Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wild roads

The road to Ta-Oi, and onward to Sa-Moi District, is very rough. Although a new road is being constructed, it probably won't be finished until 2010. In the meantime, it's a 5 hour trip to go 80 kms. on a good day. If a truck has broken down or the road is muddy, it can take 12 hours.

This is a smooth section of the road:

the road, originally uploaded by c_p_lew.

Most of the bridges are not usable, so travelers have to ford each creek and river. The last time I went to Ta-Oi, this bridge could be crossed. Something big and heavy got a bad surprise.

old bridge, originally uploaded by c_p_lew.

This is one of the worst sections of the road. Yes, that is a water buffalo taking a long soak in one of the water filled ruts.

road and water buffalo, originally uploaded by c_p_lew.

It seemed to complain at us as we went by

water buffalo in road, originally uploaded by c_p_lew.

The first 15 kms. section of the road has already made travel easier. Not just for us - but also for the people who live in remote villages, who have difficulties getting health care or other services.

While the new road will be convenient, it will definitely create problems. People's cultures will be affected - more information about the outside world will draw young people away from their homes (though that is already happening on a small scale). While there is an opportunity for trade, business, and education, it also means the environment can be exploited more easily - rubber plantations, logging concessions, and mining operations. It's hard to know what is best.

1 comment:

Keera Ann Fox said...

I never realized how much a water buffalo looks like a regular cow. The skin looks pink, which reminds me of pigs. Does the water buffalo have to use mud to stay cool like pigs do?