thailand, school book, ethnography, moesgaard, children

Necessity is the mother of invention: Bamboo school book

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Homework. A concept disliked by youths all over the world. Probably also in the north-eastern part of Thailand, where this ‘school book’ is from. It was collected by the now former missionary, Peder Jørgensen, who has spent more than 25 years in Thailand.

On a visit to the Khong Chiam district close to the border to Laos, Jørgensen visited a school. The area was poor and it was not all families who could afford to buy paper books for their children, so the inventive school teacher provided pieces of bamboo to these children to do their homework on. The Danish Missionary, being fluent in Thai, immediately spotted words like ‘kitchen’, ‘vegetable’, ‘fruit’, and ‘pot’ written on the bamboo.

The words are carved into the bamboo and then oil and soot is applied. Thereby the soot is left in the engraving.

So, although homework can be a tough deal, it is a fair deal easier, where you have a pen and paper – or a computer.

//Ulrik Høj Johnsen

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putting thought to things

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