In the Kham region of Tibet, there are families who have been nomadic herders for thousands of years. Almost everything they need, they get from a herd of yaks who graze on the wide expanse of grassy hills within sight of the distant peaks of the Himalayas. Last fall, Stephanie Guyer-Stevens went to Kham and met a family of nomads and their yaks. She heard about the spirits that protect the holy mountains, and learned about some yak economics. Families now send their kids away to school, and there is increasing pressure for them to join the modern economy. The nomadic life is gradually fading away.
Radio producers Stephanie Guyer-Stevens and Lu Olkowski are covering the election in Burma from the vantage point of several Karen women in Thailand, who are anxiously awaiting election results in their home country. Guyer-Stevens has reported from the Thai/Burma before; her Outer Voices story Kawthoolei, demystifies the complicated history of Burma’s ethnic groups, while focusing on Karen women activists working for non-violent solutions. Olkowski is producer of Women of Troy and other radio stories that have been heard on All Things Considered, Day to Day, Radiolab, Studio 360, This American Life and Weekend America.
The doubling of the price of rice in Asia has given rise to what some have coined “the Asian Food Crisis.” While some economists feel that this is a temporary price hike, others see that the devastation from the recent cyclone in the central rice growing region of Burma can only exacerbate this condition, however temporary.
War decimated the landscape of Vietnam. The drastic economic times that followed drove Vietnam into the globalizing economy at lightning speed — and the country soon became the second largest exporter of rice in the world. After the war, Vietnam catapulted into the global marketplace, fast becoming the second largest producer of rice in the world. But the price of this rice is still being calculated: one out of every seven people in Vietnam goes hungry, for lack of rice, and farmers are spending more on chemical fertilizer than they are earning in profits.