Sawadee Kap!

Today, Friday May 16th, was the Grand Finale. We had the official stakeholder meeting. This meant that we had to show our findings to all stakeholders involved in the research of every group. This was done by giving presentations. In these presentations the research methods, main bottlenecks (problems) and recommendations were discussed. To conclude a critical question was asked to the audience to either gain more information on the topic or raise some discussion among the stakeholders.

The event took place at a luxury, but cold (the air-conditioning made it feel like the ice-age returned) hotel early in the morning. We were all dressed up very nicely, although some of us had to change clothes when they arrived at the hotel, as they were soaked by the tropical rainfall (totally different from a Dutch rainy day). The meeting was in a big room and the teachers as well as DASTA and our facilitator-translator were already there. We waited for the stakeholders to arrive and when most of them were present the introduction of the meeting started.

The Mayor of Koh Chang started with the introduction. He told the attendees how important this meeting was. He said one thing that was very important in my opinion: ‘please do not show us only the positive sides, but show us reality, so we can learn from it’. I think with that the Mayor covered the whole purpose of the day. After that the manager of the Tourism Board of Koh Chang gave a short introduction. He told us that he was grateful for our research initiative and that he was very curious to hear what we had to tell. After these introductions it was our turn…

My group was the first group to start the presentations and the two presenters Tom and Fleur did very well. They got the attention from the audience and we got valuable information from the critical question. The other groups also did a good job and they were also able to provide ideas to the stakeholders on how to reduce carbon emissions. Partly due to the translating back and forth the meeting took more time than we had expected. However this didn’t really matter because the meeting was a success. After the meeting we had a little informal chat with the stakeholders and then we had a BBQ at white sand beach.

The BBQ was an initiative of the IFP committee and almost everyone was there. It was well organized and really relaxed. Everyone chilled in the sea or ate on the beach. It was a great way to slow down a little after the intense research days. Around 4am. all bellies were full and everyone left for Bangkok. I took a minivan to Bangkok together with 7 others. This trip was almost the biggest experience during all my travels. It felt like the driver was competing against Schumacher in the Formula 1 (I think this minivan driver would have won). When I safely arrived I was very glad that I survived the trip. In Bangkok we wandered around like “chickens without a head”, but ultimately we found a spooky shelter for the night and prepared ourselves for the most crowded city on earth: Bangkok.

Laa káwn,

Written by: Ivo Lammertink