Looking back over my notes I can’t help be see so many themes. While abroad as a group we often brought up the practicality of the people in Thailand. The systems, rules and overall way of life, could be categorized as simple. They do what’s needed to be done and worry about the rest when the rest presents itself. They believe in simple rules; do good and good will happen or concepts like have a social worker present when dealing with victims of the sex trafficking world because they’re trained in that area. All of these things seem simple and obvious but it’s a way of life that most of us here in the states couldn’t imagine living.
There, we met a man that was working on the problems of the river. The river was being used for commercial business from other countries but it’s a river that has been used for survival for the Thai’s. His job is to educate and come up with solutions as to how to gain control of the usage of the river so that the Thai people can maintain their way of life. The problem was big, but the way they’re going about fixing it is complex and simple at the same time. He educates the people on the situation and has meetings with all parties involved to come up with solutions. This is powerful. Not only is it a reminder of the power that the grassroots people have no matter the country, but the power of a good leader. He explained how they talk about the river, and it’s in such a practical way. They don’t talk about it in terms of science. They talk about it in terms of immediate consequences and life. The education piece is something that’s shared. As a group they educate each other on the usage of the river and they unite communities to figure out a way to solve the issue. Our presenter simply said “We talk about it in a way that makes sense, we don’t have conversations about distant consequences but we talk about the immediate…the fisherman would suffer meaning the food supply would go down…things that make sense to their lives”. If only we could communicate more effectively like our Thai counterparts, so many issues would be minimized, internalize, and solved, but apparently that’s too simple.