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March 26, 2013
by John Vink
The water sprit said:'The dam will not be built before five years'... That is what the chamane told the Poum Thmey villagers gathered at the spirit house on the banks of the Srepok river, near the rapids where the Lower Srepok3 dam's construction is planned. They took their longboats, zigzagging upstream through the rocks hidden in the water, carrying with them a piglet, joss sticks, a few mats and jars of rice wine. Once at the spirit house, people prayed behind it and at the foot of trees, lighting joss sticks and spilling drops of rice wine. A few banners saying 'The river is our livelihood' were tied next to the spirit house which by now was decorated with red cloth. The musicians started to play and the chamane, a first grade schoolteacher, started dancing.

Five Years of respite. Respite? The Sesan2 dam which will be built downstream, will most likely already have had a radical impact on the fish population of the Srepok river and on the lives of the indigenous populations. There is a price to pay for development. Some will pay more than others.

This is the last post about the Three Rivers Dams project for now. Most of the photographs can be found at this link. An ebook is under construction and will be available in a couple of months. Stay tuned...