Thursday, 10 January 2013

Thursday Jan 10

This morning on the way to breakfast we saw some men putting up a loud speaker..have a look at the wiring...pretty scary!! Much of their advertising is done by loud speaker. At 7:30am, Sunday morning the truck with the loud speaker was driving all around the village to inform everyone that their would be a community meeting later in the day. Can't tell you what else they advertise as it is all in Thai!
Today we visited the Maela Refugee Camp about an hour outside of Mae Sot. 60,000 refugees from Burma. Interesting that it is never called Myanmar here, only Burma. Even though they live in a camp and most have no hope of getting out, they are happy as they have shelter, food and they know that they are safe and don't have to worry about being killed in their village in Burma.
There are 100 students in the special school here, but the were having a professional development day today, working with older deaf students and teachers of the deaf...complete with data projectors and computers so we didn't see any of the children. We did visit one family who was having a home visit from the teacher..they visit all the children's homes twice a week who are too old to go to school but are special needs.
You tend to think that a refugee camp would not have all the latest but we saw several satellite dishes and as the children had three days off for some reason, we saw many of them watching TV in a very large room. Several of the boys were trying to catch fish in the water with bottles and nets. They were having a great time!
We also visited a Nursery school where there were about 200 children on two floors. It was sleep time when we got there and they were all laying down, many of them had already fallen asleep. In the camp they are given rice, oil, fish paste and charcoal. Many we saw were working; sewing using sewing machines, running food shops, splitting bamboo for floors, sharpening saws, cutting hair and building rooms and buildings.
We met one girl who spoke excellent English who was waiting to come to Melbourne. She has her papers but they were waiting on her husband and he had just gotten his. His family lives in Melbourne and they hope to be there in a few months. They have been in the camp for five years.
We had a bit of a fright when we went to leave as there was a guard standing near the place in the barbed wire where we had come in and as Big is Burmese, he wanted to make sure the guard was gone so he wouldn't have to answer any questions. The guard had gone so we walked out of the camp to the car and the guard came out to talk to Big but only to say that he should have parked down the street. We were all relieved!

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