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Friends and Dresses

13 Aug

Beautiful sunset welcome

houses along the river

Sangkhlaburi is beautiful town and I had the opportunity to go to the border of Myanmar and Thailand. The checkpoint, now closed is called Jedi Sam Ong. And talking with some of the guesthouse people, the long-drawn conflict between Thailand and Myanmar is still rooted in the hearts of many.

Three Pagoda Pass

Border of Myanmar and Thailand

But because this city borders the two countries, it’s filled with a rich rich heritage and culture and I got the chance to learn more Burmese, Karen and Mon there, as well as get a Karen traditional dress!

Friends at the guesthouse- karen wear

Friends at the guesthouse

Mon village

My bedroom

The beauty of schools

6 Jul

There’s something about schools that I love.

Last Friday, I went to the school in Samut Sakhon and fell IN LOVE with the kids there. AND… I FINALLY MOVED IN to a place! 🙂
Time and time again, I get blown away by the people doing such good work- the kids loved to go to school and were just a place for building up social networks for LIFE. School is a rite of passage for all of us and so often so many lack this right. It was so good to see these kids enjoying school 🙂 wait for photos! They will be coming SOON! 🙂

Now on to doing research on the Burmese border in Sangkhaburi.

Meixi

A perfect Fish.

2 Jul

frozen fish- samut sakhon
So today we went around to the HUGE fish factories and I realized how much we create the trafficking in the world.
You see great packed fish, sure it’s not fresh from the sea but I tastes really good, is incredibly cheap and it’s easy to get at mega supermarkets, Target or Walmart or Carrefour or Cold Storage or Fair Price. (I’m NOT saying these shops support trafficking)

mapeng_central_trip6_2

Do we think about where this food comes from? Do we care?

For us who believe that cows live in supermarkets and think that vegetables grow there too, we often fail to think that what WE demand has a GLOBAL impact. Working with LPN here, in the morning, we would tour these factories that are very large stakeholders in the seafood industry, where there is a lot of demand for migrant workers. And then in the afternoon, we would have lunch at a seafood restaurant. I would always be confused- if LPN was working for labor rights, why were we eating SEAFOOD?

Then I realized – the human trafficking and often abuse that happens in the factories are those for EXPORT. Export to US.

Companies that boast of hiring only Thai workers like to brand such for export, but these too deny Burmese migrants safe jobs. What do we do then? Is our quest for the perfect Fish– i.e. the easy to good and tasty and keeps well- creating a demand for labor abuse? Maybe we are the problem.