Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Lack of Environmental and Sanitary Awareness is Scary!

At the Floating Market Eating a Pineapple Boat Operator
My Khanh Alligator Pond
Can Tho City Bridge

There is a story behind this bridge and it is actually quite sad. Last year the Japanese provided funds for the building of a bridge in Can Tho. Instead of overseeing the project themselves they let the Vietnamese take care of it (first mistake). Therefore, the contractor who oversaw the project was Vietnamese (not to say Vietnamese contractors are bad). However, it is well known in Vietnam that when it comes to bridges and any infrastructure made by a Vietnamese it is generally ill/poorly made because of their lack of either, education or technological expertise (though it is usually this one) (2nd mistake). The result of these mistakes was: the bridge collapsing and killing around 50 people. The Japanese prime minister had to come to ask for forgiveness and now the Japanese are rebuilding the bridge, and they are NOT (believe me) committing the same mistakes twice!

On to today's Post!

Today I woke up at 5:15 am to go to the floating market. Tho picked me up at 5:30 am. When I got to the floating market I interviewed two sellers, a couple who lived on a boat (and who sold pineapples), and our very friendly boat operator. I think that I got a lot of interesting data today. For example, did you know that the people on the boats use the river water for domestic affairs ranging from washing their clothes to brushing their teeth?! The man that we talked to on the boat told us that he got sick and that it wasn’t until he went to the doctor that he began to boil his water before he drank it…. Though, I am not sure if that is sufficient (the boiling). When I talked to our boat operator I found out that he washes his boat with river water (where then the soap and dirt go into the river, but I didn’t tell him that). While on our way back his engine made some strange noise and I asked him what was wrong. He said that it was nothing it was just some GARBAGE that was caught by the engine. He said that ONCE A WEEK he has to remove garbage from his boat's engine. I don’t think that he realized how valuable his information was for my ISP but I am sure glad that he was willing to be interviewed about his job. In addition, we went to My Khanh garden. It is a man made garden and the place resembles a little cottage like getaway. I found out that most of the tourists are Vietnamese and that foreigners don’t like to go there because it is not “natural enough”. In a way I also felt this place was a bit…barbaric? They had something called “alligator fishing”. They have a pond full of alligators and the person can “fish” for an alligator. After that guess what happens? The alligator becomes a purse or a belt! When asked about the environment they said that they try to "help out" by BURNING their garbage. If I recall correctly burning garbage is not something one wants to do if it's just done with an incinerator because one isn't using heat energy to make electricity or steam rather, one is simply getting rid of the garbage and releasing harmful things! Oh well, a point that should be made is that, people need to be educated more on these sort of things (environmental and sanitary). Above are some pictures of today’s trip!

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