We have finished unit 4 - looking at dams and the effects that they have had on different communities. It was really interesting to evaluate the use of dams and similar policies of economic development from a villager perspective. These villages are now being forced to move our of their place of residence, because the dams flood their crops and land, causing them to not be able to farm anymore. They had a lot to say, including a few really moving quotes:
"If they cover everything in cement, how will we be able to find our roots?"
"Policy makers only see trees and water on a map, not people."
The assignment for this unit was to reflect on what the past 4 units have meant to us, in any way possible. Some people drew paintings (which were amazing, and i would probably buy them for a lot of money in the states), some wrote poetry, some choreographed dances, some made products which will be used in this Human Rights Festival we will be attending and co-coordinating in May, some wrote letters to loved ones, and a lot of other things. Along with a small group of other students, I helped make a "Sustainable Pass-On," providing information for future semesters on how to live sustainably on the CIEE program and in Khon Kaen. It included restaurants which use organic/local food, useful phrases in Thai, such as "I do not want a plastic bag," compost instructions, etc. It will be something that other semesters can add on to as well. It was so cool to see everyone present their projects, because you could tell that everyone was in their element and put so much effort into their work. It made a bunch of us emotional, and really brought us even closer as a group. It is weird because I already feel so close to people that I have only known for a few months. I think it is partially b/c we are with eachother literally 24 hours a day, in addition to seeing both personal and academic sides of each other. It is like rooming with 29 friends and then attending all of your classes with those friends, eating with them, and going to all of the same extracurricular activities together. Obviously we have Thai friends as well, but we are super tight as a group.
I'm really excited b/c a few of my friends and I are leaving tomorrow night to take an overnight bus to Chiang Mai for Songkran Water Festival. We have our only BREAK!!!!!!! starting the day after tomorrow, lasting for four days. Songkran is the biggest festival of the year, celebrating the New Year, and basically everyone throws water (colored and non-colored) at eachother for the entire 4-day festival. So I expect to be drenched the entire time I'm away from Khon KAen, which I am fine with since it is SO HOT here, and is almost to the 100's on some days.
Alright, I'll write again soon!!
A Buddhist View of Human Rights and Development
4 years ago