with a cold. So being up at seven I brewed some coffee and took the dog for a walk around the mubaan (village) After coming back I grabbed the coffee and watched the news for a bit, then went upstairs into bed to read. I like my Saturday morning. Later I came downstairs to have some breakfast. Today is Loi Kratong. The light festival in Thailand. Everybody washes down their "sins" in little banana floats with candles and let’s hot air balloons into the sky. Of course is everything accompanied with a lot of fireworks and noise.
Mat told me that last Monday was the world toilet day. I know that sounds a little strange. But since I build and helped with building toilets in several villages I thought I post it here. In the villages we work many people don’t have toilets. On the webpage of the world toilet organization I found the following:
"International statistics (WHO and UNICEF 2000; WHO and UNICEF 2004) indicates that over 2.6 billion people in the world today are without any form of "improved sanitation".
I know for most people in the West (at least I know in Switzerland) don’t think about sewage and toilets. It is already developed and regulated. In the mountains if there are toilets there are often shared with a many people. Somehow like a public toilet. In the way villages develop it seems toilets is the last thing people think about. I mean there is the forest or the field that needs fertilizer. When it comes to the urban settings there are no fields or forests and sewage becomes a huge problem. So a world toilet day is not the worst thing to have. Let us remember, not everybody can sit down with the newspaper or have a time out.
I wish you all a great start into the new week. I just came back from Mae Taeng where I led worship in the DTS there. It is quite far out. Still I like going there for ministry during the time of the discipleship school. I really need to get hands on some new songs in Thai and English. The one’s I have are kind of worn. If you know what I mean. This afternoon Mida should be coming to Chiang Mai to do some voice recording. I haven’t heard from her and cannot reach her either. The difficulty lies in the lack of mobile phone connection in the mountains. We will see if it works out.
Yesterday I joined Mongkun and his family for thanksgiving at his older sisters village in the Prao area. We met at the boarding home we support and from there went all the way off-road into the mountains. The road would have been very difficult in the rainy season. But now it is quite dry. There were also tow new bridges built over the river coming down the mountains. We spent the whole day in the village talking to the various leaders and pastors gathering. After the two hour church service we met a Lahu Lady who has another boarding home with 48 children. It was quite interesting talking with her. I was able to get more information about the Prao area and the problems they are facing with the changing times. I met other pastors and also a catholic priest visiting. As the only outlander I felt out of place at times. In all the years I have not learned the Lahu language and many don’t speak Thai very well, or don’t seem to like speaking it. So communication is rather difficult without a translator. Talking about their problems I also realized that coming from Switzerland I come from such a different culture and life. The development Switzerland experienced in the last two hundred years seems to just beginning in the villages in the mountains. Even though they have solar power and mobile phones. Globalisation is a strange thing. I have been in and out of Lahu villages for the last seven years. I have seen, heard and experienced quite a lot. I’m not easily shocked. Still I have moments when I feel overwhelmed and tired. Change does not come quickly. Switzerland took a long time to be where it is. It will take time for development. I don’t mean the destructive sides of the western world. I mean the long term perspective on developing a village, family or one-self. Where do I stand? I feel like a mere observer and perhaps I can throw a small stone into the pond to stir something.
There would be a thousand stories, adventures and episodes. I just can’t think of any right now. I’m sitting in bed 11.30 pm. Tomorrow is Saturday and I will drive up North to Prao to meet Mongkun. We will go to a thanksgiving service in a Lahu village. This will be the first time I go to a Lahu village in this area. Even though we support the boarding school that helps a lot of those children from those villages. This week has been somehow busy with writing an update and trying to send it. E-mail server problems. Preparing a week long teaching for the Karen DTS and recording Midas new song. The next two weeks will be quite full, but I want to keep this Blog and my readers updated. Actually I wanted to go climbing this morning, but we were somehow to busy. Perhaps on the weekend. We’ll see. At least I was able to make it to the gym twice this week. What else? Oh yes my Lowden guitar showed her age while we were recording. The 22 year old preamp is finally giving up on me. Am I that old? I bought the guitar when I was 17. Okay enough rambling. It’s time for dreaming…. Good night.
The last two days we were recording a new Lahu song. For now Thomas puts the basic tracks down. Rhythm, Bass and I play the guitar. Next week Mida will come for the vocals. It has been a while since I recorded my guitar playing and I must say it is rather challenging. I enjoy doing it but it takes a lot of concentration. I realize that I just don’t practice enough with a metronome. Today when you record and work with digital instruments and loops it it seems to me like there is no room for the occasional slip. So perhaps I will just have to practice my strumming and picking a bit more.
I am so tired of my old computer. It seems to be more in repair then on my desk. So I’m looking for option to buy a new one that goes with our budget. The one I’m looking at is the miniMac for 31’500 Baht (CHF 1,149.00) I already have a screen and keyboard. It is a low budget mac but sufficient for what I use it for. My dream would be the imac 47’900 Baht (CHF 2,099.00). But this will probably stay a dream. Just look at it. Sooo nice and stylish. Of course also very powerful and fast.
I went to the office with my fixed computer. The joy of having my ibook G4 back didn’t last very long. Kernel panic. The screen frozen and I’m frustrated. I brought it back to the shop and got some sympathy and a a worried look from the boss. It is the logic board or the could be the RAM. They changed it already two times. I left the ibook there and luckily can still use the old ibook G3 my kids use. But also this machine is very slow and has a hard time with some of the software. I started doing back ups on a daily basis now. Some of my stuff I have on three hard drives and even online with a .Mac account. So I can synchronize between the machines. Still I feel like I’m wasting time figuring things out. In the Mac shop I looked at some computers. the Mac mini, the new iMac and the McBook. I believe sometimes next year I need to get a new Computer. If they can’t fix the Problem with my ibook then I need to get one even earlier.
I write this post in German for all the German speakers in Chiang Mai.
Heute Morgen habe ich die Anbetung in der deutschen "Haustreffen" geleitet. Ich weiss eigendlich gar nicht wie das ganze heisst oder ob wir es Gemeinde nennen. Vor einiger Zeit, ich denke schon bald vor zwei Jahren, haben ein deutsches Ehepaar ihr Haus geöffnet und wir traffen uns alle zwei Wochen um zusammen zu "brunchen" und eine Zeit miteinander und Gott zu verbringen. Dies hat sich weiterentwickelt und es kommen schon rmanchmal 30 Leute zusammen. Ich leite dort alle zwei Wochen die Anbetung in deutsch. Unterdessen treffen sich einige wöchentlich und die rede ist von mehr Struktur. Mal sehen was daraus entsteht. In Chiang Mai gibt es viele deutschsprachige Leute die sich ab und zu in ihrer eigenen Sprache anbeten wollen. Ich werde zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt noch mehr darüber schreiben.