The money got there! News from Sunrise School

Received this e mail from Estelle after her visit to Sunrise School in Mai La Oo camp.

Estelle took the money we raised from the Long Myud Hike and handed it over to the headmaster.

Have a read, it's amazing to think we really are helping these students, even in a small way!

Dear Gillie,

I have a lot to tell you and many photos to send you.
I have just arrived back in Mae Sariang from MLO refugee camp. I will take the bus to Chiang Mai this afternoon.
While I was in the camp, I talked with the NGSO (student association at Yaung Nii Oo school).
 I explained every activities that you are doing, showed the blog and discussed how to best use the money you raised for the Christmas dinner.
 First of all, the students are very happy to start a friendship with Sundorne students. They would like to get pictures of Sundorne school and activities to make a wall display for all students to see. They have prepared some photos already and wrote some letters which I will send you.

When we discussed the Christmas dinner, they asked if they could use it for food on other days. They said they eat 2 meals per day. They have meat/fish twice a week but the other days they only have rice, fish paste and green vegetables.
They would like to use some of the money to supplement their regular fish paste/vegetables with something else. Fish paste is a kind of salty dip or sauce made with fermented fish, water and chili. You put it on the rice to make it tasty. The vegetables are steamed or uncooked and they can be dipped in the sauce or eaten along with the rice. It is tasty and meals would not be complete without it, however by itself, it is not enough.
I can't imagine eating this breakfast lunch and dinner 5 days a week. So I told the students that they could decide how to use the money as long as they made a budget to manage it. I suggested they then propose the budget to the head master. I encouraged them to take responsibility for their schools, even if it is in a small way.

I explained about the Christmas boxes and suggested students think about something light to send back. They asked if instead of postcard they could send traditional presents, to which I agreed. I explained that it is important to try to communicate as much as possible with Sundorne and that Studio Xang can help liaising. Getting info in and out of the camp is not easy and takes time!

Then I talked to the Headmaster. Originally I wanted to talk to him first then the students but he got a bout of malaria when we arrived so I could only talk to him yesterday.

So I explained everything again. Salai had already talked to him and the teachers and they have decided that they want to give the students a good Christmas this year because they couldn't do anything last year.
 They have made a Christmas working group with teachers. I suggested NGSO student representative be included in the working group. Their plans for the Christmas festival is a sport competition (football for Girls/Boys, volley ball-G/B, badminton-G/B, Takrow-B,and Toh Si Toe G). I will search for pics of these last 2 games so you get an idea.
They want to have a good meal and a stage show with songs and dances. Oh and also Christ,as carols which are very big in the Karen christian community. The festival is planned for the 23 and 24th of dec. It sounds great.

Then I told one NGSO student everything I discussed with headmaster. He's the NGSO general secretary and one of my volunteers and a confident kid.

So I want to send you all the pics and letters and receipts. I'll send you statements of your deposit and the receipts after deposit in the school account.

Now the bad news is that on Wednesday night our Maesot office got burglared and they stole all our IT equipment. 2 computers, printer-scanner, camera and the guitar. Half of this we had just bought for Picture Pal! Its a big set back. No hope in getting the stuff back, it's all crossed the border by now. And no insurance. All our information is gone. We have to look for a new office. So it will be a little while before we can send more picture pal work. I will go there on the 2nd of December and will keep you posted.

Best Wishes Estelle
Lots of information here to consider.

I will load up the images as soon as I get them.
We are trying to get registered to send Christmas boxes but I do not know if we are going to make it in time.
And what to do to about the Picture Pal project ? - any one got any old digital camera or lap top we can send over to replace the ones that have been pinched?
We won't be able to communicate with our students in Maesot till this gets sorted out.

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