Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bleeyen Dootha Ang (Be the Change)

As my time in Thailand is quickly approaching an end (at least for this trip) I am sad to leave, but at the same time I am ready to take what I have learned during my time abroad and apply it to my life back in the States. My semester abroad in Thailand really helped to clarify many of the questions that I struggle(d) with about what it means to be a global citizen, how to live a sustainable and balanced lifestyle, and what I am passionate about pursuing after graduation.

None of these experiences, however, would have been possible without the financial support of the Ohio University Cutler Scholars Program, the Gilman International Scholarship Program (federal scholarship), the Ohio University Daniel K.C. Shao Study Abroad Scholarship and the Ohio University Honors Tutorial College Dean's Discretionary Grants.

For students interested in studying abroad I strongly encourage you to apply for a Gilman International Scholarship. The Gilman Scholarship Program offers grants of up to US$5000 to undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant Funding for a study abroad program of your choice. For more information on the Gilman Scholarship go to:

For information about other Study Abroad scholarships offered by Ohio University, Nationally Competitive International Scholarships, Civic Organizations, Foundations and other Institutions (so scholarships offered to OU students as well as students from other universities) go to:

If you found my blog posts on agriculture and food systems interesting below is a list of resources and reading materials to help you make safe, local and environmentally-sound food choices.

Search by zip code, city, or state for farmers’ markets and CSAs in your area

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service,

Includes a list of farmers’ markets across the U.S., searchable by name of the market, state, city, county, and/or zip code, provided by our very own Department of Agriculture.

Join the student movement working to bring local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound, and humane food into campus dining halls. Up to start the challenge at your school?

An online directory of sustainably-raised meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs

“Slow Food USA envisions a world in which all people can eat food that is good for them, good for the people who grow it and good for the planet.” Good, Clean, Fair.

Recommended Readings and Movies:

The Omnivore’s Dilemma

Michael Pollan

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

Barbara Kingsolver

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

Michael Pollan

Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health

Marian Nestle

The Violence of the Green Revolution

Vandana Shiva

Confessions of an Economic Hitman

John Perkins

Food Inc.
View the movie trailor at

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Greening the Yasothon Green Market

During our first unit we travelled to Yasothon to learn about agricultural production in Thailand, and the Yasothon Green Market. The Green Market was initiated by a network of local organic farmers and NGOs. All of the producers are IFOAM organic certified and live in rural communities within 50 kilometers of Yasothon city. The goal of the market is to create a space for producers and consumers to exchange and to provide safe, healthy food to urban consumers.

The Green Market is held every Saturday from 5 a.m. until the vendors sell out, which is usually around 9 a.m. Because all of the vendors live in rural areas outside of the city they have to leave around 2 a.m. to get into the city and set up. Right now there are 27 vendors, but they are always looking to recruit more, or help other farmers switch to growing their food organically. So why is it important to grow food organically? Well if you ask Green Market vendors many of them say that they switched to growing organically for health reasons and because it is better for the environment. Aw, a Green Market vendor, told us, "In my heart I wanted to switch to growing organically. I didn’t want to use any chemicals, those poisons. My produce and rice is safe for me to eat.” Aw is proud that she grows her food organically, and that she is able to provide her customers with safe healthy food. "I feel good, because they (consumers) get to eat the same safe food I do. They get to eat what I eat,” she says.

Many of the Green Market farmers switched to growing organically because they personally experienced health problems from using and consuming chemicals on their crops. Others switched because they knew people who developed lung or other cancers from chemical use. In addition, chemicals leave the soil hard and unproductive and are expensive, leaving farmers with a lot of debt. So why use them? Well there are a variety of reasons. (1) It is easier, organic farming is hard work. (2) Chemically produced crops look better (shinier, bigger, etc.). (3) The government subsidizes chemicals to encourage farmers to use them because they have close ties with national and international chemical companies (conflict of interest? Ya think!). (4) There is a transition period when switching from chemical farming to organic farming where the soil is less productive and the yields are lower because the soil nutrients have been depleted from heavy chemical use. And, finally, (5) you can obtain higher yields of one crop.

BUT, organic farming pays off in many more ways! Farmers that grow organically use integrated agriculture, where they grow many different crops in one area. For example, vegetables can be grown in between the rows of rice. So, although they may have lower rice yields because they do not use chemicals they are able to grow a variety of goods (rice, peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, dill, cucumbers, tomatoes, kale, morning glory, bananas, passion fruit, coconuts and sooo much more!). The argument that chemically produced crops yield a greater output per rai is, therefore, flawed because it fails to consider the variety of goods produced on one rai of land.

Additionally, organic food is better for not only consumers, but also the environment. Different crops can naturally enrich the soil, and are therefore used in place of chemicals to replenish soil nutrients after each cropping season. For example, after harvesting his rice P'Ubon will plant beans in his rice paddies because they are nitrogen infusing and naturally enrich the soil. Finally, practicing organic integrated agriculture provides farmers with greater food security because if one crop fails they have many others to fall back on. It also gives them more independence because they do not need to rely on outside sources for any of their food.

Intrigued by the organic movement of the Yasothon farmers, Maina and I returned to Yasothon in early November to establish more personal relationships with the villagers and lay the ground work for a final project with the Green Market. Through discussions with P’Ubon and the Green Market Committee we decided that in order to move the Market forward they needed to cultivate deeper relationships between rural producers and urban consumers. The main challenges of the Green Market are convincing consumers that their products are all organic, educating consumers about why it is important to produce food organically and eat locally, and spreading awareness about the Green Market (which opened in May 2008).

Based on those challenges a group of four of us students, Bennett (a past CIEE student, our translator and an AAN intern that works with the Green Market), the Green Market committee and P'Ubon planned a Green Market awareness campaign and weekend. The purpose of the event was to give the Market more exposure by campaigning in the city, and to educate consumers on the benefits of eating organic and buying locally. The event was this Saturday and it was a big success! Our job as students was to help get the word out and to help give the Market a more unified look.

To get the word out we set up a table at the conventional market around 5 a.m. one morning and gave samples of the indigenous red rice that is sold at the market and passed out information about the market. It was pretty funny to see our Farang (Foreigner) table intermixed with all of the Thai vendors. I remember standing there and glancing to my left where fresh fish and rats were being sold (yuck to the rats)!

To help give the market a more unified look we bought green table cloths to place on all of the vendor tables and we made pamphlets, T-shirts and stickers with the Green Market logo that the four of us students designed. The pamphlets and T-shirts were a huge hit and are something that the Market can use for a long time, which is exciting! In addition to unveiling the T-shirts, pamphlets and logo this weekend the vendors prepared indigenous rice to be sampled, an herbal drink, an herbal salad and brought a hand mill so that customers could try milling the rice by hand. The herbal salad was particularly tasty and I know I had my fair share of samples! The salad is just one of the many local foods that villagers prepare to keep the body healthy. P’ Grieng, the herbal medicine man of the village, told me how each ingredient is good for the body in one way or another, and after eating it I really did feel better.

Looking back, the event this weekend went really well, and I am really happy to of had the opportunity to work with the Green Market and P’Ubon. I was sad when we left Yasothon yesterday because I knew it was the last time I would be back there for a while. The villagers treated me like family and taught me about farming and their way-of-life. They are by far the most good-hearted, wise and honest people that I have ever met and I am truly humbled by them. Living and working with them is an experience that I will never forget and I feel that I am only beginning to understand…

Monday, November 23, 2009

What's in an Education?

As our fourth and final unit came to an end, I reflected on the reoccurring themes that stuck out to me over the course of the semester. Education; Self-determination; Sustainability; Globalization as a form of imperialism; and how we as students fit into the bigger picture. After thinking about each of these themes, and discussing them with other students, I found that education was not only an individual, reoccurring theme throughout the units, but related to each of the other themes I identified in one way or another.

For example, I realized that my understanding of sustainable development and globalization, prior to coming to Thailand, was shaped by my western-style education which was based on textbooks, facts and scientific proof. While I recognize that scientific-based knowledge has its strengths, I am disappointed in the public K-12 education system in the U.S., which I feel fails to develop students into adults that are capable of thinking critically. I will always remember the “AH HA” moment I had my freshman year of college when I finally realized that the teachings in textbooks are not indisputable facts, but information gathered by human beings that inevitably reflects current and historical opinions and perspectives. The thoughts and perspectives that students develop are therefore largely reflective of the thoughts and perspectives of their culture, and the values and norms that their education system promulgates.

Prior, to coming to Thailand I struggled with my opinion of globalization. Is it a good thing, is it a bad thing, or are there both positive and negative aspects to globalization? As a student studying business and economics I was mainly exposed to the benefits of globalization, as seen from a Western perspective, and taught through lectures, case studies, readings and projects in the United States. My education in Thailand, which has been based on experiential learning and observations, therefore, provides me with a great opportunity to compare what I have learned about globalization from books and college courses, to what I have learned through observations and experiences living and working with rural communities in Thailand.

Reflecting on the two different types of learning, I feel that my Western education provided me with a background on some of the arguments for and against globalization; however, only through experiential learning was I able to form my own opinion on globalization as I experienced firsthand the affects it can have on people, culture, and the environment. It is amazing to me how my ideas have progressed and developed so rapidly over the past three months, while engaging in experiential learning. I have never felt so mentally stimulated, inspired or connected to the issues that I am studying, and the potential I see in experiential education is exciting.

One of the concerns, however, recently expressed by our Thailand student group is how we share what we learned here in Thailand with our friends, family, teachers and peers back home, so that they are not only more socially aware, but are passionate about supporting social justice causes in some way. I am the first to admit that this is something I have struggled with every time I have returned home from a study abroad experience in a developing country, and I found it very hard to live around people, who I felt, were completely unaware of how unjust the world is. I now realize that without personal experiences to connect to difficult issues, such as poverty, human rights violations and environmental degradation, it is hard to know what to make of, or how to relate to, issues discussed in books, newspapers, classrooms and newscasts.

What then, would it mean for our education system to focus more on experiential learning? What if more high school students had the opportunity to live, work and learn in a poor region of the United States or a lesser developed country? Would we be a more socially aware society? Would it be harder to go back to the out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality that I know I fall into when living in the United States? Would our eyes be more open to the social injustices in our own backyards?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chan Ben Chow Na

During unit 4 we spent one week living with villagers in Na Nong Bong and learning about their way-of-life. Na Nong Bong is a community struggling to have their basic human rights respected, as their health and traditional livelihoods have been dramatically affected by a gold mine that was constructed near their village in 2006. While in Na Nong Bong we had exchanges with local NGOs, the villagers, the Provincial Health Office and the Provincial Ministry of Industry to learn more about the challenges facing the villagers, but the unit was not all business. We also had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with our host families.

I stayed with Kate and Hilary, and our host family farms corn, rubber and soybeans. They have two large farms, and with harvesting season upon us, they were more than happy to put us to work. On the morning of our first day in Na Nong Bong we piled into the back of our Paws pick-up truck and headed for their soybean farm. Along the way we made a few stops to pick up some essentials for the day. Three new hats to shield Hilary, Kate and I from the sun, papaya for lunch, and at the final stop, about 15 more villagers who would be helping in the fields. After cramming everyone into the back of the pick-up truck we were on our way.

Once at the farm the villagers put on their hats and gloves, grabbed their sickles and went to work. This was the first time I had seen a soybean plant, which ranges in height from half a foot, to two feet tall, and grows in rows beneath the rubber trees. To harvest them you either pull them out of the ground from their base, or cut them at the base with the sickle. You then place them in piles throughout the rows, which are gathered at a later point.

After observing the villagers’ technique my Paw handed me a pair of gloves and a sickle. Settling in among the other workers, I quickly developed a rhythm, moving swiftly through the rows, careful not to leave any soybean plants behind! I was so in the zone that I failed to notice how humorous the spectacle of three Farangs farming soybeans was to the villagers.

Look how sweaty the Farangs are! Look how tall they are, and how they struggle to stay in a squatted position! Aren’t you getting tired? Do you want to take a break? They joked and laughed at us, and with us, as we struggled to find comfortable positions to squat down or bend over. I was constantly standing up to stretch out my back and legs, which are not used to that type of manual labor. I knew I would be feeling pretty soar in the morning, but it was so gratifying when at the end of the day I looked around and saw how much work we accomplished. “Chan ben chow na (I am a farmer)!” I told them. They just laughed and told me I could come back and work anytime.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

In pursuit of something more sustainable...

In unit 3 we studied water issues in Thailand, specifically looking at the affects of dams on local communities. For the unit we lived and exchanged with two communities that have been dramatically impacted by a dam: Rasi Salai and Pak Mun. Upon arriving in Rasi Salai we were split into pairs and matched up with a family that we stayed with for four days. Jenny and I paired up and were met at the vans by Meena, our 15 year-old "younger sister."

Meena was so excited to meet us and was very patient with our limited Thai language abilities. She led us back to the house, and overwhelmed with the excitement of having visitors she clumsily scrambled to serve us dinner. At first, Jenny and I were a little bit confused about where the rest of the Meena’s family was. Meena's Yie (grandmother) was perched on the front porch, but her meh (mom) and paw (dad) were nowhere to be found. When Meena brought the food out and sat down with us I began to ask her questions about her family.

Me: "Cropcrewa con coon me cry bang ka (Who is in your family)?"

Meena: "Meh, Paw, Yie gop Chan (My mom, dad, grandma and I)"

Me: "Pawmeh con Coon yu tee nie ka (Where are your mom and dad)?"

Meena: "Pawmeh con Chane tom nyoung tee Bangkok" (My mom and dad work in Bangkok)"

Interested to learn more about Meena's living situation, but limited by our thai language abilities, the following day we sat down with Meena, her Yie and a translator to get to know her better. During our exchange we discovered that the land that Meena's family had farmed on for generations flooded when the Rasi Salai Dam was built in 1993. As a result, Meena's parents left when Meena was 3 months old to find work in Bangkok, and to be close to a hospital because Meena's mother has diabetes.

Meena's Yie raised her, but now that she is older, Meena is responsible for taking care of the house and cooking. Meena's daily routine consists of waking up around 5 a.m., cleaning the house, cooking breakfast, going to school, cooking dinner and doing homework. Although Meena has a lot of responsibility as a 15-year-old girl, she is still young, enthusiastic and loves to have a good time. She enjoys going to school, studying Thai literature and reading. She also expressed that she hopes to study at a university when she graduates from high school, but that ultimately she would like to return and live in Rasi Salai.

I really enjoyed hanging out with Meena and helping with her English homework, but my experiences living with her and Pak Mun villagers opened my eyes to the impacts that dams can have on local communities. Taking a step back to look at the big picture I have come to question the sustainability of my lifestyle, and of the society that I live in. In general dams are built to either provide irrigation for farming or to generate power for electricity. But, the average lifespan of an electricity generating dam is only about 50 years. In addition a large number of dams are constructed without environmental impact assessments (EIA), social impact assessments (SIA), or the participation and consent of the local people that are negatively affected by the dam’s construction. After working closely with communities affected by dams I cannot help but think that the costs associated with building dams greatly outweigh the benefits.

When I first visited the Pak Mun Dam, a project that has received international attention as being one of the World Bank’s greatest investment failures, I was struck by how out-of-place it looked. A giant concrete eye soar obstructing the flow of the Mun River and drawing attention away from the otherwise natural landscape. The Pak Mun dam was constructed between 1990 and 1994 to generate power for the region; however, in 2000 the 136-megawatt dam was barely generating 40 megawatts of electricity. The story is not much different today, as the dam, which cost US$233 million to build (almost twice as much as originally projected), still has not recovered its investment costs.

The failures of Pak Mun, sadly, are not an isolated case. The Rasi Salai dam was constructed in 1993 to provide local farmers with irrigation; however, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) was never conducted, and the villagers were not included in the planning process. In fact, the villagers were originally told by the government that a rubber weir was going to be built to help with flooding, only to find out later that a large concrete dam was being constructed. Sixteen years later the dam does not provide any irrigation to local farmers. Why? The reservoir that the dam was built on sits above a large salt deposit, resulting in over-salinated water that is not suitable for agricultural use. Had an EIA been conducted this would have been discovered and the disastrous project may have been avoided.

Villagers in both Pak Mun and Rasi Salai have been deprived of their land, livelihoods and way of life. Some villagers have been partially compensated, yet many more have not. The fight for justice continues, 16 years after the construction of both dams.

So is it worth it? Is there a more sustainable way to go about development? Are we willing to make the changes? It’s easy to overlook the consequences of development projects when we are far removed from their impacts, but my experiences during our unit on dams makes me want to make some changes.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Kham Bon Noi Landfill

At 6 a.m. we awoke, excited, yet a bit nervous, ready to try our hand at scavenging for recyclables. After donning our long pants, plastic boots and gloves Kate and I followed our meh (mom) up to the dump.

As we walk toward the dump entrance, which is about 150 meters from our house, the road is lined with huts where the scavengers take their recyclables to sort. Our meh's hut was right by the entrance, and wasting no time, we grabbed our pitch forks and basket and headed into the dump to wait for the first garbage truck of the day.

The smell was overbearing, but the excitement of trying to find recyclables, and impress our meh with our good scavenging eyes, distracted us. The first load was dumped and 8 to 10 of us went to work on it. We watched our meh, and others from the community, and tried to pull out similar recyclables, but we quickly learned that there was a science to it. This black bag could be recycled, but not that one? The white and clear plastic bottles are good, but the green and semi-white ones are not? Not exactly sure what was, and was not, recyclable, we would hold up our findings and ask "Di my (yes)?" We would get a head nod either way, and slowly we began to catch on...a little. With one large basket full of plastic bags, cans, glass and plastic bottles we made our way out of the dump, feeling accomplished and ready to eat some breakfast. For breakfast we had egg and some stir fried vegetables; however, our stomachs were a little upset from the smell so we did not eat very much.

After breakfast meh quickly geared back up and was ready to head back out. We were slightly reluctant, but knew that we could not give up on our scavenging career at 8:30 a.m.! So out we went! By this time the other 12 CIEE students were out working with their families and we all attacked a freshly dumped pile of trash together, making a competition out of who could get to a glass bottle or plastic bag first.

This enthusiasm, however, quickly faded as the novelty of our new profession wore off. Reality began to set in as the sun began to heat up, flies swarmed all around me and maggots squirmed at my feet. The smell started to get to me, despite the fact that I had a bandanna tied around my nose and mouth. My stomach churned and I began to gag a couple of times, but managed to keep down what little breakfast I ate.

A somber mood set in as I recognized that garbage scavenging is no game. It is THEIR reality. Every single day. Night and Day. As I half heartedly pulled out bags of rotted food, dirty diapers, dead animals and soiled clothing with my pitch fork, my spirit sank. This was not by any stretch of the imagination enjoyable, but it was an example of what people with no skills and education resort to to survive.

There are currently 60 households that live next to, and work in, the dump. People migrated from city slums and rural areas because they could not find any other work. In the past, the community conditions and dynamics were much better. They were organized and active in petitioning the government for improved working and living conditions. However, since the economic downturn their is no time for community organizing. In the past, they would make, on average, Bt30,000 (U$882) a month. Now they make around Bt5,000 - Bt6,000 (U$147 - U$176) a month.

The drop in income has forced them to work 15+ hour days. The family I stayed with had a mom, a dad, a son and a daughter. My meh would work during the morning and afternoon, and then my paw would go out at night. My meh, meh B, is 30 years old. She has lived and worked in the slum since she was 10. As we sat down for meals or to rest together, I could not help but think of how different our lives are. By my age she had been working in the dump for 12 years, and had a 3 year old son. She did not have a formal education.

This experience did not make me feel guilty for having what I have, but it did make me wonder, why me? Why was I born in the United States to a middle class family? Why was she born into poverty? What does it really mean to be an United States citizen, with all the rights, liberties and opportunities bestowed upon us? Food for thought, I guess.

I realize that I paint a very grim picture of these people's lives, and it is a harsh reality, but I think it is also important to note that they are warm, caring, happy people. They laugh and joke. They play bingo and buy their children ice cream. They do not complain about their work. In fact, they have been evicted from the landfill multiple times, only to break back in to continue their work. They do not want to leave, because scavenging is the only way of life they know, but they do want something better for their children.

I do not think that anyone should have to do the type of work that they do, and the fact that they are there reflects a lack of opportunity that the state is failing to provide. The conditions are dangerous. People get cut by glass and needles. They have been hit by dump trucks or buried under trash. The air and water quality is deadly, as they breathe in methane and drink acid rain water.

They have petitioned the city numerous times to provide better working boots, gloves and masks and to test the drinking water to see if it is safe, but their requests go unmet. At best the city makes a half-assed attempt to provide them with some basic services, but the aid they receive is surface level they told us. "The city does things sometimes just to say they have done it. They do not really care about improving our lives, so no one really believes they can rely on the government (Paw Kum)." This is despite the fact that the landfill scavengers save the city millions of dollars a year in recycled goods and have significantly prolonged the life of the landfill by recycling a substantial portion of waste.

The community of Kham Bon Noi, at the landfill, faces many challenges. As a student I am trying to understand their situation, and help in any way, but the outlook is not good and there is not much we can tangibly do. This experience has, however, made me recognize the importance of education, and the realities that people who are marginalized from society face. It has also made me very grateful for the opportunities I have always had in my life.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I'll be DAMed!

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the Rasi Salai Dam protest village with a small group of students. Rasi Salai Dam was built by the Thai government in 1992 to provide agricultural irrigation for the surrounding area. However, the government did not take into account the traditional farming practices of the local people and did not conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) before constructing the dam.

The results were devastating. The dam distrupted the natural flooding patterns of the river, flooded the wetlands that people depended on for their livlihoods and resulted in an over-salinated water supply. It is estimated that 17,000 Rasi Salai villagers have been negatively impacted by the dam. As mentioned before, the dam was supposed to provide irrigation, but the reservoir water was too salty to be used for agriculture, and the surrounding villages did not want to relocate in order for an irrigation canal to be built. The irrigation cannal was therefore never finished. Furthermore, the dam is not used to generate power, so it did not benefit the villagers in any way. Had an EIA been conducted prior to the construction of the dam, researchers could have predicted that the water supply would be too salty for agricultural production.

Instead of conducting an EIA or SIA, the government forged ahead with the project, spending six times as much as projected to construct the dam. When the gates of the dam are closed fish resources in the river are depleted and the wetlands are flooded. It is estimated that 15 species of fish, 30,000 rai of wetlands and 10 traditional varieties of rice have been lost from flooding. These are resources that the local people depend on for their daily survival. The negative effects of the dam motivated villagers to protest the government and spread awareness about their situation to prevent the same thing from happening in other regions.
Currently, 2,700 villagers are living outside the gates of the dam in a temporary protest village. They have been there for 3 months and 28 days, and will not leave until they recieve compensation for their land and lost livlihood. In addition they are demanding that an environmental recovery plan be carried out and that they are able to have representatives on the committee that determines when the dam is open and when it is closed.

We visited the community to see what we may be able to help them with. They asked us for two things. (1) To spread awareness nationally and internationally about their struggle and (2) to raise funds to support their specific cause, and a larger network of dam victims.

Prior to visiting the community I did not have a pressing interest in the effects that dams have on local communities, so I was surprised when I immediately felt drawn in to their situation and wanted to help in any way possible. I felt needed, but it would be really hard to not feel that way. As our van navigated the winding road towards the dam there was water on either side of the road. Water, which we were told should not be there, but is because of the construction of the dam. As we approached the end of the road the protest camp came into sight. Row after row of shanty-like tarps were pitched as make-shift tents. It resembled the closest thing I have ever seen to a refugee camp (although it is important to note that these people do have homes, they came to live in the camp to protest because much of their land has been flooded).

As we trudged through the rain and mud to a meeting area I could not help but think how greatly the dam must have impacted these peoples' way of life to motivate them to protest under such conditions, for so long. It was stormy, windy and muddy and they had nothing more than a tarp over their heads, and sometimes, a raised platform to sit and sleep on. They fish off the side of the dam, scavenge in the wetlands and rely on remittances from family members. Before the dam was built they were able to grow and collect everything they needed to eat and sell from the wetlands. Now, many of their family members had to move to Bangkok to make a living. The rest of them are left back in the villages to grow and collect what little they can.

Inspired to help the Rasi Salai villagers reclaim their way of life we came up with project ideas to spread awareness and obtain funding to support their cause. Right now we are working on a photo essay to tell their story, which I will be sure to post on the blog when its finished. I'll also post updates on other projects we start related to their protest.