The past few days have been jam packed with ridiculousness. After realizing the driver who picks me up for school every day is illegal and could get in trouble if he were caught at the checkpoint he must pass to pick me up and drop me of, I decided to tough it out and stay at Love & Care. Though I love spending time with my students, they’re even better when not in class, I have a serious issue with bugs. The room I stayed in had a few spiders but for the most part it was fine.
Unfortunately it was more difficult to convince myself of this when the light went off. So I spent the first night in a paranoid state unable to sleep, but after that my coping skills kicked in and I was able to sleep there for two more nights without too many qualms. The first night I spent talking to a few kids about fake ids and tattoos (apparently sometimes Burmese teens tattoo themselves and their friends with sharp needles and ink at home, yikes). One of my students, David, had on a “YMCMB” hat which I found funny because I doubt he knows what that really means. The second night we watched “The Lady”–a movie about the life of the great Aung San Suu Kyi with grade 11. I’m so glad I got to watch the movie with them because it was a rare opportunity to observe the atrocities committed by the government and see the students’ reactions. It was even more striking because a few students had lost family members to the Burmese military. For the most part they found the movie moving but they laughed a lot. Especially because the actress playing Suu Kyi was Chinese and apparently spoke Burmese in a funny way. They weren’t particularly emotional even during parts where innocent students were being shot in the street, men were taken to the jungle and forced to walk through land mines while the soldiers looked on laughing, and monks were being brutalized despite their clear non-violent stance. Aung San Suu Kyi is my hero. Her sacrifice for her people was unimaginable. She could not even see her husband before his death or attend the ceremony in which she received the Nobel Peace prize. One thing I realized is that Burmese people are gangsta, especially the women. They face the Burmese military at home, the Thai immigration here, the diseases, the poverty, the dogs: and they work until they can’t anymore. When the rains started falling I still saw Burmese men working in the mud building tirelessly. One day in the market I saw women pulling mud out of a ditch with their bare hands after the flood. They’re so tough, even their uncanny ability to keep calm while removing roaches from living spaces with their bare hands. Much respect. Even more respect for everyone having to deal with these dogs…
So yesterday I went to visit my friend India in the hospital. She contracted dengue fever and cannot walk and barely can keep any food down. Fortunately she checked into the hospital before it got too serious but she still has to spend a few more days recovering. Since I work 7-days a week and had been at Love & Care the past few days I wasn’t able to go see her until yesterday when Thant Zin dropped me off. Though the hospital is very close to my guesthouse (just on the other side of the Rim Moei market) my journey back home wasn’t as smooth as I wanted. My Swedish-Sudanese friend Roaa brought food for us and since she has a curfew at the school where she teaches, she made arrangements to stay in a guesthouse for the night. She was staying a little closer than me so I decided we should walk home together and then I’d continue on alone. Not 5 minutes after leaving we ran into the first dog. We turned to go the opposite way down the street and saw 4 more aggressive dogs. We contemplated returning to the hospital but instead decided to call a driver she knew but he wasn’t available when we called. So we tried walking through the market where there were more people and I found a stick. Roaa had a bike but we were too slow when both on it (and we looked ridiculous) so we put our bags on it and made our way. One dog followed us, which was nerve wracking and even walking next to other people didn’t feel safe. Also I had to exchange 1000 baht ($35) for smaller money and I noticed some people who were clearly low-paid migrant workers watching where we were going when they saw all the money. So when we got to her place we decided it was safer for me to stay there, not to mention there was only a double room available so there was an extra bed. It’s amazing to think you can carry a stick and a rock and still be totally defenseless. After being chased by a dog on my bike a few days ago, I wasn’t taking any chances. The manager of her guesthouse said that the best thing to do if chased is remain calm and don’t run. Having a weapon helps but as mentioned above, it’s not always enough as they sometimes travel in packs. Seems so ridiculous to have to even worry about this, but in Mae Sot, the dog situation is real.
This morning I finally returned to my guesthouse where they seemed to be worried about my absence 😦 I feel bad but I didn’t have their number to let them know. I moved back into my small and humble room and while returning my key ran into a Spanish woman who needed help translating to the manager. Turns out she also speaks French so we had an interesting Franish (Spench) experience this morning 🙂
Today I’m cooking Mafé (a Senegalese dish that could be called peanut soup) at Heavenly Home Orphanage since not all of them can come to the dinner/performance Tuesday. Nothing like delicious Senegalese cuisine to brighten up the day!
Hasta bientôt 😉
PS: a few photos
Students from Love and Care performing traditional Karen (Donn) dance
These doors actually do lead to no where
Pork never looked so bad
The first (of three) hairless dogs I saw yesterday lol