We have almost completed our first week with Marist Mission Ranong http://www.maristthailand.org and it has been a challenge. Ranong is bigger than we thought with about 60,000 people in the town and 3/4 of them being from Myanmar. Motor scooters are the main form of transport and that is how we are getting around. Can’t say I like it much but every day we become more confident on the road. Our apartment is more than adequate, we have a kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedroom and LOTS of fans. It is SO hot and humid, the temperatures at the moment are around 33-35*C with 70-80% humidity. Sadly I have been ‘suffering’ from heat exhaustion and have had to stay home a few days. Won’t go into the boring details. Mike is doing better than me and it is great to be able to support each other. It is hard to sleep in the heat but we are slowly acclimatising. The Marist Fathers are a great support and tell us that this is a very normal process and the best thing is to go slow. Can you imagine Mike and I going ‘slow’? Another skill for us to learn!
The school is great and the work here inspiring. There are 3 levels of classes happening. 3 levels of pre-school (SO CUTE) and then the children go to Burmese or Thai schools. At the age of 12 most Burmese children leave school but some (around 2%) return to MMR to continue for another 4 years. These are the lucky ones. In fact most of the Burmese migrant children receive no schooling at all. MMR also offers two other courses for people who have left school, a bridging programme to improve their English so that they can study at a Tertiary level and then a Diploma course from Australia Catholic University. These young people are fluent in Burmese, Thai and now English.
Mike and I are teaching English to two Year 1 classes (average age 12-15) and then teaching the Bridging programme and working with the Diploma students who are currently learning about teaching. I am teaching Blooms Taxonomy. Didn’t think I would be doing that!! These young people are VERY motivated to learn. They know that education is the way out of poverty. It is very humbling to be able to come here and work with these young people. We have as much to learn from them as they do from us.
On Wednesday we went out with the health team to visit HIV patients in their homes. This deserves a blog all of its own. See you next time.