Thai farmers turn adversity into opportunity thanks to gold!
These Thai farmers are not ready to give up their golden tradition. Read on and find out how gold brings prosperity to a whole community in spite of the setbacks of nature.
There is a rural community in the south of Bangkok whose fields get flooded regularly. Mother nature makes it difficult for their crops to get ahead, but she also brings a nice surprise for these farmers to make up for their losses.
Knowledge passed down to generations
The villagers in this Bang Saphan district have been turning adversity into opportunity over generations now. And it was not going to be different on Thursday, 26th January morning.
Many families gathered along the local canal, called Klong Thong or “Golden Canal” because, as declared by Boonyarit Daengraksa, deputy chief of Ron Thong sub-district, through which the canal runs:
“It is local knowledge that has been passed down through generations that whenever there is a flood and the waters have receded, locals will go searching for gold”
When this event happens, farmers are normally able to find small flakes of gold, but some fortunate ones have managed to find gold nuggets and make a $1,000 sale.
According to Kritsada Muadnoi, a gold buyer and adviser to the local government, “With a pan or a sieve, a shovel and a can, and four to five hours, you probably could find some gold here that you can sell and earn at least 300 to 500 baht (about $10 to $15). Villagers can use this money to support themselves during this time of crisis. We are lucky here that nature compensates us for the floods.”
A real gold fever?
Samruay Kamlin, one of the farmers of the community, has confessed that finding gold has become almost an obsession for her: “I wake up at 3 a.m. thinking that I have to go look over here or there for gold.”
But they want to go further with the “Golden Canal”: the community leaders are thinking about seizing the area's golden reputation to convert it into a touristic site. Even though the local government usually tries to rebuild what the floods have damaged, the farmers insist: “It is important that we preserve this tradition that dates back generations.”
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