It was a mild but very tasty curry made with potatoes, carrots, onion and tiny chicken drumsticks!
We then went shopping for a few things before coming back and getting ready to go for dinner with the gang (the four of us, Maung Maung Tin, Thant and Big (who looks after the school for us). They love it when Andrew (who has been coming for 10 yrs) comes to town and all their plans revolve around Andrew! There is a great Burmese restaurant nearby, we had to wait awhile but the food was excellent although a bit too hot for my liking.
We walked back to the guest house and we were all to tired to celebrate New Years. However the fireworks continued until 12:30 (they had been popping continuously since 6pm) so I can't say that we got all that much sleep!
Great resolution for New Year's Day to exercise! I knocked on Liz's door as she was going to go to the gym but she was groggy from sleep so Jan and I went for a walk. We walked for about an hour and then stopped to have breakfast before our massages. As the lady that does the massages is Burmese, I thought that it was Burmese massages that we were having but I have since learned that it is Thai. Don't really care what it is, it feels great and who can complain for less than $5 hr!
After our massages, Andrew came back to the Guest House with 3 of the children we knew from Star Flower, a special education school where Big used to work picking up the children from all around and taking them to and from school...it used to take him 2 hours each morning and afternoon.
The smallest of the boys (red tshirt) has AIDs and goes to school 5 days a week so he can get his medication. The tallest of the boys had to scoot around on his bottom when I met him 2 years ago and his fine motor coordination was terrible. Now he is walking around, kicking a ball and can hold a pencil to colour in so well! The third boy (green tshirt) was always into mischief, but is now very well behaved. We played with them for awhile and then took them to lunch.
They were fantastic and ate like there was no tomorrow! While Andrew, Big and Liz took two of the boys home, Jan and I shopped for the third. He had such filthy clothes on. We bought 3 pairs of shorts, a jacket and about 7 shirts, all for less than $75. We then took him back to shower before we took him home.
Such a sad situation, Mum works and is never home so he is looked after by relatives.
We then stopped at an orphanage that we help a little. In April Andrew and Jan bought some fans for the babies room alas well as baby formula. This time they have asked for a couple adult bikes so we will see what we can do.
There are about 80 children if you count those that attend the daycare. 20 of the children are true orphans with about another 40 that have been given up. Everything is so well organized, the kids know all the routines and follow through, even down to brushing teeth!
Today was Thant's birthday. As with many of the Karen people, they have no birth certificates so they do not know when their birthday is or how old they are so they choose Jan 1 to celebrate their birthday. We went to an American couple's house for dinner with the gang and another American staying at the Guest House.
The home belonged to Susan and Nat who split their year living in Thailand and Nova Scotia. In Thailand they work with Karen refugees teaching them photography to tell their story. In Nova Scotia they belong to a retired group of people who like to dance and they performed in Montreal last year. Julie lives in Michigan and spends 3 months at a time volunteering with the Karen refugees and teaching in schools. What exciting lives these people live!
This morning we took off about 8 to pick up Big and headed North to visit his wife and children. She and Big look after 12 Karen children in a dormitory so they can go to the local Thai school. It was a 2 and a half drive. We stopped outside the refugee camp that we snuck into last time we were here, but now security is much stricter so we didn't try to get in.
Before we got to the dorm, we stopped to look at the Miwaddy River that forms the border of Thailand and Burma. We asked one of the boat drivers if he would take us for a short ride but he said we has to ask Thai police! So permission granted, we took off! Such a beautiful area!
Big's wife made a beautiful lunch for us and all the children sat down to watch us eat lunch! We didn't like that idea, so we gave them the games we brought up for them. They played and coloured in for ages, all so quiet and focussed on what they were doing!