Estelle wrote:

I send you some pics from Maessariang which is the last town on the way to Mae la Oon refugee camp. Salai and I spend all our time between Chiang Mai, Maesariang and Maesot.


The old cinema - now a gas station in Maessariang

Maessariang centre

New year is when we are licensed to throw water at any one, police included from mid morning to sundown.
Evenings are for parties with friends and families. In Chiang Mai this lasts about a week but it's only 2 days in Bangkok. We went to the city moat where all the action happens for 3 solid days, trucks loaded with people, water containers and ice, people on foot filling buckets from the moat, people on motorbikes and us on bicycles! All totally drenched and in a massive traffic jam.

On the side of the road there are some stages organised by businesses to advertise. Dancers jig up and down with blasting music. Most of this is happy and friendly chaos, wishing a total stranger the best for the new year, helping each other washing out the bad of last year. The thing is you can't cleanse your spirit by yourself.

In your last email you asked if there was other schools that Sundorne could help. At the same time, we received a letter from Par Eh who was our intern last year. I made a post about him on the blog.

After the internship, he went back to the camp and looked for work but didn't find any (not much employment prospects in a refugee camp), then he went home to his village. Finally, he has found a job as a teacher in a school run by the Karen education department (they run the schools in refugee camps and conflict zone inside Burma).

The school is inside Burma, about a day or 2 from the border in Wah Meh Deh village ( Papon division, Kalaw Tha area if you can find it on the map. It's not far from Ma Naw Plaw but spellings can be varied). It's a jungle school. A school for kids living in the zone of conflict where there are no schools. He requested us to support him for art supplies so that he could teach art as well at this school.

He made a list of material he needed for one term teach 20 to 30 kids aged between 4 and 12yrs. I think 5000B would cover it, plus a camera (3000) and transportation cost from Chiang Mai to Wah Meh Deh village  ( 1000B). So the total would be 9,000-10,000B. That's around 250 pounds.

Traditional teak house

Spirit House

Children playing with water in the streets

Festive shirts for New Year in the market

Mirrors on buildings to wade off evil spirits

Food stall in the market.

I told him that he would have to follow reporting requirements and document his classes if he wanted financial support which he has agreed to. But we don't have any spare budget so I was wondering if this could be something your students would be interested in supporting. Par Eh is doing teacher training in Maesariang right now and he will go back to the school on the 16th of may. The school year here starts in June.

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