By Hongnapha PHOMMABOUTH
Today is the last day of my turn to do the blog. I am still in enjoying learning and meeting many new people from different U.S. NGOs. The exploring and learning in Missoula give me an inspiration of working for my community and my country. Life will have more meaning when we can do something good for people around us. Many U.S. NGOs are working so hard for helping people and bring something good to their community such as the case of Milltown dam. It spent many years to remove the dam from the community and lake because the NGOs, tribe and community never give us to negotiation with government until they get successful, they can remove the dame and it brings back the wealthy of nature and happy life for people. I really admired their work and their successful. If it compares to my country which we just start building the dame and many dam will build in Laos. I don’t know what will happen to my country in the future, and when the dam will give negative impact to the community and the nature. As I knew now there are many trees were cut and local native people have to move from their hometown. They lost their house, their land and far from their native food. In addition, there are many local fishes disappear and number of wildlife reducing. So what I have learned from the Clark Fork Coalition today, it will be the new knowledge and skill to apply in my organization and sharing with other colleges who work on the environment conservation. Even I know it will take long time and challenge us but I do believe that one day we will have a way to solve some problem to bring our nature back.
And one more interesting that happen today, it is the Election Day in the United States especially it is also one important Election Day in Missoula. Many people go to do voting at the different place because some people believe that they have to use their right to vote for getting the better people to work on city council member in order to work on school ballot issue ( Bond Election for elementary and high schools). The main context of Election in Missoula, this fall’s ballot includes a variety of issues for voters decide especially about maintenance and renovation of elementary and high schools. I think it is a good lesson learns that I see many people take action and responsible to their duty to go for voting when they have the right to do.
For the last exciting activity for me and it is really surprise me today is about the MPG Ranch which has more than 10,000 acres of conservation property in Western Montana, it is undeveloped landscapes for wildlife habitat and the enjoyment of future generations to conduct the research and study about the forest and native wildlife. I am really happy that I have a chance to driving along narrow mountain road through the forest, wildlife conservation area, and valley. It is really a wonderful place. What I have learned there is about the system to monitor the life of wildlife, the development strategy to decrease the invasive species and improve land restoration practice. I don’t know how to describe about this place. If I have a chance to come back, I would like to visit this place again. The one more important of this place is the owner is the billionaire, he spends his own money to buy this land and do this project, I really would like to ask him why he need to do this project. What make him inspired to do? It would be good if he can share this idea with other rich people, So we will have more great place for the wildlife and environment conservation area.
Finally, I would like to end my blog by express my deep appreciation and thanks for the help and support from Mansfield Center’s team, CFAC and my fellow coordinator, my host family, my ASEAN colleagues and all the Non- Profit Organization in Montana on my recent fellowship program. I feel so grateful to you for taking time out of your busy schedule to sharing, advice and answer so many questions. Without your help, I would not have been able to complete my goal of learning in this program in such a proficient and timely manner.