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Thai New Year (Songkran) has just ended, and after Thai and other ethnic groups living in Thailand celebrated the long holiday, life is now back to normal. Like other families, Tiwah Subsawanya’s family celebrated Thai New Year (or water festival); however, one of their sons had an accident during Songkran.

The day Heifer Thailand staff visited the family, they were organizing a blessing ceremony for their last child Nithipat Subsawanya, who is 7 years old. Nithipat fell off the car during the water festival, but he is still a cheerful boy.  His wound is getting much better day after day, and the doctor's appointment to take out the stitches is within a few days. “We consulted with the village’s spiritual leader, he suggested we organize the blessing ceremony for our son,” says the family's father of four children, Korla Subsawanya.

Amidst the bad luck, Tiwah’s family got a new family member.  Her first daughter gave birth to a new baby boy, who is now three months old.  They named the boy Tokipo, which means "little parrot" in the Karen ethnic language.

Also, the sow they received from Heifer gave birth to 10 piglets, but due to the sow’s health she cannot produce enough milk to feed her ten babies, resulting in one piglet's death. For this, Tiwah and her husband Korla decided to move their sow and piglets to raise at Korla’s younger brother’s pen. They hope that by changing to a new environment and bigger pen their pigs will be healthier.

Now is summer so Tiwah’s family is preparing the ground for the upcoming cultivation season. Tiwah and Korla are clearing cabbages from the previous cultivation and will grow peanuts soon. They also prepare the rice fields for approaching rainy season. The rice crop is for their family’s consumption while cabbages and peanuts are for sale. Even though their cabbages are yielding a crop now, they decided to clear up the land because it is not worth hiring the truck to carry the cabbages to the market since their village is located on the mountain about two hours from the city. “Hiring a truck will cost about 2,000 Baht a day including gasoline, so it’s not worth selling the crop since cabbage price is very low now,” says Tiwah Subsawanya.

In terms of project activity, recently Tiwah attended an organic farming exposure trip where  she learned to make organic pesticides from local herbs. After the trip she shared this knowledge with her husband. “We haven’t started to apply the knowledge yet because it is off farming season, but we are planning to use it during the upcoming farming season. I’m sure it will help reduce cost of farming if we use herbs as the substitute of chemicals.” Korla says.

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 Tiwah Subsawanya and her family. You can read the first post about this family here.

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Heifer Thailand