For the second leg of our family trip to Thailand, we chose to do Community Based Tourism, or CBT. The local NGO and social enterprise Andaman Discoveries arranged for us to stay with a family in the tiny village of Ban Kalae Nok, a muslim community of fishermen on the Andaman coast of Southern Thailand. 

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This home-stay afforded us the opportunity to live for a few days in the house of Heehm, his wife, their beautiful two children, a dozen goats, 3 or 4 roosters and numerous chicken. We loved it!

Ban Kalae Nok was swept away by the 2002 tsunami which hit badly that part of Thailand. Forty-eight people died, including a number of children who were attending school when the deadly wave struck. 

The village has since been rebuilt a couple of km downstream of a protective mangrove forest. With the help of the social enterprises such as Andaman Discoveries, several different projects were launched to help the villagers rebuild their economy after the disaster, including home stay tourism. 

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We helped weave roof palettes out of palm leaves which will be sold for 8 thai bat at the local market. We learned that you can make about 100 of these palettes in a day, so doing the math a day might bring about 800 bat ($20).

The children had great fun to learn and practice the Thai language with the son of our host family, Farid.

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We participated in the villages’ organic soap production, this handcrafted soap is later sold to hotels in Phuket, and generates a little income for the 30 women in the cooperative of widows.

A beautiful Thai BBQ was organized at the beach at night and one thing is clear: we have so much more in common than we are different.