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Photo by Sampor Burke, Mekong Semester.

Images from Laos

From the land that time forgot…

The images above and below were taken in Vientiane after the student arrival in Laos.

The images below are from the Nam Theun II hydro-electric dam project, one of the “kinder, gentler dams” financed by the World Bank in Southeast Asia and among the largest development projects in the region. Students had a chance to meet with engineers and historians who provide context on the construction, the unique “gravity dam” mechanics, and the impact the dam has had on local indigenous villagers as well as the economy of Laos. This dam presents stark examples of the compromise of development as well as the nuances of regional investment and political influence. Most of the energy produced by the Nam Theun II is sold directly to Thailand. Only a small portion is used by local people.

Students head into the mountains for the next day or two to visit the national park of Nahin and explore Kong Lor, the mysterious seven-kilometer-long subterranean river, near the Vietnam border.

More to come…