Things you see at the Mae Sot market!
27.01.2008 - 03.02.2008 30 °C
The Internet access at our hotel is a bit out of our league ($3/hour)...way too much! so we've waited until we can find a cheaper one to update everyone on our trip!
We are in Mae Sot and everytime we get farther away from touristy spots we see more live animals in the markets!! It really is amazing...i have even gotten used to seeing dead chickens and pig heads everywhere!
We are volunteering with Dave and his Global Neighours crew in Mae Sot - a border town between Thailand and Burma. This town is interesting because it really is a hub for Burmese, Karen and other ethnic people from Burma. They leave Burma as illegal migrants and as refugees. Dave is a great leader...he has been coming to Mae Sot to help build schools and bring supplies for the last several years. He brings volunteers to help build schools, desks, teach and deliver supplies. Ted and I joined up with 11 other people in Chiang Mai and we travelled to Mae Sot on Sunday Jan. 27th. It has been an eye-opening experience that has really been hard and fun all at the same time. We have been working in many different places - Hsa Thoo Lei Orphanage and other schools around Mae Sot. The children are very impoverished and many times are not with their families because of the situation when they had to leave. Burmese and Karen people are very positive and have been very welcoming to us. When we arrived on Sunday we got to work building a puppet show stand for our teaching lessons. We have split into 3 groups (teaching, building desks and building a new school at Thoo mwe khee - a school very close to the border - where there has been recent fighting). I have been teaching (i escaped from Crafts and helped to run Games! - "What Time is it Mr. Wolf?" is hilarious in Karen!). Ted has been mostly building desks in Mae Sot. We both got to help out in the other areas for a bit which was fun - Ted was really tired of sanding! The teaching and work was cut short on Tuesday as it was World Children's Day... over 2000 children came on bikes, trucks and any way possible to Hsa Thoo Lei for an amazing day of partys and games. We helped out where possible giving out fruit and playing with the kids.
My favourite day so far was playing games with the little kids (3-11) at Good Morning School....they were so sweet and they have an Aussie English teacher there right now so they are really picking up English!
We have also delivered food, clothes and medical supplies. Unfortunately we just didn't have enough so many times we had to turn people away. The places we have been have been very sad, yet the people have been so kind and welcoming.
We have several amazing translators working with us (they can speak 4-7 languages). They are really fun and all have very interesting stories of leaving Burma...many of them are not easily able to return.
We visited Mae La Refugee Camp yesterday - it was like watching a National Geographic special. Many people have lived there for years waitng to get out. Ted and I arrived last night (after he got to drive the truck - a huge thrill!) and picked up some bikes! We are excited to be able to be a bit independent and get around Mae Sot on our own. We hope to hook up with Hong Sar (the Administrar of Hsa Thoo Lei) for a beer later.
Ted and I are trying desperately to learn more Thai, Burmese and Karen but it is really hard as we don't know who speaks what...we have learned "sit down, stand up" and "lign up" in Karen - important as teachers! We are building up our cheat sheet of more words everyday!
We will try and send pictures tomorrow...and Ted will tell his side of the story! we would love to send some video of "What Time is it Mr. Wolf?" as i forgot to tell the kids that when the Wolf chases them they don't need to run home!! They were so cute....20 kids running away from me!
We are really sorry that it is so cold there....we are blowing some heat there as we speak!