Loads of snow!

Here in Shrewsbury we have had loads of snow, never seen this much in the centre of Shrewsbury before.

It's been really cold here for ages, even large sections of the river are frozen, you can see some ducks standing on the ice whilst others are swimming.

This is the town park called the Quarry, all the foot paths are covered and it's really quiet. It looks really pretty.

All images of Christmas have snow in them, just like these. Will we have a white Christmas?

We would like to wish all our Burmese students in Maesot and Mai La Oo camp a very Happy Christmas.

We're back!

Sorry for the disappearance - we had to be checked over by Blogger for spam but we are all clear!

Missed news:

The raffle raised £655.00 for Sunrise School in total! More news on that when we hear back from Estelle and Salai.

Estelle wants to get videos into the camp for the students to watch, from reading their letters seems they are keen to have any sort of information passed on, again more on this later - and we have been contacted by a school in Scotland who have worked with 'schools' in Maesot, where our Picture Pal students are.

Will aim to get everything on here asap - just happy to be back!

Making Mince pies for Christmas

I'm not quite sure why but it's an English tradition to make mince pies to eat around the Christmas period.
Inside the pastry case is a mixture of vegetable suet mince and dried fruit with some spices, proper mincemeat is made wet by the addition of orange juice or alcohol.

These are then baked in the oven until the pastry is well cooked.

They are baked into small little pies using the baking trays.

At this after school club we have students cooking along side parents.

This is the pastry being rolled out ready to cut into small round circles to fit into the tin.

The smell of home made mince pies cooking reminds everyone of Christmas, they smell really great!

Funding raising receipt

 Our receipt from Sunrise School to show that they received all of the money we sent over from our first fund raising activity.

Our Burmese students have never seen snow so I thought I'd stick on a few more photo's.

Our freezing weather continues, there is thick frost everywhere and the sun is shining, a bizarre mix!

Frost this thick and frozen is really slippery so the playground is closed to students so they don't slip over - most of them are inside in the warm anyway!

You can see here that our breath is visible it's so cold!

The frost is clinging to any where it can, even tiny leaves on the trees.

Letters from Yaung Ni Oo school (Sunrise) students to Sundorne

Ree Eh Paw, vice chairperson of NGSO
            My friends,


How are you? I hope you are will. As for me. I am fine.

I want to tell you about myself and my school. My name is Ree Eh Paw. I'm and 19 years old. I have three sisters and one brother. Now I live in refugee camp. I am a student.

I am so happy to write for you. I want to be friend with you. Try to achieve your dream in good way. My school is Yaung Ni Oo High School. My building built with bamboos. There are six buildings in my school. There is also computer.  There are six computers in my school. We can also learn about computer.

Well, I shall stop my letter here. I keep you always in my prayer and dream .Thanks again and God bless you always.

Ree Eh Paw

Thwet Shee, NGSO Secretary
Section 13
Yaung Ni Oo
Mae La Oo
24. October. 2010
My dear friends

Hello, My friends, How do you do? I hope you are happy and healthy. I'm so well. When we meeting with Salaiyaw Aung,he told us we can be friend with your school. He told us about your school. We are so happy and very pleasant. Because we are friendship with you. Because of SPDC offensives, we left for Mae La Oon refugee camp. SPDC is dictatorship. They are illegal government. We don't like them.

 I live in section 13 . I live in Yaung Ni Oo Basic Education High School. I'm in the eight standard. I like play football. But we don't have a lot of knowledge. But while I am writing this. I am so happy. Because we are really friendly right. We will meet in future.

I do not write English very well.
May God bless every students and every teacher.

Your sincere friend
Thwet Shee

Thaw Eh
Section 13
Yaung Ni Oo
Mae La Oon
Dear my friends
Hello. How are you? I hope you'll very happy. As for me, I am fine.
My name is Thaw Eh. I am 16 years old. I am six standard.

First, I would like to tell little about situation in here. Especially, about Yaung Ni Oo school. We have five subjects in the school. The school made of bamboos. We get chance to learn education very well but not perfect.

We have no practice place and thing to practice. We have onto study in book. Beginning one standard to four standards has to learn with the Karen subject. In one year we have to take exam for three times in Yaung Ni Oo. We set up with students group News Generation Student's Organization (NGSO). We make a sport by playing football one time in one year. We also do fun in Christmas. I heard about your school situation that is good. I was happy to hear about your school. But I think that in not full of about your school. I want you to tell me more about your school situation. I do not write in English. I am sorry about that.

Please, let me stop here.
I look forward hearing about your situation
May God bless you and your family!

From your friend, Thaw Eh

Thin Zaw Tun

25, October, 2010

Dear Friend,
Before I began  my story. I would like to tell you a little about myself. I want to introduce my name. My name is Thin Zaw Tun. I came from Burma. I am 16 years old and born  in 1994. Now I attend six standard and in Yaung Ni Oo school Basic Education High School.

I came from Burma. Before I'm coming here, we lived with my family in a small house in a village and somewhere Karen state. Our village is very small because it is near the enemy that place, and dangerous.  One day the enemy entry to our village. They fire some people and animals. We have not peace. But immediately they left the village. If the army come to our place, they are just like animals. That’s very stupid. I want to kill them everyday then. I think about them. But I know I can't win against them. Who are a good man and bad man. They don't think anything. We need a lot of help to win against them.

After a little time, our family left their small house in the village and went and get an Education  in Thailand for our peace.

With love.Hope to meet you soon..

Thin Zaw Tun 

Thura Hein

Section 13
Yaung Ni Oo
Mae la Oo
24 October, 2010
My Dear Friends,
            Hello, How do you do? I hope you are healthy and happy. As for me, I am fine and happy.
We attended the meeting in the Saturday. When we attended the meeting, Salai Yaw Aung told us our school can be friend with your school. I am very happy. Our life is the same with the bird into the cage and you can tell us about the world. Our school is not better than your school. And then our school is not modern and we are old-times but we are not depressed. We had been growing under the dictatorship and we hate our fate. I decided and I must do to shine the land into the dark.

My family is in the Karen state of Burma. I don't have relatives and I am the only here. I thank you and be friend with you. We don't have a lot of knowledge because there is no a lot of knowledge in the refugee camp. We lived the knowledge less environment and they are not educated. I hope you can help us to know many knowledge.

Well, I shall stop my letter here. I think that the school wants to improve and the environment must be educated. May God bless all of my friends always and your families!

Your sincere friend

Thura Hein

Zaw Mi Paw

Section 13
Yaung Ni Oo
Mae La Oon
26, October, 2010
My dear friend

May God bless you always in your life. Hello, my friend, how are you? I am writing for you. I'm very well. I hope you very well and happy every time.

My name is Zaw Mi Paw. I'm Karen. I am sixteen years old and study grade 8 in Yaung Ni Oo Basic Education High School in Mae La Oo camp. My religion is Christian. We have many students in my school. We have to speak Burmese language in the class. But when we are out of the class we can speak my language we want. Most of the times we speak Burmese language.

 I live in the hospital near the school. Everyday go to school by foot. My favorite subjects are Math, Science and English. I want to go your countries and I want to visit to you and I want to see everyone. I hope you will come to our school.

May god bless you with your family, teacher and students! You are friends always I hope you. I am not good write in English. I am sorry about that.

Please, let me stop here.
Your sincere friend

Zaw Mi Paw

Day Day

Hello My dear friend
How are you? I hope you are well.As for me, I''m fine.

I introduce myself and my village. I am Naw Day Day. I am eight standard in Yaung Ni Oo. I live in the girls' dormitory. Before I came to the refugee camp, I lived in village Karen state, in Burma. Karen state is not a developed area. The name of my village is Lay Thwet Khoe. It is not near the town. My village is very small, however many people live there because my village is beautiful. Many people in our village are farmers. It has a lot of fields and a lot of animals such as cous, elephants, goats, dogs and pigs, etc . .. .But my village is very poor. There is not enough things for everyone. My country's government is very bad of us. So we were very depressed.We don't have enough teach to teach our children and there are no hospital. It is very far from my village. There is no light in my village. My life's not equal your life. My parents are farmers. They are very poor. They have not enough money. I can't go to school. So, I came from refugee camp in Mae La Oo now. I was very happy i attend the regular class. I learn many experiences. So, I'm very proud of myself. I want to be a teacher so, I am trying hard (regularly). One day, my country will have freedom. I'll go back my village. So, however I pray, I ask God may God bless our villages and the people in the world. That's about my life.

            Oh! I forgot it. I invite you to come to my school. Are you happy in your school? I want to visit your school. If you'll visit my school, I'm very happy. I hope you can visit my school. I'm waiting for you to come my school. My letter is so long. Let' me stop here.

            May 'God" bless you and your friend!

            With many wishes your lovely friend.

                        Day Day
            Yaung Ni Oo High School

K Year Paw

Firstly, May God bless you and keep you. I am very excited by getting a chance to write a letter to you. Now I want to tell you about my situation and my school.

My name is Naw K Year Paw. I am 18 years old. I live in Mae La Oo Camp in section 2. I 'm studying in Yaung Ni Oo High School belong to section 13. Now I 'm studying in nine standard. I 'm very happy because I have got good teachers and many good students. We also have NGSO group our school.

Thank you for inviting us and accepting our letter in your school. We hope that if you have a chance. We'll meet at once and have sweet fellowship together in class.

I want to request you pray for our school and pray for our country too.

With love.

Your loving friend                 

Naw K Year Paw

Snow at Sundorne

Winter has arrived at Sundorne School.

We are experiencing some pretty heavy snow.

Snow is water turning to ice and is great fun to play with. We like to have snow ball fights with each other.

A Normal Day at Sunrise School

 Estelle and Studio Xang members visited Sunrise School in Mai La Oo camp and sent back this piece of work  called
'A Normal School Day at Sunrise'

Dear friends from Sundorne,
You might wonder why it is taking us so long to post something for you.  The thing is there is no electricity or internet in our camp. It take a while to get to as well. The thing with a refugee camp, is that we’re not allowed to go out of it so we have to rely on people coming in. We give them our letters, messages and they take it with them. It’s the old style post, before there were any postmen. The good side of t=it is that we don’t need stamps!
This time, Studio Xang came and told us all about the blog and the great activities you’ve been doing over at Sundorne school. Studio Xang come almost every 3 month to do teacher trainings with Yaung Nii Oo teacher, to prepare for the new term of art classes.
But let’s start from the beginning. Studio Xang staff left Chiang Mai on Wednesday by bus. On Thursday morning, they got on a truck at 5am and drove into the mountains for 3 hours. That’s a really quick journey. The same journey can take up to 7 hours in the rainy season. So that’s what it looked like that day:
Winter morning mist

On the way to Mae La Oon

Deep ridges in the road after the rainy season
Meeting a truck coming from Mae La Oon taking refugees to a resettlement center where they will spend a week before leaving for the United States
Yaung Ni Oo School (Sunrise)
We arrived at 8am. After unpacking, having some food and dropping off the art material supplies, Phar Eh, who you’ll meet in the next posting took the camera and went around school to get some pictures to show you.Actually that day was “no uniform day” so teachers and students just wore what they liked. Do you have  a day like that?
 It was after lunch time:
KG taking a nap after lunch

End of napping kids, the teacher has arrived!
Shy students on No uniform day
Grade 1, studious
Group work in history class
At the end of the day, Stdio Xang asked to meet with the New Generation Student Organization (NGSO), our student union.  The Chair person, Vice Chair person, general secretary and assistant secretary came to the meeting. We discussed about the friendship between Sundorne and Yaung Ni Oo. We were pretty impressed by all the activities you’ve been doing over there. We decided to call a meeting the next morning with all the NGSO member to explain about Sundorne and discuss how we could best use the money that we have received for the Christmas dinner. We also wanted to discuss what we could do to communicate with you over in England.

Meeting with NGSO representatives
Meanwhile, the girls dance group were rehearsing the Dawn dance for Karen New Year coming in December.
Karen Dawn dance
The next day, a normal school day 

Yaung Ni Oo school also has boarding sting students. There are a hundreds boarder students in Yaung Ni Oo. Their villages are in side Burma, in the conflict areas where fighting goes on regularly. The closest school is in the refugee camp, and this way families know that their children are safe, even if parents stay in the villages. It can take up to several days for boarding students to go back to their villages in the summer, and sometimes it is not possible because too many soldiers  the way.
Boys dormitory

The dorms are quite tidy. Every one folds their beding when they wake up. That’s because the room is a bed room, a playroom and a study room all at once. The day starts early, especially if you are on cooking duty! Students cook for everyone here so we have teams that take in turn each day to cook while others have time to smarten up and put Thanaka on.

Thanaka is a paste made from the bark of the Thanaka tree. People in bruma wear Thanaka on there face and body since there are little. It is a good sunscreen, cooling, generally protects the skins and helps with the occasional spots, it smell great and we make lots of designs with it. Elegant girls use leaves to print Thanaka on their cheecks and it is very delicate and beautiful. Boys are a bit less fancy!

Phar Eh arrived a bit late to take photos, by 5.30am, all that was left too cook was the soup for breakfast!
Today is a normal day at school so we wear our uniform. A white shirt and gren longyi. A longi is tube of fabric that we wear wrapped around the waist. Boys and girls wear the same but they tye it differently. Boys knot it at the front while girls fold it to the sides. Green and white  represent the purity and honesty of students.
Meeting between Studio Xang and all NGSO students at 7.30am
KG classroom

Grade 5 reciting
Grade 6

Grade 7

Grade 7; Saw Thwet Shee at the front (NGSO Secretary and Studio Xang volunteer art teacher)

Grade 6, the girls' side
Grade 6, the boys' side

Grade 9, getting serious
Teacher taking register

Grade 4
Grade 3

Teacher Naw Mu starting a Karen language lesson

We not only cook our own food but we grow it too! We also take in turns in the garden.

After a full day, time for a shower back at the Boys' dormitory

At Home
For students whose families live in the camp with them, this is the kind of house they would live in. All bamboo and all made by hand. 

Aring the blankets after the rainy season

Roselle bush
Roselle flowers make a great drink, bright red and 
roselle leaves and deliciously sour cooked in a stir fry with bamboo

Cooking dinner:
All the cooking and washing up are done in this small area by which one enters the house. Water is kept in the jars and filled everyday.  

To make a fire, U Than Htun is cutting up resinous wood to light the charcoal.
Then he cleaned the cat fish , used ash to scape of the fish scales and cooked us a yummi curry. The first thing to be cooked in the morning is water; after a good boil it is kept in a big flsk to keep in hot. Another flask is for making tea. Rice is cooked in the morning and for the whole day. Curries are cooked in the morning and in the evening. Lunch is the left over from morning breakfast. Breakfast here is just another meal.
We'll post more news from Sunrise school soon! Enjoy the snow....We have never seen snow!

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