Our efforts on the lake are off to a promising start. We originally intended to just meet the village chief of Lonsant in the northeastern corner of the lake to learn more about how they are producing sustainable trashcans made from bamboo and used fishing nets. The design was inspired by the fishing traps that they have been using for generations.
We were escorted by local forest rangers and were surprised to meet not only the head of Lonsant, but also the chiefs and high ranking officials of three other villages. We later found out that they were already aware of our project and ready to start implementing ideas.
Our initial goal was to find trash cans that could be placed at the two main tourists sites, Shwe Myintzu Pagoda and the Bamboo Buddha, as well as the elementary and secondary school in Lone Ton Village. The main concern was ensuring that somebody could regularly come around for waste pickup.
After a brief discussion among us all, we were ready to purchase some trashcans. We came to an agreement that if we bought trashcans and made signs for two neighboring villages then Lonsant would provide pickup for not only our original sites, but also the two villages. With everybody satisfied, we shook hands and made plans to meet again a few weeks later and see how things progressed.