From small towns to large cities through out Western Canada, we are Global Students Helping Students. (December 17, 2010)
To Architectural Technology students and to the students at New Light Learning Center age, religion, culture or the language barrier doesn't stop us from learning. Doesn't stop us from Hearing their stories, their needs and
It made us all proud to drive by the old school that was in a store
The children's faces were no longer dull as we handed out clothes,
We are giving the chance for each student their to be a child, to be
VisitIng New Light Learning Center was a reminder to myself and to the
Bradley K. Swayze
SIAST Team (December 14, 2010)
As a child, I never really gave thought as to why someone would want to be a teacher, today I realized how much satisfaction one can get by doing so.
SIAST Team (December 7, 2010)
Today was a great day and one that everyone should experience. We started out by going to the Global Neighbors farm and touring their land. Then we sorted simple things that we take for granted every day into piles to give away at a school in the afternoon. Little things like soap, shampoo, conditioner, towels, utensils, and others were packed into bags for distribution. It’s amazing how they seem like every day normal things for us, but is longed for here. After we finished packing, we went for lunch. After lunch we went back to the farm and I was able to help the farmers harvest their rice while others in my group were sorting clothes for later distribution. After we finished at the farm, we drove out to Ah Yone Oo School. I was fortunate enough to be able to give the students their bags and direct them to my colleagues for them to receive blankets. We had about 95 bags of supplies in total. It was such an amazing feeling and you could tell how grateful some of the parents were. When we gave the students their bags, they were so thankful and excited to see what was inside. It’s a completely indescribable feeling that I had knowing that the littlest things were helping these people so much. Even though there is a language barrier, I felt like we understood each other. A few knew English which was very nice and some even thanked us in English which was a shock to me at first. It is a very pleasing moment that the kids are able to communicate with us. Their teacher is doing very well with teaching them English. Overall, the feeling I got at that school was just that my heart went out to them. It was very rewarding giving the kids and families their bag of supplies and I think everyone should be able to experience this type of situation at least once.
SIAST Students making a difference ! (December 6, 2010)
Today we visited the old and new Hsa Thoo Lei School. The difference was vast. To see the changes Global Neighbors has already made is incredibly inspiring.
We toured around the school, learning a lot about the lifestyle and society these people live in. As I assumed, it was much different to see it all in person and experience it individually than to hear the stories from someone else. Life’s realities always seem to be hidden, like a game of hide-and-seek. If you search, you will find.
The evening was the best part of the day, and I think I speak for the whole group. We followed a group of the students to a garden that they tend to. To see the excitement and nourishment these kids show towards their garden was exhilarating.
We all, Global Students Helping Students, lent a helping hand with watering the plants at some point in the evening. As I stood back and watched the assembly line, mixed with GSHS and Hsa Thoo Lei students, I couldn’t suppress a smile forming on my lips.
This is what life is all about: helping others and watching the pure, unfiltered joy play out across their faces.
November 16, 2010
People of Burma
If you were to ask a displaced person from Burma “How can I help you, is there anything you need?” you would get many different answers.
The child who is dragging their pet dog around in a suitcase would say “do you have a bigger suitcase, my dog is growing”
A weaver would say “Would you like to buy a shoulder bag”
The Principal at the refugee camp would say “do you have photo paper? We print the pictures of the students but the regular paper does not last long.
During rice harvest, the farmer would ask, “Do you have gloves for the children? Their hands blister from cutting the rice all day.
If you were to ask the Monk who showed you the way to a remote village to deliver blankets and food, he might say “You have done enough, today is a very happy day”
A student in grade 12 would say, “I would like to continue my studies, can I go to university” but without a Burmese or Thai citizenship card, they cannot be registered in a Thai University, and without a UN card, they will not be accepted into another country.
Some people might say “Who are you? Where do you come from?”
Others might say “Do you have any extra food?”
Some do not say anything; they just look at you with their hand out, hoping you will pass the blanket or sheet to them.
A Mother or Father might say “Can you take my children” knowing they might not see them again but would know they will have a better future.
But you do not have to ask these questions, you just have to look at their faces and you can see the questions in their eyes.
When they know you are taking their picture, you will see a smile; when they don’t know, you will see happiness, despair, love, hunger, appreciation, and friendship. You will also see patience and hope, because they believe that one day their situation in their country will change and they will be able to go home, but for now they must endure the hardships and reality of today, in a country that accepts them, but does not recognize them.
More News From November 2010 Work team
Burma medical supplies
We loaded medical supplies destined for Burma and were going to rent a truck to haul the medical examining table, but in true Thai style decided to balance the table on top of the load and tie it down. We drove about ½ hour north along the Moei River and stopped at a river crossing where Thai Military were posted, watching the crossing. The medic in charge of the Burma hospital came across in the boat, she is the person waving good bye and smiling on the other side of the truck box. The examining table was quite heavy, the drawers were loaded with supplies. We had our work cut out just carrying it to the boat, after crossing the river; they parked up against another boat and carried it across the other boat and up to the truck. We gave them a big applause. Aside from needing medical supplies, the examining table is a first for them as they are using tables for their patients to lie on. (See the gallery for these pictures)
Pastor Arthur's Orphanage
Pastor Arthur’s Orphanage is located in section B of the Mae La Refugee Camp which is located approximately in the middle of 50,000 people. We maximized the use of the van and truck and filled every possible space, including under the seats. The relief supplies consisted of blankets, clothes, medical supplies, shoes, nursery supplies, and personal care products. We parked in section A near the gate and were met by about 100 people who helped carry everything from the truck and van to Henry’s school which is located at the top of the hill in Section A. Pastor Arthur’s wife Clasper and 132 kids met us at this school and entertained us with their songs. All of the children helped carry the relief supplies to their orphanage, about a 35 minute walk from Henry’s school. They appreciated our help and each and every one personally thanked us for the supplies. (See the gallery for pictures)
Henry’s school is located about 1 hour drive north of Mae Sot at the Mae La Refugee Camp at the top of the hill in Section A. There are 250 students that attend Henry’s school and 138 displaced students reside at the school in dormitories. The school started in 2004, each year as the students advance; they have had to add another grade. This year, 15 students celebrated their grade 12 graduation. The students have excellent English skills and were very appreciative of the school and relief supplies.8 students weave at the school and they have 3 sewing machines for making clothing and blankets out of fabric and sheets. (See gallery for pictures)
November Work Team Keeping Very Busy
The past two days have been nuts. Busy from early till late. There is so much packed into each day, that it is hard to remember all that has gone on.
This is from nov 11th, we went to a small town where North Americans have visited only once before.
On November 11th we loaded up the truck and van with enough blankets, towels, personal health supplies and clothes for 112 families. We drove to the Prahita Buddhist School and picked up a monk who showed us the way to a small farming village. There were fields of roses, and of course rice.
They were very poor, but organized, with a town leader and a small store. The monk sat down and people approached him to talk about their problems. The town leader and translator handed out the relief supplies so we just stood back and took it all in. There were so many babies and small children; everyone had a big smile on their faces when we handed out candy! The monk said “today is a very happy day”
Dave gave a good speech, letting the people know they are no different than people with white skin, and you could see a lot of people nodding their heads, and that we hoped that one day they would be able to return to their homeland and prosper on their own farms.
They appreciated the gifts very much.
Update from November 2010 Work Team
Monday (November 8) started out with a trip to Agape School. Due to unforeseen happenings the trip was cut short.
Monday also started out with a big surprise. The warehouse had been completed and filled with a ship container of supplies. There were so many supplies; we were unable to walk from one end to the other. The men started in on the shelving, and though we now have 490 feet of shelving, we will not have enough to store all the goods.
Steve started on the “super highway”. He first had to work on the water diversion project – that is to say, the culverts.
Tuesday, with our interpreter Gaynay Moo, we ladies went to Shwe Taa Zin School. We took a number of school supplies. We did coloring exercises with the kids, who were extremely well behaved and polite. Then it was back to the warehouse where we packed 30 layettes.
Chuck and Joe were busy putting up the kitchen roof on the farm. Also, Irwin finished up with the shelving. Dave took equipment and supplies to the Thai hospital, and they were very grateful.
Heather, Denise and Lena continued to wade through the supplies, trying to sort and organize them.
Wednesday we were back to the warehouse. Dave negotiated a safe transfer of supplies from Thailand to Burma. We delivered them to the river.
After, back at the warehouse, we packed 161 bags with shoes, blankets, clothing, candles, dehydrated soup and any supplies we thought should be included.
We have four girls and eleven boys staying at the farm. They are from the camp and are attending school in Mae Sot. What a big help they have been with the sorting in the warehouse and the farm work. Eh three was asking about you Luc.
The “super highway” was finished today and the kitchen building almost finished.
We are all played out tonight, but very satisfied we have improved the world today.
(Go to the gallery for pictures)
Here is an article on the recent fighting.
If anyone would like to participate in these projects, it would really be appreciated.
Monday Feb 8, 2010 [16.Mar.2010]
Monday Feb 8, 2010The vans are loaded up once again departing to Thoo Mweh Khee Migrant Learning Centre. We toured the school and grounds and were fortunate to take part in the classrooms. Part of the group spoke to the students about Canada and a little bit about what we do back home. Then the students had the opportunity to ask questions. During the classroom breaks we visited with the students and learned that the majority of the children travelled on foot for miles, crossing the river joining Burma to Thailand to attend school each day. This being their only opportunity to obtain an education. Further back on the property we toured the new hog barn and took a peak at the holes that have been dug to be used as the holding tanks. GNCI plans on extracting the methane gas to use for cooking. One volunteer snatched up a pig for a photo op to share with donors back home.On our way to our next destination, which was a school right next to the landfill, everyone sat quietly, no conversations were had. Most of us were reminiscing over the events from the previous days and preparing for the sights we would witness at the land fill. Everyone took part in unloading the vans and organizing all of the medical supplies, divided the groceries into portions and organized the cloths, hygiene items etc. while the line was growing outside with all the families who lived here in this garbage dump. The recipients ranged from new born babies in their mothers arms to the elderly. Some of which have lived in the land fill for over 10 years. We were all sadly aware that this gesture would only be a staple for a few days, but for many of these people it will be a blessing.
Sunday Feb 7, 2010. [16.Mar.2010]
Sunday Feb 7th, 2010 We attended the Farewell Ceremony at Hsa Thoo Lei this evening. The students greeted us with warm hugs and huge smiles. There was no mistaking that they were as excited to see us as we were to see them. An emotional roller coaster of joy and sadness carried on throughout the evening. There was anxious anticipation in the air as each of us knew we must say good bye that evening. These children spent many hours practicing to perfect their songs and dance for us. They were so proud and had every right to be, as they performed beautifully, putting all their hearts and souls into every movement. We sat listening to their beautiful voices in awe and admired how beautiful each and everyone of them performed. For some of us, this day is truly good bye forever, for others, there will be a whole year until we see these beautiful faces again. The bonds had formed in only a short time, which made this extremely hard to tear ourselves away from them. There will be 7 students graduating this year, which makes us happy for these students accomplishments, but sad that they may not be here next time we come. So many of these students have such great potential , but we all fear for them, will they have the opportunity to explore their great talents? A few will be fortunate enough to have sponsorship to carry on to obtain secondary education. We are so greatful Global Neighbors has provided this opportunity of education as this will be the key to their success. Email addresses have been exchanged so the hope of keeping in contact is real and the thousands of pictures full of memories will be cherished forever. As this work tour flew bye, many of us hope the year between our next visit does the same.
Angels everywhere [ 6.Feb.2010]
Our first stop was to Mae Tao Clinic which provides service to illegal migrants. This clinic was full of patients seeking help with their dental work, eye care, acupuncture, orthopedics, surgery, nursery, obstetrics, gynecology and pharmacy. The clinic will treat anyone who attends and if a major surgery is required they send them to the Mae Sot Hospital and pay for them. We handed out baby layettes and baby blankets to the new mothers and visited the incubators and admired the premature twins that were only days old and tiny as tiny could be. We provided the clinic with lots of medical supplies, which they were very grateful for as the clinic depends greatly on support from outside sources. At Mae La Camp, Henry runs the Htee Moo Draw School and Orphanage. The teachers had prepared a beautiful lunch for us upon our arrival. We once again unloaded our numerous bags from the vans and presented them to Henry and the School Principal. These supplies will make a great difference in their operation. The students preformed song and dance for us which was so amazing it brought chills and goose bumps. We were honored to have the children perform their Bamboo Dance for us and after we presented them with two guitars, with cases and stands. A few goodies were handed out in sort of blankets, puppets and stuffed animals which were received with much gratitude and excitement. We had a very busy day today and were off and running to Pastor Arthurs camp which were waiting eagerly for our arrival. There are 50,000 people living in this camp. The camp was set on a hillside which was very steep to climb with all the supplies on our backs. But it was well worth the sweat as the children's faces lit up when they greeted us. After we presented our gifts, the children sang for us and there was not a dry eye to be seen. They sounded like angels. One little girl came forward and gave us a blessing, which wrenched at all our hearts, as she being only a child is offering us adults consoling. This little girl is living a life that no one should have to live. None of these children will ever see beyond these barbed wire fences of this refugee camp. This will be their prison for life, unless great change takes place in their country. Prior to our departure the women of our group were treated to a pampering of Tanaka, which is a paste made from a tree. This provides sunscreen and decoration. We felt honored to have this special privilege from these beautiful young girls. Nearing sun set, we had to rush off to the Karen Village where we were spending the evening to set up our camp. Once again we were blessed to have 5 young teens join us from Henry's camp for the evening. They brought their guitar and beautiful singing voices and treated us to an evening of music. We also enjoyed a performance from a villager playing a tradition Karen instrument. Only when our eyes were too heavy to stay open any longer, it was time for bed.
The heat is here but the heart keeps us going [ 4.Feb.2010]
Thurs Feb 4, 2010 The entire group headed out to plant 300 trees (mango, oranges, coconut, papaya, lime, Lechie, Pomello and Jackfruit). It was incredibly hot making it hard to manage. A few of us had to return to the vehicles to find shade as the heat was incredibly draining and we were afraid of getting heat stroke . But the rest of the group persevered on to get the job done. While part of the group was busy purchasing supplies to take to the New Light School, Trevor, Tammy and Dave went and purchased the fish from the hatchery. We then delivered them to Global Neighbors farm, released them into the ponds and left them in Henry's care, the farm manager. These fish will be raised there until they can be sold. Our next stop after lunch was the New Light School that we attended just the day before. While there we learned how in dire need these people were for food and supplies. We handed out baby blankets & layettes, clothing and rations of food (rice, cooking oil, garlic, beans, white radishes and oranges) to the families who attend there. These people are very poor and some days have no food to feed their families. We were a welcome sight for all. Then the principal of the New Light School took us to another area which was even poorer than the people we had just assisted. At this site it was very disturbing as the stench was so strong in turned our stomachs. We provided the headman of this area with the supplies to distribute to the 23 families evenly to avoid people being missed. The hunger pains in their stomach is nothing new to these people, they are providing for their families as best they can and more often it still is not enough. We have witnessed sick children who are starving and it make us feel so helpless. Imagine having a starving child of your own, but no matter what, you cannot provide enough food for them. What we have done today is provide a short term solution, what Global Neighbor Canada is providing now, is a long term solution, which is access to education. Education is the key.
As sweet as pie [ 3.Feb.2010]
Wed Feb 3rd . Day 3 Today was another rewarding day. The majority of the work team attended The New Light Muslim School. The women held their crafts, games and songs which were received with great enthusiasm and participation. The men' work team finished installing the partitions and the court yard sun shade. The other men's work team finished their roofing project at Hsa Thoo Lei and laid stakes for tomorrow's tree planting project at the farm. Trevor and Luc toured a very poor Muslim area, gathering footage for the GNCI video. Conditions are horrific , we plan to return tomorrow afternoon with food, clothing & blankets donated by generous supporters of Global Neighbors. On a cheerier note we purchased two guitars, complete with cases and music stands for Henry's school at the refugee camp, and presented the school principal with 4 new soccer balls to Hsa Thoo Lei. Many of the group treated their weary bones to a Thai Massage this evening in preparation for tree planting tomorrow.
Tuesday Feb 2, 2010 - Day 2. [ 2.Feb.2010]
The morning started off early with a 7 am laundry drop and a grocery stop to pick up food for the school we were visiting today. Gwen, Clara, Dawn, Luc and Tammy scramble through the markets trying to fill the grocery list while dodging traffic's pedestrians do not have the right of way. We purchased pork, cooking oil, large radishes, beans and two large bags of oranges. One group (Heather, Clara, Dawn, Linda, Tammy, Lydia, Esther, Gwen, Paw Ray, Trevor, Beiltel and Hong Sar) traveled to Maw Taw Lu School. Paw Ray came along to guide us to the school which was located 45 minutes from Mae Sot. It is settled into a very remote area of rolling hills, just a mile or two from the Burmese border. A 4x4 is recommended as the road is very rough with large treacherous washout areas. Beiltel and Hong Sar came along to help with translating. We delivered the food into the kitchen and found that they were in desperate need of rice so we took a pool and collected money to leave with them to buy rice and other the necessary purchases. We were expecting 40 children today, but to our surprise we ended up with 89. But we are getting good at surprises like this LOL. The children once again enjoyed a day full of games, songs and crafts. Even though the bubble wands didn't make it with us, the children improvised and gathered themselves bamboo to make their own bubble blowers. These homemade bubble blowers ended up being better than the real thing. Looks like the making of some innovative entrepreneurs. We noticed that these children were a lot more reserved than the group the day before. They were very courteous and respectful to each other, but didn't chatter like most children do. Once again, we all fell in love with these beautiful brown eyed children. They were all so eager to participate in each of the activities watching intently for direction, even if they didn't understand our language. The teachers at the school were very helpful in guiding the children in our activities. Trevor was busy collecting footage to share back home. He seemed to see things that us lady's missed completely. He was very touched by the story he received from a young Karen man that had barely escaped Burma with his life. He also came upon a 9 year old boy that had terrible burns to his legs which look in dire need of medical attention. There was discussions about making a return trip to treat the boy's leg and deliver rice , this is a touchy subject as they didn't ask for help and they were using an herbal method of treatment. After returning to town, the girls went on a shopping spree, purchasing school supplies for the New Light School. We also bought soccer balls and ping pong rackets for Hsa Thoo Lei School, at the request of Paw Ray. Back in Mae Sot, Gordon, Dave F and Justin completed the new drying facility roof at Hsa Thoo Lei by noon. Then they moved onto the nursery to put up the structure for the dining hall roof. This hall is a simple open air structure necessary for the monsoon season. Without this facility there is no dry place for the children to eat together. The only break taken by the boys (as this is not unionized position), was to help Mike, Chuck and Jerry move 13 ft partitions for school rooms the New Light School. Chuck, Jerry and Mike finished off building the partitions and transported them to the Muslin school. Then they proceeded to erect a permanent screen to be used as a sun shade in the school courtyard. Rueben and Dave H were busy driving around make arrangements and coordinating the work for the days ahead
Monday February 1, 2010 [ 1.Feb.2010]
Monday Feb 1, 2010 . Day 1 The ladies (Heather, Dawn, Tammy, Linda, Clara, Ester, Lydia, Gwen), plus Trevor (camera man) headed to Agape Hill view Education Centre. Global Neighbors built this assembly hall this past November. When we arrived the children were all in the assembly hall anticipating our arrival. They began to sing for us with all their hearts and souls. Their voices rang out loud and clear, as to let us know they were excited and happy to see us. We proceeded with the crafts making Valentine cards, playing games of bubble blowing, hot potato, balloon toss, and taught the kids a few songs with actions. In a corner of the court yard the puppets that W J Berezowsky and East Central School Students sewed for the children were being handed out. Back home the students put such care and affection into these puppets, it was touching to see how precious each child held these new toys. Their smiles were from ear to ear. We had anticipated 40 children, which ended up being over 100. We gave out 55 puppets and 36 knit dolls, many toy horses and dinosaurs were also handed out. The atmosphere was full of energy, squeals of joy and lots of affection. Dave, the fellow in charge of Agape school, insisted on preparing our work team lunch. We were served a rice dish, delicious Indian curry chicken and a tomato salad. Dessert was a crispy fish and rice cake treat. Once the teaching group arrived back at the hotel we gathered in a huge hall to unload and sort all of the supplies over 800 lbs. (The items included medical supplies, school supplies, clothing, hygiene items and toys. It took all us girls 3 hours to sort everything. Rueben spent his 6 hours at the farm roto-tilling, preparing the land for the tree planting (orange, mango & pineapple trees) which will be completed this week. He enjoyed working on the farm and driving the machinery. Justin, Dave F, Jerry, Gord and three other local workers spent 7 hours on a new facility for drying clothing in the raining season. This building is located at Hsa Thoo Lai dorm. They put up the trusses and almost completed putting the roof panels on the building. Mike & Chuck headed out at 7 a.m. with Dave H to the new Muslim school â€“ this building was built in December by GNCI and the Moose Jaw Siast Students. They designed and began building moveable partitions. Today was the grand opening of this new school, so the fellows were very fortunate to be there and witness the energy and excitement at this celebration. After a quick supper of Pad Thai at the night market, our day ended with a visit to Tsa Thoo Lai dorm. The kids were busy studying for exams - algebra looks exactly the same on this side of the world . As usual, there was song and dance to enjoy. We spent some enjoyable time with the kids before lights out at 9.