Consultations in Chiang Mai
After I have breakfast in a restaurant close to the guesthouse I call Chris. Chris is Swiss citizen and works as Asia Officer for the International Work Group on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), an international NGO from Denmark. He picks me up, I rent a moto scooter and we ride to his office, which is also is home, a bit outside of town. It takes me some time to get used to driving on the left side of the road. Meanwhile some people have started already splashing water at us, which is quite refreshing given the overall fairly hot temperatures.
I meet Chris’ wife (unfortunately I forgot her name), who is an indigenous person from the Naga in Manipur, India. We discuss for some time. Later Jannie joins us, indigenous, too, Kadazan from Sabah in Malaysia. Jannie is Secretary General of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), a regional network of indigenous organizations. Their office is just on the other side of the road.
Later we have lunch in a local restaurant next to the river. The food is excellent and incredibly cheap. Still later I meet with Jannie in the AIPP office. One of her staff, Chingya, joins us and we spend the afternoon with interesting discussions. Chingya is also Naga from Manipur in India. In fact I have met his uncle in Geneva, who is one of the funders of AIPP and lives currently as political refugee in Canada.
Chris’ wife has prepared a great diner and we spend the evening in their house, again with interesting discussion. Helen joins us, a young woman from Australia who works for yet another NGO, the International Alliance of Indigenous Tribal Peoples of Tropical Forests.
It is late in the evening when I try (ultimately successfully) to find my way back home with the moto scooter.