We returned last week from a trek 8 hours north to visit two refugee camps, Mae Ra Ma & Mae La Oon, for nine days. It’s summer break here, so we visited six of the children’s homes Partners supports to have some fun with the kids, practice their English and our Karen, and sing songs.
It left us tired.
I’ve been trying to catch up ever since–on laundry, on cleaning the house, on winning the war against creatures in our home, on emails.
And on air con.
It was hot. Yes, we are in Thailand and it is in fact hot season; however, this was an entirely new level of heat. Imagine the hottest you’ve ever been–I’m thinking of an August run in Arkansas or my half marathon–and then pour a bucket of hot water on your head. That was us all week long. I didn’t know that much sweat could pour out of me or that my shirt could stay that wet. I didn’t know you could pour a relatively cold bucket of water on your head to shower, and still five minutes later be sweating through yet another shirt.
But there were wonderful pieces of our journey, too.
We drove by an elephant. Twice.
We had a visitor one evening who had come from deep inside of Burma. He had never seen white people and wanted to take a photo with us; he’s on the left below.
Both of the camps we visited are built along beautiful rivers and gorgeous. They are harder to get to–think two or three hours of 4WD at about 20 kilometers an hour–and thus much less visited. The kids were so excited to see us, and our hosts are overly thankful and extremely hospitable.
We taught the kids a few English songs, and since they learn them through repetition, we sang the same three songs more times than I could count. We also had a bible story each day and the kids memorized three or four verses. We then split into groups for a few hours, where Stephen taught music theory, I taught “advanced” English, and two other staff members taught basic English and Thai. We ended the days with more singing, snacks, some games, and a collective swim in the river.
We not only sang “This is the Day” more times than I could possibly count, but we took on many other roles. I was invited to teach the cook “how to make white person food” for future visitors. This resulted in three days in the kitchen to make tortillas with beans & salsa, pancakes, and french fries. This was wonderfully fun, and I loved seeing their kitchens, working alongside them, and chopping vegetables while sitting on a bamboo floor. I learned how to cook over a charcoal fire, and survived stronger heat than I mentioned earlier. Imagine the same run, with three or four buckets of steaming water poured on you. In the photo below, please note the pig jaw hanging to the right of the pot and left of the post…
We were also the welcomed guests to a wedding, and were able to help with flower arrangements, provided special music, and walked to the church with the families. Stephen was also the photographer!
Take a few moments to consider the picture above. First, wedding or extravagant birthday party? That is a lot of balloons and streamers.
I’m sure you’ll also notice the four girls wearing veils. It’s obvious the flower girls aren’t getting married, but in case you are wondering, the two in the middle are the bride & groom. The others are the best man & maid of honor. Who’d have thought they’d all look the same?
Also please take note of the clock. That is 7:10AM, ladies and gentlemen, and we’re already seated in the church.
And we’re back.