The past few days have been life changing, in a very good way. My eyes have been opened to so many new concepts and I have met so many new people. I can’t help but to say, I love Thailand. They don’t call it the land of smiles for no reason.
Despite the challenges of traveling alone, I have been taken care of during every step of the way by one or many kind souls who made it possible for me to continue doing this work. I arrived in Mae Sot at 4:20 am and Thant Zin (director of Heavenly Home Orphanage) came to retrieve me from the bus station.
After driving around to 2 or 3 hotels which were full I found myself at the Pornthep Hotel. No pun intended 🙂 The place wasn’t the worst, but certainly not the best, so I moved to a more stable location where I could stay without problems for the month. Since then, life has become more simple and manageable. No more being on the road! On Saturday Thant Zin and his wife Lily (who strongly resembles Aung San Suu Kyi) went to a hot springs about 7km outside Mae Sot with 13 of the children. We stopped at a gas station and met a few cows 🙂 The hot springs are so hot, you can literally boil eggs inside! And that’s exactly what we did. A cool stream nearby provided a great place for the kids to play. After a few fun (but tiring) hours, we returned to the orphanage to take pictures that will be used for promotion of the orphanage.
The main donor for Heavenly Home and Loving Care Secondary School is a guy named Jose from Singapore. His help has made a drastic difference in the lives of so many of the students, and has made it significantly more easy for Thant and his wife to care for all 69 (!!) of the children they take care of!
I spent a little time with some of the older girls, just trying to get a sense of their level in school, particularly in English. Though Thai schools are the best option for many Burmese students, there is still a lot of uncertainty related to schooling because of the different systems and the fact that getting a GED to go to a university is reserved to only a few really highly advanced students. Lenka, a teacher at Loving Care, was telling me today that most students hope to become teachers themselves, but the salary is very small compared to working in a factory in Bangkok or even at a gas station, making it more difficult to incentivize higher learning. Today was my first day teaching at Loving Care school! It was a lot of fun! Especially with class being occasionally interrupted by the puppies and chickens running around. I started the day with Biology, and grade 12 learned about the reproductive system and puberty. These students are the oldest and had the best mastery of English so it will be interesting to see how well this lesson is received with the lower grade tomorrow. Afterward I taught grade 11 a dance called Lamban from Senegal. We didn’t have any traditional music, so I used “Oyi” by Flavour but it seemed to work just as well! They loved dancing, and they especially loved afterward when we made a circle and everyone got to dance to Gangnam Style. This seems to be a song a lot of the kids are familiar with, even at Heavenly Home so I figured it would be a special treat! It started with just one class, but they enjoyed it so much I will be teaching another grade tomorrow! I’m also going to be teaching advanced algebra, reading, and biology to the two lower levels (10, 11). This will make for a very busy schedules , but the teachersclearly need as much help as they can get, and that’s what I’m here for afterall!