It is now school vacation, so Jariya Saerum’s children are staying home and helping her and her husband do some chores. The children also helped their grandparents with cassava harvesting. After harvesting cassava, her family is now planting corn, local vegetables and coffee. They are also preparing the ground for upland rice, which they are planning to grow during the May–June season.

The family's recent farming production was good, so Jariya's family made some profit, and they have enough to buy a new motorcycle. The new vehicle will make their lives easier when they travel. Rice production was also good, which should be enough for their family for the whole year. the banana crop is also yielding well, so they have enough to eat and share with others families (they sometimes trade their farming products with other families). Recently, they traded bananas for fermented fish — a Northeastern Thai food cooking ingredient.

The ducks received from the project are laying three to four eggs a day, so Jariya's family has enough protein everyday. Their poultry is not yet hatched because the rainy season is approaching. But , they are expecting to have more ducklings after the rainy season.

During the past six months, Jariya has received various trainings both from Heifer and other organizations. Recently, she received climate adaptation training by Heifer Thailand, as well as training in disaster risk deduction, homestay management, handicraft from coconuts and being a  local tourist guide.

From learning to be local tour guide as their village is located near a prominent cave, Jariya learned basic English to communicate with foreign visitors. One of the foreign tourist visited the cave led by her and visited her family. This visitor was impressed with Jariya’s determination to improve her family’s living condition, so he provided some amount of scholarship for her children. Jariya was so impressed with his kindness, and she shared this story with project staff with a trembling voice.

Being a good role model for her children and always supportive, her children are studying hard. The recent school exam resulted in Sunisa Buajarn, her oldest daughter who is studying in grade 8, getting a 3.92 GPA. Her second-oldest son, Thanapon Buajarn ( studying in grade 2) got a 3.94 GPA (out of 4.00). Moreover, Thanapon participated in a pétanque competition (a game similar to bocce) at district level, winning the runner-up prize.

Unfortunately Satian Buajarn, Jariya’s husband, has been having health problems lately.  This is because he previously used chemicals when farming his own farm and working day labor on other farms. Jariya and Satian discussed his health issues with Heifer project staff, who talked to the family about substituting organics for the chemicals. Satian has agreed to make the change.

There was also a sad story that happened to Jariya’s family when she lost her youngest brother a few months ago from an accident.  Her brother helped temple construction, and while he was working a log fell on his head, causing him to lose consciousness. He was admitted at the local hospital for many nights, but he was not getting any better. He died peacefully about a week later. Jariya as well as her parents and other relatives were so sad for their great loss.

As time goes by, the family is getting better. Jariya’s children are growing up too, so the children are helping their grandparents sometimes to lessen their burden and to encourage them during their time of great loss.

Editor’s note: This post is part of a series that follows the progress of specific families, starting at the beginning of their work with Heifer. Today’s post is the second in a series of  quarterly updates on the progress of Jariya Saerum and her family. You can read the first post about this family here.

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Heifer Thailand