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!