Hundreds of young boys, orphaned by the incessant drug war along the Thai and Burmese border, are brought by their poor extended families to Buddhist monasteries where they are schooled and become Buddhist monks. These novices are from the Ashatong monastery and water their horses in a nearby river. 2003

 

All along the thick forest border, ya ba pills—an inexpensive methamphetamine Thai's call crazy drug or crazy medicine—are smuggled from Burma into Thailand by farmers who make nearly five times as much money carrying one load of drugs as they would selling vegetables from their fields. The farmers carry the pills in wooden backpacks through the forest to their contacts who further distribute them. In an attempt to stop the flow—much of which continues to international markets—the Thai government has sporadic and violent police roundups. The Burmese producers have similar methods, and the whole affair leaves the courier farmer dead and his children orphans.

 
Novice Buddhist monks play with toy cap guns given to them by an Ashatong monastery devotee. The novices kept their gifts secret from the Kru Bah—their master teacher—for three days, knowing he would confiscate them. 2003
 

All along the thick forest border, ya ba pills—an inexpensive methamphetamine Thai's call crazy drug or crazy medicine—are smuggled from Burma into Thailand by farmers who make nearly five times as much money carrying one load of drugs as they would selling vegetables from their fields. The farmers carry the pills in wooden backpacks through the forest to their contacts who further distribute them. In an attempt to stop the flow—much of which continues to international markets—the Thai government has sporadic and violent police roundups. The Burmese producers have similar methods, and the whole affair leaves the courier farmer dead and his children orphans.

 

Novices prepare to bless a neighboring village. In ritualistic purification, and before saying their prayers, they bathe, shave their heads, and meditate. 2003

 

All along the thick forest border, ya ba pills—an inexpensive methamphetamine Thai's call crazy drug or crazy medicine—are smuggled from Burma into Thailand by farmers who make nearly five times as much money carrying one load of drugs as they would selling vegetables from their fields. The farmers carry the pills in wooden backpacks through the forest to their contacts who further distribute them. In an attempt to stop the flow—much of which continues to international markets—the Thai government has sporadic and violent police roundups. The Burmese producers have similar methods, and the whole affair leaves the courier farmer dead and his children orphans.

 

Novices travel through the remote countryside near the Ashatong monastery to bless a nearby village. 2003

 

All along the thick forest border, ya ba pills—an inexpensive methamphetamine Thai's call crazy drug or crazy medicine—are smuggled from Burma into Thailand by farmers who make nearly five times as much money carrying one load of drugs as they would selling vegetables from their fields. The farmers carry the pills in wooden backpacks through the forest to their contacts who further distribute them. In an attempt to stop the flow—much of which continues to international markets—the Thai government has sporadic and violent police roundups. The Burmese producers have similar methods, and the whole affair leaves the courier farmer dead and his children orphans.

 

In addition to hours- long prayers and meditation, novices at the monastery do chores like cleaning the lily pad pond. 2003

 

All along the thick forest border, ya ba pills—an inexpensive methamphetamine Thai's call crazy drug or crazy medicine—are smuggled from Burma into Thailand by farmers who make nearly five times as much money carrying one load of drugs as they would selling vegetables from their fields. The farmers carry the pills in wooden backpacks through the forest to their contacts who further distribute them. In an attempt to stop the flow—much of which continues to international markets—the Thai government has sporadic and violent police roundups. The Burmese producers have similar methods, and the whole affair leaves the courier farmer dead and his children orphans.

 
Novices at the Ashatong monastery study under a mui thai champion as part of their monastic training. The jungle monastery is in the heart of the war between Burmese drug smugglers and the Thai government. 2003
 

All along the thick forest border, ya ba pills—an inexpensive methamphetamine Thai's call crazy drug or crazy medicine—are smuggled from Burma into Thailand by farmers who make nearly five times as much money carrying one load of drugs as they would selling vegetables from their fields. The farmers carry the pills in wooden backpacks through the forest to their contacts who further distribute them. In an attempt to stop the flow—much of which continues to international markets—the Thai government has sporadic and violent police roundups. The Burmese producers have similar methods, and the whole affair leaves the courier farmer dead and his children orphans.