Saturday, October 18, 2014

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

We had our last week of classes for Stephanie and my's American culture course. We finished up the class with a discussion on media influence in American on Tuesday, and on Wednesday the students gave their presentations. I was really proud of our students for presenting on Wednesday. I knew all of them were nervous to stand in front of the whole class and talk in English. Stephanie and I attempted to do a musical performance for our class, because our boss is very musically inclined and suggested we perform. Steph and I decided to do the cup song from the movie Pitch Perfect. We practiced all weekend to try and learn to movements and song for the class. Let's just say it took us three times to even finish it for the students. After the second try I wanted to hide under the desk, but luckily I had Stephanie there to force me to finish. I've really enjoyed teaching this class. I learned a bit about my own culture and I was able to compare it to my student's knowledge of Vietnamese culture. I also learned that it takes a lot of time and energy to be a teacher. I am a fairly introverted person, so it takes a lot of energy to "perform" for students for an hour and a half. Even though it was a lot of work, I'm glad I got to experience what it is like to teach on a somewhat professional level.

This week in class we got to learn about the economic development plans for Can Tho.The Mekong Delta is rich in natural resources and is the largest provider of fish, rice, and agriculture for Vietnam. Labor is cheap and there is plenty of land available for development. The Delta seems like the perfect place to develop, except for the fact that there is little to no established infrastructure. Investing money in the Mekong would be very unprofitable, because there is very little to invest in. However, once the Mekong Delta becomes established this area will be the new hot spot for development. Can Tho City plans to create many more manufacturing factories and companies in order to increase land profit. By the year 2020 Vietnam plans to be an industrialized nation. Among other things, this means being able to produce their own technology to create their own products, rather than importing most of their technological products from other countries. From the information I've gathered it sounds like Can Tho is going to change drastically in the next 5-10 years. With all this growth comes new product and product waste. I worry that Vietnam will cut environmental corners to reach their lofty goal of industrialization by 2020. Educated locals no longer swim in the Mekong that runs through Can Tho City. This was not the case ten years ago. There is a clear trash issue already evident in the Mekong river. Waste management seems to be one of the City's largest problems. When I'm out in town I usually carry my trash around with me until I return to my dormitory, because it is so difficult to find a trash can on the street. Most waste is either thrown into the river or streets, where is it later burned. I am scared to think what will become of Vietnam's contribution to environmental pollution once they ramp up their industrial sector. There are environmental laws in place to regulate businesses' pollution, but inspectors can be bought off and visits are scheduled. In an attempt to educate the public the government is implementing environmental awareness topics to be taught in early primary school. Children are taught to reduce, reuse, and recycle. The problem for Can Tho is that there is no recycling plant or system in place for these children to put into practice the theory of recycling. I do not think Vietnam is prepared to deal with the impending environmental implications that will come along with a fast growing industrial sector.  

1 comment:

  1. Hey Kaitlan,
    Yeah the lack of infrastructure is really apparent when I walk around as well. It worries me because in order for an area to be able to develop in a sustainable way, good infrastructure is key. And because I feel like a lot of Can Tho has developed around its current state, there will have to be a lot of reconstruction that occurs. For example, the road between Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho is only one lane wide with homes and businesses directly next to them. It's definitely concerning to think about how those people may have to be displaced if it's decided that road should be widened. It raises a lot of questions about how development affects people and will be interesting to see how it plays out in the future!