Isaan in the 1960s – Village life in Maha Sarakham

Here is the second part of a photo essay by Kermit Krueger, a United States Peace Corps Volunteer working at Maha Sarakham Teachers’ Training College from 1963 to 1965. All photos were taken by Kermit during those years. Find the first part of this photo essay here.

 

“The rainy season begins in April. Once the ground is soft and fertile again, saturated by the rains, it can be plowed.” Photo credit: Kermit Krueger

“Thai school years begin in June and run through February. Children are available for their families to help in the preparing of the fields and the initial sowing of the rice.” Photo credit: Kermit Krueger

 

“The rains continue through June and maybe into July. By late June the rice is pulled up from the paddies, swung around to shake off much of the loose mud.” Photo credit: Kermit Krueger

 

“The rains continue through June and maybe into July. By late June the rice is pulled up from the paddies, swung around to shake off much of the loose mud.” Photo credit: Kermit Krueger

 

“For the next six to eight weeks there is little to do but to watch the rice grow and keep the paddies wet…” Photo credit: Kermit Krueger

 

“…and watch the family’s water buffalo swim, and maybe you’ll take a dip, too.” Photo credit: Kermit Krueger

 

“That bath is life saving for the water buffalo during the hot season.” Photo credit: Kermit Krueger

 

“If there’s no pond or canal nearby, some nice mud will do just fine!” Photo credit: Kermit Krueger

 

“If there’s no pond or canal nearby, some nice mud will do just fine!” Photo credit: Kermit Krueger

 

“If there’s no pond or canal nearby, some nice mud will do just fine!” Photo credit: Kermit Krueger

 

“Ultimately your rice is taken to the village’s threshing floor. Threshing is considered a woman’s work (reaping and carrying are man’s work). At the village threshing floor the straw is piled neatly. During the cold season it will be used to cook food and for insulation. The pole coming out of the straw pile with the rice plants tied near its top is an offering to the spirits. Buddhism does not recognize gods or spirits but ancient beliefs die hard, and villagers do not want to take any chances with their family’s well-being…” Photo credit: Kermit Krueger

“The rice-grain is taken from the stalk by hand, then tossed in the air to separate the grain from the chaff.” Photo credit: Kermit Krueger

 

“The rice-grain is taken from the stalk by hand, then tossed in the air to separate the grain from the chaff.” Photo credit: Kermit Krueger

“The rice-grain is taken from the stalk by hand, then tossed in the air to separate the grain from the chaff.” Photo credit: Kermit Krueger

 

“Some rice flour will be baked into pancakes” Photo credit: Kermit Krueger

 

“Another important source of food are fish caught by gill nets, from this the fish will be removed once the boat and fisherman return to town. ” Photo credit: Kermit Krueger

 

“These are single person and as many fish as are willing occupancy boats.” Photo credit: Kermit Krueger

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