AD was happy to welcome back a second study tour group from the University of Kyoto. The learning outcomes of this trip focused on tsunami relief in Thailand and using their experiences to generate ideas for developing similar projects in the tsunami affects areas in Japan. The students engaged in a discussion with Abbot Manus at Bang Mung Temple about using the Buddhism way of life to alleviate perceived problems. The group also visited Ban Tarn Nam Jai, the orphanage that provides care for up to eighty children orphaned as a result of the tsunami. The students were happy to play games with the children and have fun. They were also invited to spend the night at the Ban Nam Kem Youth Centre located in another area that was highly impacted from the 2004 tsunami.
The group immersed themselves in the local Thai culture while learning about relief to self reliance through community based tourism with a trip to the “Village by the Sea.” Here they learned how the village of Ban Talae Nok created a sustainable alternative occupation for the community through offering homestay and cultural tours. Activities included making Batik and soap with the local handicrafts groups, as well as a Thai snack, “kanom jak” with fresh coconut and the leaf of a local mangrove plant. A special treat for the group was the opportunity to roast harvested cashew nuts from the local trees and learn an old tradition that is still kept alive in this village. A lesson in the style of fishing from the beach, and a tour through the mangrove forest helped to show how this community respectfully lives closely with the nature surrounding them.
At the end of their adventure, the students, teacher and guide returned to the Andaman Discoveries office for a recap and debriefing of their experience. The team at AD shared with them additional knowledge on community based tourism and how its created positive and sustainable changed for tsunami impacted communities. The students expressed how impressed they were to see the diverse groups of people along North Andaman Coast working together to build a better future for everyone and felt a true sense of peacefulness among the area. They said they hope to bring back this mentality and the idea from their experiences to the tsunami impacted communities of Japan. We look forward to hosting another group from Japan in the near future! Please check our FB page for more great pictures from this trip.