Breakfast time was no longer at 7:30am but instead it was at 7! Today was the day that we have to start trekking out, so we needed to get up early and head out early. We got up at 6:30 and packed everything away and said goodbye and thank you to our homestay family. It was very nice to offer us their house for us to stay at. It is a great form of community based tourism as the family would actually get paid for us to sleep in their house, making it a win win situation for us all.
After a very nice filling breakfast, we started to make our way down the mountain. Walking out, we would be taking a different route. Instead of going over the mountains, it cuts through the valley, making it a much longer hike, but much more scenic as well. As we passed the school, the kids came out to wave goodbye to us. It was a very touching moment.
As we made our way around the valley and mountains, I took in the greatness and freshness of the air around me. We walked along the ridges of rice paddies as the local rice farmers prepared their fields for the planting season. At one field of the larger rice paddy fields, we stopped to take a break and do some reflections on the trip. This was the last open field as the trek now changes into a much more mountainous terrain.
After trekking in the mountains for an hour or so, we started to descend downwards into civilization. With every step we took, the more developed it became. Soon we were sharing the roads with motorbikes and cars again. It felt good to be back in the connected world, but I also do miss the excluded nature of things back in the mountains.
People made a run for it when they finally saw the buses waiting to pick us up to head back to Omgoi Resort where everyone had a nice hot shower and a good lunch. By 1pm, we were back in the buses and on our way to Chiang Mai airport.
Going on the windy mountainous roads, I reflected on this trip and project in general. I remembered the first time we went up to the village and compared it to three years after. How much the village has changed and all of the great work we have put into make the villager’s lives better, improving their quality of life while learning about development.
I am really glad I was able to go back to Omgoi and seeing the amount of interest this trip has developed, it is good to know that the trip would be sustained for generations of NISTies to come. I am happy that I have been presented with this opportunity to be part of this project. I wish to continue hearing good news about further developments with this project and hopefully be back to Omgoi again sometime in the future.