Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Tuesday 13/ Wednesday 14 January 2015

We headed north today, about 2 1/2 hrs, and then crossed the Moie River on a long boat to go into the Karen State of Burma ( no passport control here). We were going to visit the Karen Eduation Department main office. They were training some of the teachers to be trainers to be able to go back to their districts to train other teachers.

The KED supports 1300 schools, 10000 teachers and 140,000 students. No government funding, all done with donations from organisations and individuals!! Very impressive!!!!
It takes most teachers several days to get to the training, walking, by boat or by car and sometimes all three. I just can't imagine our teachers spending a day walking through villages to get to the river and then spending one two or three days travelling on the river by boat for professional development!
They train in a large room. I'm sure our most outback schools are better than this...we don't know how lucky we are. The don't build any better (a) because there is no money and (b) because they never know when the Burmese soldiers are going to come and raid the property, even though there is a cease fire.
(Even at Blah Toh we bought plastic storage containers so that if they have to flee everything is packed ready to go.) I can't imagine living with that thought in the back of your mind all the time.
They made lunch for us but because I had a queasy stomach, I only had rice.
We walked around the area, saw the KNLA (Karen National Liberation Army) headquarters and a beautiful covered bridge that had been built early last year.
It is a lovely area that looks like no one lives anywhere, just jungle and mountains.
Off home, back the way we came, in the longboat! One of the boys carried Jan's bag and set it down.. We were just pulling away from shore when we sighted it on the tree stump so they took us to the other side of the river and went back for it! 
Rested in the afternoon, had more rice for tea and went to bed.
Felt better Wednesday  morning but only had toast for breakfast. 
Jan and I went shopping for a little while, had a bagel for lunch (getting tired of a bland diet)and then  went to Puzzlebox this afternoon.This "school"is run by BoBo who also runs the Burmese cooking school that we went to. It supports and trains students that have done art at the technical college. They have volunteer or paid professional artists that come to teach and they sell whatever they make. They had started with funding but are now self sufficient. Amazing what happens when there is no government payments for anyone.
When we got back to the Baan Thai we had another short budget meeting for Blah Toh and then went to the bank to transfer funds to the school account.
Last night in Mae Sot so we had a celebratory dinner to say goodbye. Met two other Brisbanites who live on the Northside and support villages near where our school is. They were taking 12 toilets down!
After dinner we had a Swenson's ice cream birthday cake for Jan as we will be in Chaing Mai for her birthday.

Both of us sick after dinner so lovely Andrew did a run to find us some Imodium! Worked a treat as neither of us were up through the night!

Thursday morning and we feel great! We packed then had some breakfast; toast and yoghurt for me.
Off to the airport for our flight to Ching Mai via Bangkok. Airfares were the same for the sector between Mae Sot and Bangkok as it was for Bangkok- Chaing Mai return! Also we can fly, have a 2 hr layover in Bangkok and still get to Chaing Mai before the bus would get us there! Bus cost: $8 vs flight $100. Comfort? Fight wins as it would have been  a very slow, slow mountainous journey!
Had to pay $35 for excess baggage as we could come over with 30 kg but can only fly internally with 15kg and 7kg carry on.  Will have to do some serious juggling if we want to shop in Chaing Mai.
Small but very new airplane!

Lovely view from the plane as we are not flying that high!

1 comment:

  1. You sure are having some adventures over there. Hope your tummy bug has gone for good. Take care. The mountains and jungle look fabulous. Reminds me of PNG.