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Thanksgiving in Thailand

Thanksgiving in Thailand

Sara Marie Moore | Nov 27, 2014

Last Thanksgiving I was alone in a foreign land. But it is the Thanksgiving which reminds me most of the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving. I felt much like the pilgrims of old. No one around me even knew it was "Thanksgiving."  But that made it even more genuine, like a flashback from the past. The pilgrims and their welcoming native friends were just living life, too. Just celebrating the harvest together - foreigner and native. It was harvest time in Thailand. I had traveled to a remote village of the Karen tribe to teach English. The host pastor dropped me off for a week, to teach English where no foreign teacher had taught before. I called him at the end of that week and told him to pick me up after another week. I wanted to stay. I wanted to celebrate the harvest with these people. The villagers had begun to cut their golden rice with sickles, leaving it to dry in the sun. One day I followed my host mother, taking a sickle in my hand. I was going to help. She smiled and communicated her enthusiasm, even though we couldn't speak any of the same languages.  I followed her outside the village to a field down the road. Smiles broke out among the villagers when they saw me harvesting the rice by hand, just like them. Well, almost. I did my best.   harvest             Harvesting rice with an old-fashioned sickle.  Taking part in a harvest with no machinery proved to be one of the experiences I am most thankful for in life. I helped to bundle the sheaves after they had dried out. I helped to thresh the rice, beating the sheaves over bamboo mesh. I hulled the rice with a large, foot-powered hammer.   rice flying               Rice flies everywhere as it is threshed over bamboo mesh.  The villagers came together for the harvest, helping each other in their fields. I was part of it. And when Thanksgiving Thursday came around,  I was celebrating the harvest with a tribal people. They shared their rice with me, and their crabs. It was a special meal, celebrating the harvest.   Thanksgiving meal in Thailand               My "Thanksgiving" harvest meal in Thailand.  That is what Thanksgiving is all about, celebrating and sharing across cultures. I am thankful for the Karen village in Thailand who opened their heart to me, to teach me about their life and culture while we brought in the harvest. It reminds me that Thanksgiving is about more than being thankful - it is about sharing life, culture and food.    

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