As I was strolling in the back streets of Hat Yai in Southern Thailand I came across a little group of people working on an environmental project. They have very little land area apart from that occupied by their modest houses and the unpaved street. These people were creating compost out of household organic matter and had a project to plant seeds to provide various fruits and vegetables.

First, I started talking in Thai to Bee.


It didn't take long for her to discover that my Thai is very limited and she could speak English better than I spoke Thai so from there we continued to chat mostly in English.

I got some of her friends to pose for a shot.


They were keen to show me some of the crops from their project which has gained them an environmental award. This is a fruit I had never seen before.


When I tasted it, it proved to be quite bitter. The name I was given is 'ma yom'. When I searched online I discovered there is a Wikipedia page for the plant which goes by the scientific name of Phyllanthus acidus. It has several uses including as an ingredient in Som tam, a bitter Thai salad made mostly with green papaya. Som tam is something that I have eaten many times but never developed a taste for.

Here's a pic of ma yom growing on the tree.


On the roadside they had several mature trees including tamarind which I am familiar with and often use in cooking. Here's a pic of some fresh tamarind fruit.


I spent a delightful half hour or so with Bee and her friends. I think they would have been happy for me to stay all day. Generally, I find Thais to be such friendly people and talking to strangers in Thailand is something I particularly enjoy.