A burning question
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In rural Thailand many people throw their trash in a convenient corner of the yard and when the heap gets too large or smelly they rake it up into a pile and light a fire. A plume of smoke billows up from that house and depending on wind conditions, soon envelopes most of the homes in the neighborhood. Among other things, the trash contains plastic bags, drink straws, various types of food containers, and just plain garbage.
In our little neighborhood in rural Phetchaburi it is almost a daily occurrence. The putrid and toxic smoke fills our house. It is like living in a garbage can but with smoke to breathe. We usually turn on all the ceiling fans and leave.
The local government provides garbage pickup service for which they charge 20 Baht (about 70 cents) per month but many homes opt to burn instead possibly because burning is free. I have tried talking with my neighbors about the smell and the health problems and they just laugh in that endearing way the Thais have and say "mai pen rai" which means "it does not matter, don't fret" or something like that.
My personal health problems aside, we should also consider that the next generation of this village is being raised in this smoke.
What is strange is that the Thais normally hold a great revulsion for anything that smells bad always quick to complain with the word "menn" meaning "bad smell". And yet, here they are right in the thick of smoke from burning rubbish and they don't seem to care.
It's a paradox.
As for me personally I feel certain that what I am incubating by continuing to live here is some kind of a serious health problem. I can't just leave because I have spent my life savings building what i thought was my dream retirement home,