Things just get better and better

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When I first started teaching English in the Compassion child development program a few months ago, we met in this little bamboo building. When I say bamboo, I’m not kidding—the floors, walls and house posts were all made of bamboo. Not the roof, though. That was made of leaves.

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The little bamboo structure served its purpose well.

English was taught.

Fun was had.

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It had its problems however.

The roof leaked when it rained and there were big holes in the floor, so we had to be careful where we stepped and try not to drop things on the floor which would end up on the ground. And of course, any activity involving jumping was out of the question.

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So I was happy when after absolutely zero complaining on my part, it was decided to move the Saturday classes into a nice wooden house in the village until they can build a new building for the program.

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Have you ever thought of a solid floor under your feet as a luxury?

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English is still taught.

Fun is still had.

Change is good.

Things just get better and better.

Cause and Effect

Umphang Road 1A few months ago we drove from Mae Sot to Umphang, a trip of  165 kilometers. It’s a beautiful drive through the mountains and valleys, around switchbacks and bends in the road too numerous to count. The photo above is from that trip and below is another one.

Oh, excuse me–did I say “too numerous to count”? Actually someone did count the bends in the road and the grand total is 1,219!

This oversize milepost says “Umphang 1219 Curves”.

I got the T shirt.

It came as no surprise to me to find this handwritten sign by the mirrors in the ladies room at one of the rest stops between Mae Sot and Umphang.

It says, “It is forbidden to throw up in the sinks.”

Flexibility is my middle name

Compassion Project Te Roh Kee, Tak Province, Thailand

If you’re going to teach English in another country, you can do without a lot of things. Electricity for example, or textbooks, or chairs. One thing that is indispensable though, is flexibility.

This morning I started teaching English to children in a Karen village in  an education program for kids sponsored by Compassion, International. The Compassion program is run by one of our local churches. I wasn’t expecting much in terms of facilities, and wasn’t sure how many kids would be there, so I made my lesson plan with a lot of options built in.

It’s a good thing I did, because when I got there, there were over 40 kids stuffed into a small one-room bamboo structure built in the traditional style with a leaf roof, bamboo walls, and a floor also made of split bamboo. Whenever I dropped anything on the floor, it invariably fell through the gaps in the slats and onto the ground whereupon the program director kindly fetched it for me. Embarrassing.

I had to scrap one of the songs I was going to use since the floor probably would not have been able to survive  40 + kids jumping up and down. Next week I can modify the song and we can sing 1,2,3,4,5–Clap! instead of 1,2,3,4,5–Jump!

See the holes in the floor?

So proud of their work!

I might have better control over my class if I would put the camera away.

These kids are a hoot!

Aren’t you just a little bit jealous that I get to do this?