Growing Self Esteem
‘When I was a child, I didn’t have too many expectations or dreams about myself, because I knew it would be above what I could do.’, speaking is Wisenut who sits cross-legged next to me. He adds that there is one thing he wanted to do as a young boy and that was to be able to help the people in his village. He is a young and shy man, who often just looks at the ground, instead to me. His words are softly spoken, but when he speaks, he shows how his circumstances have changed him and he is proud about what he has achieved.
As a young boy of 15 he decided to try his luck in the city of Chiang Mai, because ‘there was no work in the mountains, so you have to go and find work somewhere else.’ He worked for seven years in construction and transportation. Labor migration is one of the issues small villages like his have to face. Young adults often try their luck somewhere else, this then leaves the village without a labor force work on the fields. However, this village is quite remarkable in that most of them seem to return after a few years, forming a strong bond as a village and as a group of friends.
Wisenut does the same thing, he returns with his wife to his old village and starts farming coffee, red beans and rice. Next to being a farmer, he takes place in the committee for development in his village (they use government funds to increase the living standards in the village). One of the things they accomplish is the construction of a concrete road between the village and the main road.
Completing this part of the road means the village can be reached, even during the rainy season when the sand turns into mud and the hillside into a slide. It has made it easier for children to go and study in other places, for people to work in the nearby city and for worried mothers to travel to the nearest clinic. When I ask him if he is proud to have fulfilled his childhood dream, he smiles, looks at me and I see a proud man and says ‘Yes, of course, I’m glad I did that.’ Even though he did not dare to dream for himself, the dream he had, he fulfilled, leaving him a proud and content man.