Karen Village

Karen Village

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Heart of the Village

This week we were invited to a gathering at the Heart of the Village. The village heart is a large white building placed at the center of the village. It is rarely opened except on special occasions. And even when opened, outsiders were rarely allowed inside. I knew we were in for a treat when we saw the plain white building brightly decorated with colorful paper. The door was wide open with our friends standing just beyond, motioning for us to join them for prayer.

The seating area was divided into sectioned mats for the different streets or sub-neighborhoods in the village. We greeted a few different neighborhood leaders before I saw Tutara who had saved us a seat next to his family.

We sat in silence, listening to the Buddhist mantras. My dad explained to me that this was the first day, and that the monk will stay to continue chanting non-stop for seven days and nights. The prayers explain the life of the Buddha. It is done at least once a year to ensure the village’s health and for prosperity, and for everyone world-wide to be generally at peace.

Some villagers sat with candles in front of them, while others lit candles outside. After a while, we went out to the fish ponds with Tutara & his son, Sudee (Tutara’s brother-in-law) and Sudee’s nieces Jajan and Jahaair to feed the fish. It was a special occasion, so the village fishes were eating coconut shavings and rice that had been blessed by the monks.

With our spirits rekindled, we reflected on what an honor it was to have participated in such an event. As we were leaving, I asked Tutara if the village heart will be closed by the time we come back. He laughed and said, that while the doors to the building may be closed, the true “heart of the Karen village” is never closed so long as there are people who care.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Cold Mornings

Uncle Suporn told us that the more curled the Makam (Tamarin) fruit is, the colder it would be during the year. I guess he was right. It's been very cold in the village recently. Yesterday morning it was about 1o degrees Celsius outside (the coldest this month). The villagers are hardy, and seem to have no problem with the wind while I was shivering in my three layers of clothing.

I was able to take some pictures before we left to Bangkok, and thought it would be nice to share with you what an average morning in the village is like.

While Sa'cher has gone out to purchase new gasoline for the torches, one of his apprentices sets up the soldering table for him. Today they're making leaves.

It's warmer to sit in the sun while you build a fire. Today's breakfast is rice pourage and picked vegetables. Many of the villagers choose to be vegetarians as part of the Buddhist belief to not harm other living things.

A villager sands down the edges of a silver shell. This household also owns a small village grocery store, where cotton strings for beads, shampoo, and cans of Pepsi can be purchased.

Now that we're back in the city I really do miss the cold mornings. Luckily, I won't be away for very long, we're taking another trip next week. Take care, everyone!


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year, Friends!

Hello everyone!

It’s been busy here at Shiana. We’d just like to thank you all for a wonderful year, and we hope for an even better 2007!

Our immediate plans for the New Year include stocking much more pink gold vermeil and black silver. Speaking of which, our vermeil gold test piece has been worn daily for 1 year and 2 months now, and it has not shown any signs of wear. We also had some of our items lab tested to show that it is 3 microns of gold and 5-7 layers of e-coating (protection). Pictures soon 

Secondly, we are designing more matching components. (Yes we do listen!) Many more toggles, beads and links with similar patterns will soon be available so you can whip up a necklace that is a perfect fusion between your style and the silversmiths. And, we will be naming them under similar titles to make it easily searchable. The new items will now have a 2007 stamp, to ensure the date they were produced.

Warmest wishes everyone, all the best from our village to you!
-Angie T.-