I finally arrived in Bangkok on Monday and have just some free time to email! I have been incredibly blessed by all the help I’ve received in Bangkok- Pi A helping to get me from the airport and Pi taro with all the accommodation stuff- but I’m safe here! But my ankles are swollen coz of mosquito bites already. Oh well!
On Monday I just worked and settled in in the UNIAP office, and finally met some of the UNIAP staff that I have been in contact with all summer- it’s good to finally put names to faces. Right now I’m still trying to confirm my 2 month residence! It was cool that two people from John Hopskins University came by on Tuesday! They are doing a study with the Labor Rights Promotion Network (LPN) at Samut Sakohn, with a mirgrant worker study in the seafood industry in Thailand. Many of these factories engaged in export demand for seafood, while using the Burmese workers that have migrated here. Here’s one study from the UNIAP.
Downlaod SIREN Field Report [ENGLISH PDF]
I’m learning about this study that John Hopskins is doing, using Respondent Driven Sampling- look it up on google if you can! It’s a very interesting data collection method and they use incentives to get more people to interview about thier life working in the seafood industry. It’s helping me think SO MUCH about data collection and the process of data analysis. Very cool stuff. In the two days that I’ve been at LPN, I’ve gone on home visits and it’s so interesting looking at that dynamic.
I’m a foreigner and can understand about 60-70% of the Thai langauge here, esp dealing with the new terms like migration or facotry or child labor, and the Thais are always to respectful of their guests. The first day I arrived here, they gave the UNIAP staff coffee and water during their presentation- a very “Thai” thing to do. Oh man it’s so intersting that you think you are a foriegner, but even when going to the migrant home or even going on home visits, even the Thais that have been working with the LPN fall silent because they don’t speak Burmese and are regarded as the “guests” in the home and given so much repesct. The other us them divide is huge. Even a “local” is “foreign” is such a community, needing the help of translators to understand what some of the people were saying.
So many thoughts are racing around in my head and one of them is that I want to learn Burmese! 🙂 And brush up on my Thai at least. I just realize HOW inadequate I am!
So tomorrow morning we might go out to the factories again REALLY early in the morning to see the workers come out, and then I might head back to Bangkok. The people I’m working with are amazing too and there’s another intern, Casey that has become my really good friend- we’re gonna go apartment hunting soon and room together!! At least I’ll have company! 🙂
It’s Wednesday and I’ll be staying at LPN tonight with Casey and will move back to Bangkok tomorrow to hopefully find a place to stay!