Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Not blogged in ages!!

I am off to Mae Hong Son tomorrow, apparently the journey is mental with thousands of twists, turns and huge drops. I am going with Say Heh for her Neice's wedding on Saturday. I will blog next week. Wish me luck on my insane 20 hour journey there and back!

x

Friday, 12 November 2010

Change (New Blog)

Monday was a day of change for many people following Burma's sham elections on the 7th of November.
After we found out the news that the school was temporarily closed, students began to get sent home. But the road to the border was blocked by Thai police, therefore P Say Heh's boarder students could not return to their home as it is on the road to the border. A teacher said that they would be waiting until they heard news that they could go back. He said that it would be good if we could tell a story or something to take their minds off the situation.

So I cycled to the Nursery where all the teachers were sitting together, one of the teachers was crying. I asked what was wrong she said got a CD player and took the younger kids (KG - Grade 6) to sing Fischy music songs. Afterwards, I went to the school office and many people were on the internet looking at news webpages and videos of the fighting. I blogged and emailed a little bit then went home.

At night I was going to have dinner with GA but he came with his friend instead and said that we should go and help at the temporary camp. They had already been and were hungry so they ate a little then we went by motorcycle. The temporary camp is only a 10 minute walk from where I live.

The was a beautiful sunset over Mae Sot. But fear was instilled in the 30,000 refugees who had crossed the border that day. As night fell, they were frightened the clashes between DKBA and SPDC would only get worse.








This is the motorcycle journey up the highway, you can see many refugees walking towards the temporary camp.

video

We went inside and I have never seen anything like it before. Thousands of people sitting down in this huge field (the Thai military base). Whole families sitting on pieces of cardboard, in a little amount of clothing. I saw many heavily pregnant women, single mothers with children and newborn babies, little kids running about without parents. The only slight comparison I could make is to a huge festival but everybody is cold, hungry and scared.




video
There were maybe 100 tents set up and families were inside..



A pregnant woman walking through the crowds of people.


















We asked the Thai authorities if there was anything we could do to help. They said we could move a load of water from one site to another so we started doing that.
This is the red cross water area.








While we were moving the water, the Thai authorities were setting up shelter tents.
When we finished with that the Thai authorities told us just to wait and see if there was anything else we could help with.
We started talking to a family of a mother and three young children. GA gave his shirt to the mother for the baby because he would get so cold in the night time.
This is one of the lady's children. Loved the camera!
























GA got talking to some monks and took them to his house for shelter and food for the night.

While they were away I walked around the camp and saw that they had a medical tent set up. People were gathering round for treatment.
A Thai-Burmese translator.



































I'm not sure why this photo is half orange, very frustrating. The Thai authorities were fantastic and so helpful.



















They had an area set up to queue for food. There was a man on top of a car making announcements in Burmese..
























People waiting in the area for food.
























These videos are in the food area. People were being told to sit down and stop pushing in the line by the Thai authorities.

video


video

video

I was sitting beside two women, one had an adorable baby who laughed whenever I spoke to him. Very cute. The second woman said she was a teacher in Myawaddy and her husband and children were inside the camp. I asked the woman with the baby if she was going to get food (as she was waiting in the area to get food) and she said that she couldn't go and stand in line for food because people were crushing every time the line moved up and her baby would start crying. Nobody else was there to take care of her baby while she queued for food.

Then I saw a tv crew behind me and they were interviewing the Mae Sot district officer. Also the man who I had to apologise to last year when I got taken away by the police from Hle Bee school!

video

I went home a bit later.

It was such an intense day and night and it's sad to see that things are becoming worse for the people who are still in Mae Sot.

Louise x

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Terror in the Night

War is breaking out on the border....and Louise alarmed the Burmese teacher she called at 3am to come and help her on Wednesday night. He rushed up the road to rescue Louise, wondering what could be so bad. I'll let Louise tell the rest! (Mum)














(Comment from the Burmese teacher....
Last night Louise catch mouse. she get it . But she so afraid of it and she call me to take out at 3;00 am. i think what happen with Louise i worried so much. When i heard about the happening. i want to laugh so much. So it is funny for us . On the other way i can understand her because i think she haven't experience about it. When i look at her, i see she was very scared. after i take out the mouse, i give back the plate to her. She didn't need it . she said " i'm so afraid............................'

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

More clashes between Burmese army and DKBA splinter groups in different areas..

"The clashes in Three Pagodas Pass have almost paralleled fighting that broke out yesterday morning in Myawaddy, Karen State between junta forces and DKBA units led by Bo Kyaw Thet from Brigade 5 led by Bo Moustache."

http://www.mizzima.com/news/inside-burma/4561-junta-bombards-dkba-in-three-pagodas-pass.html?sms_ss=facebook&at_xt=4cda45d42cd4ecc4%2C0

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Change

Yesterday was a day of change for many people following Burma's sham elections on the 7th of November.

After we found out the news that the school was temporarily closed, students began to get sent home. But the road to the border was blocked by Thai police, therefore P Say Heh's boarder students could not return to their home as it is on the road to the border. A teacher said that they would be waiting until they heard news that they could go back. He said that it would be good if we could tell a story or something to take their minds off the situation.

So I cycled to the Nursery where all the teachers were sitting together, one of the teachers was crying. I asked what was wrong she said got a CD player and took the younger kids (KG - Grade 6) to sing Fischy music songs. Afterwards, I went to the school office and many people were on the internet looking at news webpages and videos of the fighting. I blogged and emailed a little bit then went home.

At night I was going to have dinner with GA but he came with his friend instead and said that we should go and help at the temporary camp. They had already been and were hungry so they ate a little then we went by motorcycle. The temporary camp is only a 10 minute walk from where I live.



Sorry, no time to post, I will post the rest tomorrow!




Louise x


Mae Tao Clinic Emergency Funding Appeal

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCL_cXyf3yI

Monday, 8 November 2010

Youtube links of today's fighting!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DldwAri_7yc&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwSyVXFa_5E

Snippet

http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=20005

Read this article for information about today.

My internet is running really slow so I can't post about the rest of my day tonight but I will post a blog tomorrow.

Tonight I tried to help out at one of the temporary camps for people who have fleed from Myawaddy town. Just moving some water around and talking to the people there. Most who are hungry and tired.

The Thai government have been amazing in this emergency situation though and credit goes to them for their effort in taking care of the 15,000 people who are inside the Thai military base.

I am fine by the way, it's just been an exhausting day and very upsetting. I don't think there will be more attacks inside Thailand. I do not feel threatened where I am. Keep your eyes on the situation.

Louise x

The news I've heard

Burmese Police and army in Myawaddy.


Hearing so many different things. The latest I've heard is that two people died this morning near the 'Friendshp Bridge' when an explosive hit them near their car.


10 others are injured and have been sent to the Mae Sot hospital.

Louise

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Another link to Bangkok Post.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews/205332/clashes-in-burma-hit-mae-sot?awesm=fbshare.me_AWamk

Scary and confusing morning.

http://www.dvb.no/news/fighting-erupts-in-border-town/12689

Today the Thai authorities asked all the Burmese schools close to the border (including CDC) to close. There was also a Thai school (opposite Say Heh's boarding house) that closed too.

This morning, fighting broke out in Myawaddy town (border town to Mae Sot, Thailand) between SPDC and DKBA, one explosive was shot over to the Thai side and injured a woman. The injured people in Thailand have been sent to the Mae Sot Hospital.

CDC foreigner volunteers (including me) were told this by a CDC teacher and also by Dr Cynthia Maung. When I asked Dr Cynthia about the boarding houses and she said that some were being moved temporarily. Say Heh's was going to be one of them because it's closest to the border, but Say Heh's boarding house cannot be moved because the Thai police are 'blocking it'. I think Thai police have been sent to the road leading to the border to wait and see what happens and protect. The Thai police are letting the Burmese come temporarily and are sending them to a Monastery and asking for food and water to be sent there.

I talked to some students and teacher's. One of CDC's high school teachers told me she's lived in Mae sot for 13 years and has never experienced something like this. She is worried for her future and said Thailand is usually a peaceful place for them. Today was scary and confusing, it felt like the school was being evacuated. I'm sure they're just being cautious because it's very serious inside Burma. But surely they have no reason to involve Thailand in this?

Monday, 1 November 2010

Mairi from Campie school.

I am sorry I didn't reply to your comments. I only just went back to check if there were any comments posted that I didn't already see. That is amazing that you are doing to much for CDC school. I know the kids at CDC will be so grateful for everything you are doing!

If you write a letter to a student at CDC telling them about your daily life and draw some pictures that would be fantastic. Give it to Ms Laing and she can send it to me soon. I'll pick a really special friend for you, I know so many lovely girls at CDC. I will send it back to my mum and she can give your friend's letter to you.

Thank you Mairi for doing so many lovely things for the students at CDC school. There is a wonderful Burmese teacher coming to visit your school very soon, maybe she'll teach you some Burmese language!

Louise x

Telling you about CDC-Campie school partnership because a teacher from CDC is coming to Scotland on Sunday!

My Mum's school has a link with the school I'm working at called CDC. Their partnership is under Global Schools Partnerships which is funded by UK government. It's an exchange of projects and teachers. Burmese couldn't easily get visas for the UK before but since Tories/Lib Dems are in goverment it's nearly impossible for Burmese to get visas. But some Burmese who have lived in Thailand for a long time or were born here get registered as Thai (if they can pay enough bribe money).

CDC has a Daycare for 1-2 years, Nursery for 3-5 years, Kindergarten for 4-7 years, Primary school for Grade 1-6, High School for Grade 7-12.
The all have different head teachers. The head teacher of CDC Primary and KG (P Say Heh) has a Thai passport so she applied for a UK visa to be one of the exchange teachers.

She applied with a group of her and two other teachers who have Burmese passports and they all got denied for various reasons. Then the CDC teacher applied again with a group of other people (some Thai passports, some Burmese) but only P Say Heh got her visa approved. She didn't want to travel alone so 3 people from the rest of the group applied again and only 1 other Thai passport holder got a visa.

So this week, on the 6th of November, two teachers - Paw Ray from Sah Htoo Lay school and P Say Heh from CDC are coming to Scotland and will be working in two schools - Forthview and Campie.
Say Heh is lovely and so so kind. She's like an Auntie to me now. She's so nervous about travelling to the UK but she's really excited. She's an older woman and is really shy to speak English. Please all make her feel welcome.

Campie parents are organising a party for the teachers (at the Quayside I think) while they are in Scotland so go along if you want to meet them.

x

P.S.
If you want to send me any Christmas presents you can give them to Say Heh to bring back :)