Field Trip to Ban Napia
















Goal
> involvement of villagers in development of the Visitor-Center / Souvenir Shop: collect feedback and ideas for further steps in design-process
> increase understanding for why tourists come and what’s interesting for them (and what kind of information is necessary for the exhibition)
> give villagers new ideas for “souvenirs” and how different producer groups can work together (ex. föh-set: combination of the war-spoon, chopsticks and textile together with a recipe for the famous noodle-soup)
> discuss responsibilities: who can do what?
> explain and help with organization of tourism (invoice etc.)
> discuss village fund

How?
> since it was my first time to meet the people of Ban Napia, I presented myself and Andi encouraged them to ask questions which was fun and created a relaxed atmosphere
> i told a small story about tourists coming to Ban Napia (with Sorsisoulin and Andi helping me with translations and supported by small illustrations which i prepared beforehand)
> the story was intended to be a starting point to discuss our ideas for the visitor-center – and it worked great; everyone was involved, understood and in the end we got a “happy agreement” of the villagers!
> I also suggested the idea to run a small drawing-workshop with children from the village (and interested adults) to develop some illustrations for parts of the exhibition; we will hopefully run this before i leave to Germany in August
> more difficult was the question about how to finance the Visitor-Centre: Helvetas and GIZ will support with some money but we also want the villagers to invest a small amount to increase their feeling of owner-ship and responsibility; however, they seem either not to have the money or unwilling to invest
> Andi and Bunnee explained possibilities of how to organize tourism in the village, Thanongsone discussed organization of Village Fund
> for the further development of handicrafts (and souvenirs), we showed some samples which were well recieved; i discussed with the weaving women colors and quality of yarn (which is not easy since my lao is still on a small-talk level)

Lessons Learnt
> create a relaxed atmosphere with villagers!
> again: story-telling and bringing tangible examples: ++++++
> don’t come to a meeting and be “the expat” with a “a to z” plan and timetable – listen to villagers and be flexible to adapt and change according to their needs
> it’s lovely how people always invite you to their homes (after a meeting) where they offer rice whiskey (laolao) and food; this makes a working-relationship warmer and more “human”

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