Reflecting on rivers
Posted on Friday, March 5th, 2010.
Each Expedition Field Course has a mid-course seminar — a chance to reflect on what is being learned, summarize, and prepare for the next phase of the expedition. Ajaan Abram, teaching the rivers course, met the students in Nong Khai and traveled with them to the seminar site.
For the Rivers course, the seminar took place in the riverside town of Chiang Khan, in Loei province. Chiang Khan used to be a sleepy town of wooden buildings built along the banks of the Mekong river, across from Laos. Now, the old wooden buildings are being converted into guest houses, Internet cafes, and funky restaurants — as it is only a day’s drive from Bangkok. It is a great place for mid-course on Rivers, as it is half way between Issan (the Northeast of Thailand) and the Northern Thai province of Phrae, where the students paddle the Yom River (go to our maps page to see the course locations).
During the seminar the students ha a chance to talk through what they had learned from the communities of fisherfolk along the Mun river, the impact of the Pak Mun dam, as well as what they had observed on the transect of the Mekong river up from Ubonratchathani province.
Two of the key questions that were discussed were about connections and interactions taking place in and around rivers in SE Asia.
Students were asked to draw the spatial, environmental, economic and sociological connections of major players in and around the Mun River before and after the construction of the Pak Mun dam. They were also asked to reflect on transboundary interactions of players on the Mekong including the spatial, environmental, economic and sociological connections.
Here are some photos of the day, along with their posters and explanatory text, to give you a feel for the course.