In July of 2015, representatives from WARECOD led a Thaibaan research group from Viet Nam on a study tour of Southern Laos to visit other village research groups. Here are some impressions from the individuals who were part of the trip.
My name is Vo Thanh Trang and I was born in 1955. I am a member of the Vam Nao research group of Tan Trung commune, Phu Tan district, An Giang province.
Early 2013, I volunteered to join the Thaibaan research group, initiated by WARECOD. I was trained on research methodology and skills, and had many chances to visit different places and participate in workshops. Among those activities, I was most impressed with a trip we took to understand how Thaibaan research was done in Laos in July 2015.
I have many impressions about the trip. The most special ones are the picturesque and pure scenery and the local people who are hospitable and subtle. When communicating with visitors, I found their sharing always sincere and polite.
When we visited Khinark village, the villagers showed us the many stages in the process of producing noodles, from making the noodles, to wastewater treatment to avoid polluting the environment. One thing I noticed was the lack of safety when they boiled the noodles. Two parallel wooden bars were placed above a boiling pot and the cook had to push the noodles against these bars, at which point the noodles would drop down into the boiling pot. If the cook was tired or slipped, he would certainly get hurt. My feeling was that they should consider using another bar to push the noodles – the work would then require less power and be safer.
Our next destination was the magnificent Khonephapheng falls, where we saw the lys fishing trap. This trap is creative because fishers only have to build it once and they can use it for the whole fishing season.
In meetings with the Department of Education of Champasak province and the Division of Education of Khong district, we were told that the Education offices had chosen the most practical and useful Thaibaan research results to incorporate into the curriculum of local elementary schools. This is a great idea. I would go a step further and propose that the research results to be submitted to the Ministry of Education and then be applied to the national curriculum. This way young students from the whole country will learn about this research.
In short, I liked the scenery which is both majestic and poetic. I was pleased and happy with the unfamiliar yet delicious food served with hospitality by our Laotian friends. The attentive guidance of our Laotian friends and WARECOD staff contributed to the success of this trip.
Translated by Duong Thu Hang of WARECOD. This study tour was funded by Oxfam Australia in collaboration with the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems.