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A Mushroom house – {Sanpatong, Thailand}


There is a place you check out before you read this, it is These lovely people take volunteers for any and every project under the sun, and they will take as much or as little time as you are able to give them in terms of time and experience level. And a little goes a long way.

On a recent trip to Thailand with family and friends we volunteered for two of Volunteers without borders’ projects. This was our experience….

We divided our group of 17 into roughly half, half went to a school in a small nearby town to teach english, meet the local children and assist the local teacher. They brought, games, school supplies and teaching curriculums. With not a teacher among they were excited nervous, and totally unsure of what to expect. Once arrived at the school all nerves evaporated and by the end of the day I gather nobody wanted to leave, the volunteers or the children. I hear it was an amazing experience, however since I was in the other half of the group, I will have to tell you about my own experience… down on the farm.

volunteers with borders school, Sapatong Thailand

Our day started early, Richard Casswell (our Volunteers without Borders contact) picked us up in Chaing Mai at 7:00am and we drove to a local farm. This wasn’t just any old farm though; it was a model of sustainable agriculture being built by the local farmers with help from volunteers without borders. Once arrived at this local farming project we met, who else… locals!

Thailand.Feb.2013-209These lovely folks started the day by giving us a traditional Thai blessing. this blessing similar to one given by monks at a temple is a simple band of white string tied around the wrist. You are supposed to leave it on until it falls off. 8 weeks later and mine is still attached, I think I might be buried with it. Graeme thinks I’m just REALLY blessed.

Thailand.Feb.2013-176 Thailand.Feb.2013-183 Thailand.Feb.2013-188

Here I am being blessed….don’t look at my dirty feet 🙂 Shoes came off before we entered the house as a sign of respect. I was last in and my shoes came off pretty far from the door = dirty feetThailand.Feb.2013-193 Thailand.Feb.2013-195 Thailand.Feb.2013-197 Thailand.Feb.2013-205

Then it was time to do what we came to do, build a Mushroom Barn!


How many engineers does it take to build a mushroom barn?

Thailand.Feb.2013-215 Thailand.Feb.2013-218Our Thai foreman, watching with amusement….Thailand.Feb.2013-220It wasn’t exactly glamorous, some of us were quite the fashion statement in fact…Thailand.Feb.2013-216 Thailand.Feb.2013-222

And sunscreen re-application was a full time job in nearly 50 degree heat.


In fact sometimes it was a two man operation Thailand.Feb.2013-225 Thailand.Feb.2013-226

But we also got some work done….Thailand.Feb.2013-231 Thailand.Feb.2013-235 Thailand.Feb.2013-239 Thailand.Feb.2013-217 Thailand.Feb.2013-243 Thailand.Feb.2013-213 Thailand.Feb.2013-244 Thailand.Feb.2013-247and at the end of the day this is what our group had accomplished


A nearly finished mushroom house. The next day the thatching was completed by local farmers and the barn was done!Thailand.Feb.2013-250

So off we went for a thai cooking class, (I use the term we here loosely, I may have sat and drank beer with a few other smarty pants types during the cooking class) to cook ‘our’ very own thai dinner. A smashing success.

Thailand.Feb.2013-258Thank you again to Volunteers without  Borders. This is truly an amazing organization, and this day was unanimously agreed to be the best day of our trip.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  1. BB says:

    Good blog post!

  2. To all who took part in this project.
    Your assistance helped us in our goal to level the playing field for the world’s tourism SMEs and to develop responsible tourism.
    Many smaller tourism projects like this delightful farm stay need second revenue streams (like mushroom houses) in order to keep their special interest tourism attractions and activities viable.
    Mushroom barn is already producing and I’ll ask Richard to send you images for upload.

    You are all special people.
    Thank you.

    Shane K Beary – Consultant VWB
    Sriphan (Aed) Beary – Director VWB.

    • Janine says:

      Thank you again to all the VBB staff and volunteers who made this possible. We have all been telling everyone about your wonderful organization! It was our pleasure to work with you 🙂

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