Sunday, November 29, 2009


It is hard to believe that the semester is almost over now. It is final project time and we are all working like mad. Time really flew on this program, part of it has to do with the fact that we never formally recognized any weekends. Every few weeks we would get 2 personal days which were rarely spent relaxing, they were more wisely spent catching up on homework or running personal errands. Also having no days off is a bit confusing. I compare it to see sickness, hiding out in the berth of the ship during a storm, the inner ear becomes confused, unable to stabilize itself with the constant horizon. When there is no weekend to give the week perspective it becomes a little disorienting. As a result days of the week have no formal meaning, I rarely know what day it is, it simply isn't necessary to know. When Im not sure of the day of the week I frequently guess Wednesday. I began to realize that I suspected it was Wednesday everyday. This might be because everyday there is a pile of work to be done that doesn't go away. In a lot of ways this semester has just been one long hump day.

But this feeling has finally come to an end. I failed to blog about the 3rd and 4th units which were equally fascinating and meaningful experiences, things are just busy and I tend to procrastinate the things that are not immediately necessary to my performance as a student here. In a nut shell; unit 3 consisted of examining the effects of hydropower on the Rasi Salai, Hua Na, and Pak Mun communities. All these communities have been impacted by their respective dams in typically negative ways. Displacement, loss of livelihood, loss of culture, environmental degradation; its all there. Also they were lied to and manipulated by the Thai government. We had a very interesting exchange with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand. The fourth and final unit had us consider our consumption of gold in the community of Na Nong Bong, where a local mine has disrupted the lives of the villagers. The practice of open pit mining for gold has polluted the soil and water, 54 of the community members have cyanide poisoning from the water. They were informed that they should no longer drink the water because the cyanide levels are so high. None of these problems existed before the mine yet there is no way to conclusively link these problems TO the mine, no formal tests had been done prior to the mines installation.

I will go into final projects soon (hopefully) I have to go write a paper now.