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"Our Loss is Our Gain"

Alinery Lalngilneii Lianhlawng from India APYE Thailand January 2017 Delegate

My ultimate reasons of joining APYE was to learn and unlearn! When my father passed away on the 2nd November, 2015; the brightest light in my life was gone. I could not join my master in the States along with job offers from places. It was the most darkest, deepest fall of my life. I tried so hard to fake, pretend that I was okay so that I can lend my shoulders to my family to cope up with the profound loss. Last 2nd November, 2016 marked the first anniversary of my father's departure. Reliving each day of the week, I slowly break my inner shield that I thought had protected me from the illusion that My father is still around. I then started to learn how to live, how to interact and how to come back to the old-carefree, adventurous me. APYE is a platform I hope to reconnect and ignite my inner self, hibernated away from dreams, passions and desire to bring positive changes in my community and the global world we live in. Meeting wonderful delegates from more than 21 countries along with organizers and partners who put efforts in making this APYE a reality first inspired me, challenged me and recharged my will of bringing positive change. I and my super awesome 5 member-team was assigned to SDG's 12-B: Responsible Consumption and Production and our Local Immersion site was Mab Eaung Agriculture Learning Center, Chonburi, Thailand.

Our first two days was filled with activities that made me wonder if I can find any issue for the community rather than learning from them. I honestly do not see any problem but filled with an immense respect for their philosophy and lifestyle. The profound learning was the essence of what life is from the perspective of Sufficiency Economy Philosophy by their late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. As a Progressive Christian myself, it is very interesting to see how our faith can guide our soul and mindset in which we see our self reflection as in the mirror. Love, faith, and life coexist very well if we apply the essence of teaching we receive from religion to truly live simple as of the Mab Eaung center community lifestyle. I also learnt how to appreciate what I have and who I am through the Hunger Game. The experience of being Hungry, Desperate, and Helplessness made me realize the important of self-reflection and connection with people who are less fortunate than I am. The many hands-on activities truly enrich my capability and enhance my confidence towards my new journey of self sufficiency.

Our team come up with a project to tackle over consumption and production of plastic at the Mab Eaung center. The main issues we identify from our ground research and interview was the "Mindset" the thinking that we have few alternatives, no choices, or ignorance towards our own carbon footprint. As we develop our project idea, we started to implement from the center impacting potential role models and we already saw the influence in the community. I am very glad and humbled that our very small, but genuine action of solving one of the center issues become a reality and that it has the potential of spreading around the world as each of the member pledge to carry on in our respective community.

To conclude, Mab Eaung taught me the true meaning of human being. The role that individuals can take in slowing down the future's catastrophe and turning it to a livable place for future generations of human species. Their teaching, the taste of love their showed from food and the bright smile in their faces will always linger in my memories. And because of this amazing program and the people I met, Thailand will always be Home as home for me is where part of my heart belongs. Best Regards, Alinery Lalngilneii Lianhlawng