As much as it’s about honoring the contributions of the working class, Labor Day is an opportunity to consider the meaning of work and the spirit that drives people to accomplish, to make better, and to find worth in that circumstance.
Our friend and neighbor Tabitha Sprigler perhaps knows that better than most of us. In addition to her award winning academic work and local volunteerism, Tabitha has taken it upon herself to spend five months in Thailand’s poorest neighborhoods; teaching, learning, and documenting her experiences.
While I was in the slums, each day had many common features. My Maw and Paw woke up at 4 or 4:30 am. I would lay in the net until 5am (sometimes 6am) and then make my way to ab naum (shower). In the shower, I would use buckets of cold water and doge random insects that hung out on the ceiling/floors/”walls” of the facilities. The other day I had a “how did I get to this point in my life moment.” I had just gotten undressed (except for Paw’s shower shoes) when I realized that I had to use the bathroom. As you know I use squat toilets here (gravity is amazing. . .I promise the tutorial is coming someday). There I was in position, nude (save the shower shoes), and watching random insects scurry around. It briefly registered that I was nude, squatting, surrounded by insects, in some random bathroom in Thailand. Surprisingly this is not the part that I found strange. The part that really caused me to pause is that I was fine with this process. How did I get to this point in my life where this seemed normal? I mean seriously, what led me here? I have always been the type to avoid public restrooms at all costs. . .
Like the Thai people she’s acquainting herself with these days, we’re lucky to know her and the example she sets.
Her most recent report from the road, as excerpted above:
Em Laow (I’m Full)