Muesaw Chokedilok, an ethnic Karen woman from Thailand’s Kaburdin Village in Chiang Mai’s Omkoi district, hops aboard an old pickup truck for a rugged ride up the mountain. With her are a group of housewives from the same village, all clad in cotton handwoven clothes with beaded lace and colourful headscarves. They are on the way to meet a group of journalists from Bangkok. Their village is at least four hours by car to Muang Chiang Mai.
On the truck, the women point towards the sloping hills, gesturing at the forests, villages, paddy fields, and family farmlands, all critical to their livelihoods and way of life. The entire landscape will be severely affected by a planned water diversion project that will pass underneath the mountains.