Friday, August 25, 2006

Snapshots into the life of a "Farang"

I think, I will give you some snapshots of my life here.

Sometimes in the morning I will be awakened by 30ish children singing in the worship room next to my room. They sing at around 5:30 every morning. They sing at least one song.... than I go back to sleep.

Sometimes I help the students with English during the study time. Last night I was helping Htee Ku (Tee Coo) with saying words. She had the hardest time saying, "conscientious." The last syllable was a doozy... "shis"...she kept forgetting the last s... and we kept laughing. It was great. I also taught her the word "doozy" cause this word is a doozy. I love that word,"doozy:)" You haveta say the oo part with a Minnesota accent.:)

At night sometimes I "doctor" the boys. Last night I put ointment on an almost healed wound that Scott had on his foot. I think a soccer wound. And before that I said my good night to the girls.

When I was saying good night one girl, Debbie, told me about a dream she had. She was on the back of a man and they were swimming very fast in the water...he kept her safe. Alot of people were dying around her. Later he became her father. I don't think she recognized this man in her dream.

I almost wonder if that was actually God.... there was a time when she didn't know God, he has kept her safe and now He is her father.

Today and yesterday I worked with one of the girls on her life story. I actually ended up "co-writing" it with her.

It was a sad story. She, Joy, and her sister are orphans. Both of her parents were killed by Burmese soldiers. Her parents, sadly were animist. Joy is now a christian. She is a very special little girl. She actually had polio and was a cripple for a long time. CFI ended up sponsering surgery for her and now she can walk:)

At the end of her story, and I quote her, "God will be my ma and daddy." Special....

I have fun trying to learn Karen from the lady staff. One phrase I have learned, but am still working on the pronunciation is "Na La Gay," which means, Good night. When they were working with me one time, I said, "Na La Key" which basically means , "Good bottom," as in your posterior....they thought that was hilarious:)

These people here at the school, the Karen and Karenni staff and students are very special to me.

Today I did "P.E." with the students. We played Red word these kids are strong. There weren't that many times where people actually broke through! When they said, "Red Rover Red Rover...." the boys were soooo loud....and the students would laugh and squeal as people tried to get through. Some of the girls are squealers when they play games with running. They are so cute!

The girls make me feel good. They are always complimenting me. All Asians over here want to be lighter...they even have "xtra whitening" stuff in their deodarant! Today one of the girls told me as I was working with another student, "You are so cute!" In here own cute girly voice.:)

The other night I was in the guys study room. Htoo Eh Paw wants to learn more English. He is soo expressive and gets excited about things. He's maybe 15. He was the student that was sick when I came here at the beginning.

He wanted to know the word for virbrato. Than, after he learned the meaning, he would act out vibrato as he made his voice "vibrate" by manually making his throat vibrate by jiggling the skin on the front of the neck. (Boy does this feel strange explaining, it'd be easier to SHOW you but I can't) And also some of the other boys would act out the aforementioned word, by also singing sillily.:) These boys are great!

They were also telling me about different things that they eat. I think they eat elephant, mice, rat, snake, dog, some people eat cat... anything basically that they can find, oh yeah people here also eat frogs and eel. Ewww!

Ebenezer, our only guy staff that lives at the school, had some dogs when he was at a camp, or the family did where he stayed and one of the dogs ended up biting. The neighbors, the ones that the dog bothered, asked if they could eat that dog. Ebenezer was upset about this. He didn't give them that dog:) They don't eat their PETS.... well maybe if they had too....

I met a teacher at a boarding school down the road from us in the village. She is Karen, and she is a little petite lady. She is very sweet. Her Karen name means "cold silver." Her title is Pee, which means Grandma:) She whispered to me that she was 79 years old, which was so cute. She has taught at the school and taken care of these Karen kids for 3 years. She is a sweet heart. Alot of her english was excellent, but she didn't speak much:) She is a believer.:)

Well I hope you enjoyed looking at some of my "mental snapshots" with me this evening. Come back again and tune in at this little window into the life of your favorite world traveler! Journey Girl 4 God! (enough of the sap... thanks for listening!)

p.s. Farang means Foreigner!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Marie on a Motorcycle

ThiS has to be really quick. I drove all the way to MAE SOT on the motorcycle today. I was following Tad. YEAH!!!! I'm glad and happy and feel good about it. For me it's like a 30min ish ride. I need to get goin' to go back to the school on the motorcycle... BOy am I cool now!;))

The sick kid is getting better. Love ya'll....keep keepin' in touch.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Big Love

Well I'm here at the principal of the school's house doing e-mail. Ummm....what do I talk about.
Well we have a journalist staying at the school right now who will be doing a/some articles for the org. I'm here with. He's done some traveling around talking to people.

There are 2 of our boys who are sick so pray for them. And pray that none of the other kids will get sick. I have a minor sore throat....

Pray that God's will, will be done for this school. That the right people will be here, that the best will be done for the kids. That this school will lead to what God wants next for the students.

I've been teaching the students Pen and Ink drawing recently. Some are better at it than others. It can get messy too:)

Um, I'm tired and sweaty right now, it's humid here. Sometimes uncomfortably humid. The students adn staff have thinner blood so slight changes in weather can effect them more than it does me. Like some time it was raining and one of the girls put a sweater on, I was still in a short sleeve shirt and something like capris.

I'm thankful for the rain cause it's cooler that way:) But it may be harder for the kids.

One of the things many of the students need is more teaching in ESL.... there is someone coming for the next year who has had training in teaching ESL so I'm glad about that.

I'm getting to know the staff here better. THey let me into their world by gracing me with their English. Karen/Karenni people are touchy people at times. One of the staff, she'll be talking to me and keep touching me on my side.

I don't know if God will lead to any more time here later in the future or not...

I'm planning on coming back sometime at the beginning of OCt to the US.

One sweet thing that happened was one night I gave all the girls, after they were in bed, a kiss, a hug and an I love you (cept for the ones already asleep) know saying Good night to them... and one girl said, that this showed I had Big love for them. That it made her feel encouraged for me to hug and kiss her and tell her I loved her. It made her feel very special. It really blessed me when she told me that. Her telling me I had big love for the kids was humbling.... It's hard to fully convey the meaning of what she said to me. But I have it in my heart.

I was talking to one of the girls that night and she wouldn't get goodnights like I gave from her family. Kinda sad. So I think I'll try to say good night alot, with a hug and a kiss and an I love you....

I've done it like 2 nights already.

I do wonder why I'm here and what good it does. I know loving on the kids is important. Everyone needs love... the ART that I teach them is good, for them to broaden their horizons.

One of the girls ...the big love girl is so hungry for knowledge. She wants me to start teaching her, starting in Genesis. One night I was teaching her stuff that I have learned about the Jewish story. She loved it. I even took notes for her and wrote down some words that she didn't know.

Alot of what I said I believe she understood. She's one of the smartest if not the smartest with English here at the school. I have mentioned her earlier.

The lady staff here... have been introduced to my perfume. They really enjoy it. I have some small vials of free samples I got back in the US, some bath and body works body spray and another small perfume. They got excited about putting some on today. One of the lady staff mentioned being able to smell me ... she could smell the aroma that I left behind, it was a good thing:)

There was a singer coming to the school to teach the kids some songs... I guess the singers are kinda famous, like in Karen/Karenni Burma. The singers are from Rangoon.

If any of you get a chance you should try to come here to THailand to understand the Karen/Karenni people. Many are christians.... in Thialand there are many, many that live in Refugee camps. The do not have their freedom. They are IDPs, Internally Displaced People. Thailand doesn't want them and Burma definately doesn't want them.

They are special people.

I wish I could understand the language so I could understand better what goes on...

Talk to ya later.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Karen Camps

This will be a quickie post. I have to meet up with AMERICANS in 5 mins. A group of americans have been here since THursday, they leave tomorrow:( They were here to see what the Organizations I"m working with is doing in B____ and Thailand.

We went into B_____ the other day. It was fun.... and quite a walk. We ended up riding a long boat across.

Yesterday we went to Mai Lay, a refugee camp the largest in Asia. This camp is where most of our kids come from. It's also where Ebenezer our male staff has lived for 14 years before working at the school for 2.

It's just very differnt how they live! So close together too and they live in huts, it looks like nifty club houses that you'd make for your kid, or kinda like swiss family robinson.... without the furniture...

There were hundreds of houses built on the side of a mountain, surrounded by very lush trees...and we had to walk up the big hill to get to the church service. There was some slippery mud we had to get through...we had like 3 people fall... it's not always easy to walk in. I wore my wonderful rain boots I bought here. They are great for Karen camps!

Pray for me as I get back into the swing of things as the Americans leave and Gods direction and peace as I look toward the future. I don't know how and where GOd is leading through this opportunity.

Gotta run. Thanks for all ya'll's support.

Oh yeah I was glad to see where my kids came from.

Take care:)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

There and Back Again- a girl's tale

Right now I'm in the notorious town of Maesot. Known for drug traffiking, people trafficking... it's gem sellers and it's location so close to Burma. This is the town that I live next to. If I need to go to town this is where I'd go.

The kinda hard thing is that I hardly get into town. It's like 20 mins. from the school. I haven't gotten adept enough yet to drive the motorcycle into Mae Sot yet.

Hmmm, what to write about. I safely arrived back to the school on Wednesday evening.
I took like a 5 hourish bus ride to MaeSot. When I got to Maesot I was dropped off in a wide open alley right in front of the bus station. I was going to picked up at the Bus Station...I wanted to be waiting at a certain spot at the station. But I had 2 big bags and didn't want to drag them over there myself. When I got off the bus there was a guy there with a Rickshaw.... and he wanted to drive me for I thought 2 baht.... so I was in favor of it... but he started packing my stuff into his rick shaw before I gave my definate ok. The seat part ain't too big on the Rick Shaw, he actually hung my back pack off the back of the rickshaw. I felt kinda embarressed, me with my stuff piled high in his baggy... to drive a rickshaw there's like a bicicle attached to the front.

Anyways I thought I had communicated I wanted to go to the bus station which was right near we're so sweetly driving by the bus station...I tap on his back and tell him that's where i want to go. I knew what I was saying he didn't get it....he motioned like he was going to take me around. I thought he'd take me around to a different entrance.... la la la....we go around....but end up at the Green Guest House (that's what it's called.) It definatley wasn't where I wanted to be. So basically I was "kidnapped" by this guy! It wasn't really horrible to be taken there, just kinda frustratingly funny... so the Green Guest House was right behind the Bus Station. But! to get to the bus station I had to cross this not very sturdy man made bridge, that had wired together thin hand rails.... it was narrow, and was made of small logs cut long ways in half and nailed together. The type of bridge you'd see in the jungle possible in the national geographic mag. Anyways my ride comes and we have to carry my BIG bags across this narrow man-made bridge built high above the water. We arrived safely across! It was a memoriable little adventure to finally get back to the school. Goodness! Anything will happen in Thailand!

I finally had Phillip in class, he'd been sick for a long time. COme to find out he's one of the talented ones. Yeah! It's great to find talent. I've had him in Art.

He actually drew a pic for the fun of it of this warrior man and across the top it said something like "I will die for my peoples." I was like WOW! in my mind. I wonder if that's what he wants to be when he grows up, a soldier for his people.

Pray for Ebenezer, our only male staff, he's still sick. Pray against sickness for the kids and staff, one of the girls is working on a cold....

Americans arrive here on Thursday! Yeah! And sometime later some sort of writer will be staying with us for like 3 weeks, ands his first language is English so that will be nice and Jim said he likes to talk!

I don't get internet access don't expect updates everyday:)

Just pray for my day in day out activities. That I'll get enough variety of stuff to do that I don't get bored.... I'm at the school alot. It was really nice of Jim to bring me into town today.

If you ever think of coming here to volunteer try to get another English speaker to come with you. It would really help you.

Tad has had the kids write their life stories out to see what they've been through and what they want to do with what they've learned and if they want to study in the states. I have helped some with editing and it has been reallly interesting to get a bit more of the inside scoop in some of there lives.

I successfully made my first trip into Burma to get my visa stamped. It was very interesting and fun and adverturous.... even though not much happened. I had to walk across this long bridge from Thailand into Myanmar (Burma.) In Burma I had to pay 500 baht for the process and 5 baht for the copy or something. The Burmese men in the office seemed interested in speaking some English with me.

I was Escorted most of the time by a young Burmese man. I think the reason was that he wanted money. I did give him some. To me it wasn't much but to a Burmese I think it was a nice amount. Their economy sucks. Their govenrment is run by a military regime.

One of the beggers I saw probably was a land mine victim. He was sitting on the bridge and I looked down and prayed, "Heavenly Father." because he had a wound that was red because it wasn't healed-he was missing part of his foot.

Walking into Burma and knowing what the governement has down to the people was moving. You just get a burden for the people. It's just not good. There are many people that have been scarred and maimed for life because the military will plant land mines. It also kills it's people!

Man! It's rough. I walked around in Burma for awhile. There was one kid, he told me he was 22, he was beautiful...almond shaped eyes clear complexion, he kept hounding me on his buggy about taking me somewhere. He wanted to get some work transporting get paid. I kept telling him no. And telling him loudly with body language too. I was told not to get any rides any where. I didn't even take my camera in.

Today for breakfast I had rice, we always have rice and this fish in this red sauce. I dumped alot of the red sauce on my rice with the fish... the rice was differnt than what I was used to and in the sauce was all these fish I sat there trying to get most of the fish scales off and didn't get far with that meal, when one of the girls asked me "finished" I was ready to surrender my plate of fish food.

Most of the time I'm ok with the food, even though it is Karen cuisine. But sometimes I don't get far with some of it. I thought I wasn't picky.... I think it's ok that I don't eat everything.

June's been a blessing cause she takes care of me and has fixed me up with some extra food... because lunches often are small....I think soonish that will change though.

Lunch was small this afternoon so I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. In town I'm gonna buy a lassi... like a yougert fruit drink. Very good. After I first had one there would be times I'd think about it.... remember what it tasted like...

So this Thursday the Americans are coming, the kids have done alot of work cleaning to prepare the school for that. They are very good hard workers.

Keep checking never know when I will post:) Sawadee Ka (the Thai greeting, like Shalom is for good morning, evening , that.) Guys would say "Sawadee Kup."

p.s. I have actually read and finished the book the Hobbit for the first time. I actually enjoyed it:)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Yikes the water is everywhere!....

Boy am I tired. It's 11:28 pm Tuesday night. This is Marie reporting live in the crowded city of Chaing Mai...

ok anyways....what did I do today? I spent alot of time at the Central Airport Plaza, this big mall. I watched "The Lady in the Water" movie....for girls I'd say watch was rather interesting. Not as freaky as some of the other M. Night Shalayamain (whatever his name is).

I was able to purchase most of the stuff I had on the list for the kids and staff. Yeah! It will almost be like Christmas when I bring them home all these goodies!

I went to pick up the stuff from the lovely Indian guys, the tailors today. My WORD! I had to drive through a mini river to get there! Their road was flooded. For goodness sakes! They had sand bags lined up in front of their store.... When I got there I had to wade into the water and than find the little boards they had over the gutter so I wouldn't go even deeper in the water.

It was fun...and coming back in a tuk tuk, 3 wheeled thingy it was like being in a motor boat the way the water was splashing up away from the vehicle. CRazy!

Tailors, flooding, and great Massage!

Well this is my last full day in Chaing Mai, by myself being independant! Yesterday I did alot. Traveled around alot.... and I didn't let the city drivers take the better of me as much:) You can ride in a Song Low, Tow Song, Long Sow (whatever they are called!) For 20 baht, about 50 cents.

So I rode those alot yesterday.

God did bless my shopping! I bought alot of clothes for the kids.... one of my best deals was awesome! Bad sentence stucture, haven't eaten this morning, it's almost noon, so my blood sugar's kind low:) anyways I ended up buying alot of shorts from this one vender and told them about the kids and how the kids don't have alot of money, yada yada and they wrote a name down in Thai of a store that sells stuff at wholesale. So I went there and bought alot of boys underware....and a pack of 12 pretty nice t-shirts, for 400 baht, which comes out to about $1 a shirt! That blessed my little heart! The t-shirts are for the boys. There are 2 of the shirts that say "Cheerio!" on them! They are random shirts but colorful and will work good for my boys.

I looked around for a tailor and wasn't liking what I was finding, didn't like the price....didn't like how one guy at a shop treated me.....I ended up taking a long break from tailor hunting and ended up going to this one shop, called Milan. It's run by a couple indians...liked them better! Ha! and I ordered 2 big items. I'll be picking them up today! 24 hour service for tailored clothes, wow! That is awesome.

After I spent alot of time with the Indian brothers (I don't know if they are, but think they might be) I walked across the street to this lovelly tiny little Thai resturant. The host seemed excited to be serving me and another American couple there! He was a sweety...the Thai host.

I got a wanton appetizer a very yummy vanilla milk shake and Chicken Pauta (sp?) was pretty good. I loved the atmoshpere in the little restuarant. There was a high ceiling and warm colored walls and dark wood accents.

Yesterday roads in Chain Mai were in the gutters and certain parts of the road. I went wading through some roads to get from one curb to the other. The water was calf high in some places. Kinda fun but crazy!

Last night I went to the night bazaar...and got a foot/leg massage and a back/head/shoulders/face massage from the same older sweet spirited Thai woman. She's been doing massage for 3 years.

Tomorrow I go back to the school with my goodies for the kids.

I have one purchase I need to make for a girl and am having trouble finding it...pray I can...