Thursday, April 9, 2009

Expedition Course #1: Rivers, Dams, and Local Struggles, pt. III

Before our last day of paddling the Yom River, I get my lean on, sporting my quick-dry gear and bright orange emergency whistle (and my three week old Thai haircut).

Some of our canoes tied up at Kaeng Sua Ten (Dancing Tiger Rapids), where The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, or EGAT for short, has for threatened to build the last big dam in Thailand. The nearby villages, including Dawn Chai, where we homestayed for two nights have successfully fought the building of the dam for around twenty years and continue to do so (if the dam were built, Dawn Chai and numerous other villages will be completely inundated, along with the last stand of highly prized Golden Teak in the whole country).

Looking upstream from Kaeng Sua Ten.

Expedition Course #1: Rivers, Dams, and Local Struggles, pt. II

A man works at the local whiskey plant in Dawn Chai village in northern Thailand.

Our paddling team takes a short break while paddling the Yom River, which is still turbid from thuderstorms a few days earlier.

Paw Sangooan talks about the daily fish catch - discussing species, net and spear method, turbidity, and a myriad of other topics.

One of our team's riverside campsites while going down the Yom River.

Expedition Course #1: Rivers, Dams, and Local Struggles

The Pak Mun Dam, erected by EGAT in 1994.
For information about the grave damages done by this struture, read the World Commision on Dams report, which was written by a collection of pro-dam and anti-dam stakeholders (click here to download the PDF of the report).
Sitting by the Mun River, just downstream of the Pak Mun Dam, and listening to Mae Jaroon, a local anti-dam activist.
Johnny and I enjoying a parting dinner and ceremony with our host parents in Nawng Po village, a community severely affected by the Pak Mun Dam. I would very much like to note that the near-week spent with this family in this village was one of the more beautiful - simultaneously heart-warming and heart-breaking - experiences of my short life thus far.
A sunset over the Mekong River.
Standing on the Thai side, the other bank of the river is in Laos.

Driving to Dawn Chai village, our caravan was hit by a 'mango rain' thuderstorm. Pictured is a small river getting hit by the rains, with rice fields and mountains in the background.