More on assignment two

I plan to move the ‘Echoes Group’ project over to G&M which means that the work on identity will go there and I have already done some more work in that area which I need to write up soon. I have been thinking about the Gross’ and thinking about how to develop the work done so far into a piece of work that will continue through this whole course. I don’t know what the work will be and at this range it seems daunting, but I want to give it a go.

Last night I met with the Ann and Carl and asked firstly whether they would be up for having me around them for the next six months or so – I felt sure they would be accommodating, as they are very kind by nature – and, after they agreed we started to talk. A little after eleven pm I left them with my head spinning somewhat….perhaps the wine helped!

I had the notion that I needed to understand what it is they support in Thailand, the various projects, the geographical locations, the difficulties they face and to ‘converse’ in the hope that something – a narrative of some sort – would start to emerge.

Well the first thing I learned was that there are four sites, I had thought there were three.

Nong Khai, up the far north east of the country and in the valley of the Mekong River. Orphanage and immigration school. HIV and other issues.

Mae Sot, or rather Ma La where the refugee camp is. I found this link here that gives an overview and a lot of photographs, the sort that I’m being encouraged not to repeat I think. It is situated on the Thai/Burmese (Myanmar) border and is one of around nine refugee camps in the area. The full gamut of issues compounded with problems associated with a large number of mine related injuries.

Rayong and Pattaya are both in the central tourist area and have concomitant issues, large numbers of orphans many of whom have health issues.

So, four sites that I have agreed with Ann and Carl that I would interview them on specifically – so that I can compartmentalise the sites and get to grips with some of the issues surrounding them.

I started to talk about how I wanted to look at links – objects, communications, ‘things’ that go between the two sets of peoples – I started to realise that I wanted to find direct personal connections that link individual. Ann showed me some hand written letters, in Thai’ but with an English translation, that they had received. There was also some knitting that had been done by two knitting circles that are donated to the them. There are also medicines that are collected and shipped over. However most of what goes East is money, donations that are provided to the local sites for them to use to bring relief to the suffered. Coming West are communications and they seemed willing to send stuff East for me for them to be sent back with ‘marks’ on them. These ‘marks’ would probably be writing and, as suggested by my tutor, I may need to be directive about what is written.

I’m concerned that I have uncovered (for me that is) a mountain underneath what might have been a mole hill in Carl’s allotment, that as I start to dig that what I unearth might be too large for me to cope with. I am also becoming aware of the awe in which I hold for these two and the work they involved in. They have invited me to a reception on June 11th in London where some Thai’s are being celebrated for their work, it will be a place where I can get other perspectives, meet other personages that are involved in the same work and, I suspect, enable me to get a broader picture of what Ann and Carl are involved in.

Into the deep I jump.

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4 thoughts on “More on assignment two

  1. Excellent. I was hoping that something like this might happen.
    I looked at the link you gave – can’t believe that those places where people live in misery are being treated as some kind of tourist destination. Or maybe I’ve misunderstood. Something else struck me as well – the difference between ‘beautiful’ images with no apparent depth and those that actually draw attention to underlying issues.
    On another note – I’ve been pondering altruism and what is it that attracts particular people to particular countries and projects.

    • I don’t know about altruism, it’s not a journey that I want to consider at the moment – too many things to think about! I am concerned about whether I can find a strand that will enable me to extract the beauty of what they do, without making it mawkish or condescending. I think I need to find another perspective on the Gross’ to make sure I’m not seeing what they do through rose tinted glasses.

  2. You seem to be very adept at falling into some very big projects without really trying John. This and the Armenian project should keep you so occupied your tu-tu might have time to decay.

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