Happy Birthday to Jai ...

Trip Start Aug 30, 2012
Trip End Mar 21, 2013

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Flag of Thailand  , Roi Et,
Monday, November 12, 2012

We are sat on the bed at 05:45 drinking our early morning cuppa with Jai excitedly opening her birthday cards.  She still isnt used to the idea of people sending cards as birthday greetings.  Most people here, even her mother and family, wouldnt even know it was her birthday if we wernt planning on having a party and even now most likely wont comment on the occasion.  Well done Mum, Carol, Sue, Pam and MIch for getting their cards through the postal system - cant tell you which cards arrived when mind ...
I go out to water the back garden which got missed last night but the water pressure is so low that I give up.
Jai is waiting out the front of the house for the monks to pass so that she can give them an offering for good luck on her birthday.
We bike across the village to youngest brother Pad's house to invite them to come for a beer tonight then I take Jai to see Norng Fin.  She has to stay here for a while so I leave her to it and bike back to the house for my belated breakfast cuppa.  Jai is waiting for the arrival of a young chap and his family who are coming to make an offer of marriage on Jai's son's wife's sister.  She is 14, nearly 15 years old and has finished school a few months back as they cant afford to pay for her to continue her high school education.  Kids seem to marrying at this age all of the time here.  They marry in the village but rarely actually register the marraige.  They quickly have one or two children then the chap disappears then the girl disappears and the grandparents are left with the kids to support and raise.  This place is supposed to be a model for family values ?!  At the end of the day, 1 14 year old girl is a drain on the family budget but they can sell her into marriage for between 1000-2000GBP and regardless of what happens later this seems to be the best option available to them.
I bike into Phon Thong to check up on the sports results and update this blog.  Amongst other things I am under instruction to go and buy a 2m length of material for edging of the mats-I get all of the good jobs.  Whilst in town I thought that it might be a good idea to buy Jai a birthday present, well, theres no point in rushing these things is there ?
When I left the village acoupleofchaps were putting a ladder up on the village 'gate' and upon my return I find that it is dressed. This must mean that it istimefor a school procession.  They have just finished a long holiday followed by a full week of sport competitions when most of the kids just stayed at home anyway and now they will be teaching them howto beat a drum and march !  Anything that doesnt involve sitting in a classroom and learning something useful.  Sure enough an hour or so after getting back I can hear the drums in the school field a few hundred yards away.
Jai spends the morning with friend Wan preparing the ducks she isgiving her then they came back to our house to finish them off and cook them.  I go to the village shop and stock up on beer etc.
Late afternoon I go out to the farm to water the trees then come back in timeto have a quick shower before people start to arrive and I am allowed to start to water myself.
Mum phones to wish Jai a happy birthday but the phonesignal at the house isso bad it is impossible to have a conversation.
People start arriving about 17:30and we end up with about 30 sat around in the garden and, mainly, on the floor in the kitchen.  Too much beer was drank by all and I think that everyone had a good time.  Judging by the number of empties we had to clear up after they all left they must have done !!
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