For hilltribe people, roads giveth and roads
taketh away. While paved roads have brought mountain communities closer
to the city allowing the influx of technology, education, and improved
medical care, paved roads have also brought the dangers and
exploitation of the city closer to the mountain communities.
Ever-increasing land restrictions force more and more hilltribe people
to abandon the farming as a way of sustaining themselves and the
ever-expanding cities beckon these recent ex-farmers with hints and
promises of paid work.
But what many hilltribe people do not understand
is that like a child riding on his home-made go-kart, the trip downhill
is much easier and faster than the one back up. While almost every
village has someone who has gone to the city and disappeared,
the more common scenario is that villagers do not have the finances or
means to make trips back to their village. The lack of
telecommunications infrastructure in the mountains serves to sever
completely an urban immigrant from his home.
Most tribal villagers are no more prepared for the
speed of city life than this go-kart is for descending a steep paved
road, and, like the go-kart, life has no brakes. Disconnected from his
or her support network, as the wheels of a villager's life come flying
off, he or she is left at the mercy of his or her own momentum. The
prostitution and human trafficking industries are populated by
thousands of tribal people who lost control of their own lives. Even
for the lucky ones who regain control and have an option of returning
to their villages, many do not want to return home out of shame
resulting from the things they have done while living in the city.
Regardless of the personal factors involved, the
indisputable fact is that the rural exodus taking place in today's
tribal communities is damaging tribal society on a village and cultural
level, while not necessarily delivering expected material benefits as