Dish Duty


I am lazy again. Shit. No goat poo cleaning for me. I spend most of my day hanging around the main hut area, cleaning and drying dishes, busing tables, and chatting with my Khmu companion at reception. As the lone male staff member in the restaurant/reception area he gets much attention by the ladies. I try best to not cause any friction as I only am questioning the 18 year old about Laos culture and tradition. The girls in the kitchen shamelessly flirt with this young Laotian guy, constantly ringing a bell in to beckon his call. I return to the sink and smile. I have not graduated to waiter status despite my years of experience as an NYC server. I suppose it is because I am barefoot.

Chat with the Buddhist meditation loving sister and another about energy and healing, sharing knowledge of shamanism, crystals, high vibrational love. The day passes quickly, filled with expansive conversations and dishes. I recall fondly about learning in a Zen Buddhist meditation course in the USA about transforming a daily practice in to one of mindfulness and peace. It is dishes that bring me this pleasure, an activity I can do without end. Laundry nonetheless I am still working on loving.

I sing mantras in my head as I scrub the dirty dishes by hand, piling the oddly sizes plates and tons of bowls (they eat a lot of soup here) into distinct piles before drying and then returning them to their proper shelves. I sneak small peaks at the girls chopping the ingredients and preparing the food as I stand at the sink, in awe of how the chilies and other spices are mashed in mortar and pestles and the green leaves are held in chopsticks and lightly dipped in batter before frying for mulberry tempura. The kitchen staff works incredibly hard as all do here in Laos, the girls beginning at 7 am and ending at 9 pm. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The head chef is pregnant and due next week. Rockstar goddesses.

The German fellow is nearly finished painting a huge sign to direct visitors to the farm. He is a star brother as well, a talented artist, the image of his face distinctly present in my dreams before I arrived at the farm. It is amazing to increasingly encounter awakened males, men who are connected with their hearts, fearlessly walking in their light. He shares about his experience back home teaching art to mentally handicapped and ill patients. Art therapy is truly rewarding for all.

During the afternoon there are countless tour buses that pass through the farm, more dishes and tea cups to consequently wash.

Under the yellow moon light and next to the river bank I teach a yoga class to our farm family, a mixed International group of eager students. All are amazingly flexible and attentive, one of the strongest beginner class I have yet to encounter. Perhaps all the strenuous farm work keeps one bendy. I OM loudly and the class follows along, the moon and mountains and river hearing our call.

We dine again together, with Mr. T and his wife as well, who share countless traditional plates with us in addition to free flowing Lao beer. The ample generosity is received with deep thankfulness. We are blessed.


“Meditation is not to escape from society, but to come back to ourselves and see what is going on.
Once there is seeing, there must be acting.
With mindfulness, we know what to do and what not to do to help.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

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