“Life is easy” says Jon Jandai. “Why do we have to make it so difficult?”
After pursuing “success” in Bangkok for several years, Jon dropped out of university to return to village life. There, he went back to the life he knew as a child, working two months of the year to grow rice (with an additional 15 minutes a day to grow vegetables), dug a couple of fish ponds, built his own homes using earthen bricks, and gave up buying clothes (he has so many clothes from friends and visitors that he has to give them away). Jo contends that to be happy, we cannot just rely on money; we have to reconnect with each other.
“Before I thought that stupid people like me … cannot have a house… because people who are cleverer than me and get a job need to work for 30 years to have a house. But for me, who cannot finish university, how can I have a house. It’s hopeless for people who have low education like me. But when I start to do earthen buildings, it’s so easy! I spent two hours per day… and in 3 months I have a house. A friend who was the most clever in the class he has a house too but he has to be in debt for 30 years, so compared to him I have 29 years and 10 months of free time. I feel life is so easy.”
Jon runs Pun Pun an organic farm, seed-saving operation, and sustainable living and learning center. At Pun Pun they use ancient natural building techniques with readily available, local, natural materials with little embodied energy and salvaged materials to make homes, a practical and affordable alternative to resource intensive conventional building.