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May 29, 2001 Akha Weekly Journal

Dear Friends:

I have not been sending out as many updates this month because of a number of reasons.

A number of projects are near completion and just hanging, so I am waiting till they are fully finished to announce that.

Overall it has been a very slow spring, this has stalled projects that I wish were done already.

Your donations are needed. Few people realize how far a small contribution will go in Thailand and thus get discouraged from sending even $10.

$10 is fuel for most of a day to get out to villages. A good bag of first aid medicine. 22 kilos of flour for baking. 20 kilos of fish food. Half the cost of a well pump.

The prolonged border closure has pressed a great hardship on the Akha from the Burma side.

The bridge closure was artificially contrived.

The road to China was greatly improved, due to be fully completed this spring, when this artillery assault by the Thai Army on the Burmese lookout here at Maesai precipitated the bridge closure in a harsh fashion that would not be soon resolved.

Who ever greased palms to see this event occur, we think CIA here, it was hardly likely that the local Thai Army and Civil authorities had a clue as to the long term impact. The bridge stays closed. No trade moves. Maesai is dead. The river is now swollen with new rains. Many people will drown trying to cross the river, which happens every time the bridge is closed during rainy season. People try to live, try to work, try to eat.

But one has to ask who could possibly gain by the matter and why?

Did somone oppose a cozy trade relationship between Thailand and China? A hundred plus miles of good road all that was seperating two big trading partners?

And then we have the Taiwan, China, spy plane, cobra gold all happening at the same time, with all this double talk about drugs and the border?

Currently except for the Fang region which is to the south, we see no border military activity near the northern Akha villages.

According to the newspaper speed pills continue to flow and continue to be produced, so I am not sure what all was accomplished.

However the border definitely was militarized so some equipment dealers, probably mostly in the US did make some good cash I would think.

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