A tale of two villages
Gudpiakorn and Nungeetai are villages in North-east Thailand. But they could be villages anywhere - bound together by family ties and divided by the local jealousies and disagreements that run through every living community.
Debbie Taylor, on assignment for the World Health Organization (WHO), has recreated from interviews a series of real episodes in these villages. In a longer form they will be used for training health workers and government officials in Thailand. We are grateful to WHO for their permission to share them with New Internationalist readers. Our thanks too to Thai artist Chai Rajawat for producing the accompanying illustrations.
Gudpiakorn is striving to win the area’s ‘best village’ award. And it has many of the things that could help it succeed. Water tanks and latrines have been installed and it has a thriving co-operative drug store. Above all it has a community organization that allows the benefits of any improvements to reach the poorest villagers.
Nungeetal, which is the setting for the stories in the second half of the magazine, has much further to go. The village is in the grip of a couple of powerful families, so any investment, however small, can easily finish up in the wrong hands. Some of the other villagers have been working out ways and means of escaping this subversive influence.
But the stories start in Gudpiakorn with Loui and his strategies for ensuring the villagers work together…