Let’s set the mood and take you back to where the Stacii journey really began:
The sky was lit with a kaleidoscope of the dancing city lights. Soft chatters and occasional laughter of friends, families and lovers filled the air. The strong aroma of the local nasi lemak added a certain magic to this particular Friday night.
She sat there, starry eyed and a half smile as if amused by the perfect synchronicity of the modern art-like Singapore – the complete opposite of Botswana, her motherland.
It was not long before the last seat available, which so happened to be next to hers was taken by an equally curious soul from Holland. Like old friends reunited, they quenched their thirst with old stories, ‘til the morning light.
As the stars had it, the duo reunited in the City of Angels – or, a gorgeous chaos of a city some like to call Bangkok. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months and Stacii Bazaar was conceived.
The narrow roads lead to lush greenery – a million rice fields on one direction and peaks of majestic hills in the other. Here, they found warm hearts and genuine smiles that call northern Thailand home.
The People of the Golden Triangle
Before meeting the local people, one would be tempted to believe the poverty stained media portrayals of the indigenous people. It takes stepping out and interacting with the people themselves to genuinely begin to understand a quarter of the bigger picture. These two, dedicated their time and effort into exploring, learning and living the way the local people did – or atleast they attempted to.
What particularly stood out, perhaps even shaped the Stacii concept was how a people with a history of displacement, let alone no ‘country’ to call their own held on to their culture. A sense of community shaped their way of life, isolated with masses of tourists scrambling for a picture or two, with the occasional purchase of a woven statement piece was evidence enough that there was interaction with the outside ‘civilized’ world.
Within the community though, there were issues that ran deeper than the surface led the layman to see. A closer look would reveal that education was no were near being a priority for the people. The younger generation craved a better life in the city – that was their gateway to finding a good job to take care of the family back home, if fortunate, they would find a good husband to take care of all family needs. [Please note, this is just one example and does not apply to masses.] The older generation on the other hand, were/are often left to take care of the toddlers.
What remained fascinating is how despite having very little for luxurious frivolities, the people seemed happy to continue weaving, crafting, building tiny family homes, growing vegetables and the occasional banana trees. No, life was no where near perfect but they got by just fine. Being from Botswana, and having traveled through villages and having lived in one herself, the girl saw a pattern. There really was no way to empower a People so well rooted in what it meant to be human; if anything, the duo would leave empowered and reconnected to Mother Nature. What the people needed was an opportunity, a fair shot at showcasing the work of their hands to the world without compromise.
The two could play a significant role in merging sustainability with heritage craft preservation for the benefit of the community…
Next Read: Chapter 1 – The Colours of the East