Educating Refugees from Burma Since 1997

Enote Archives

Reserved

Enote 115 - Life Good and Bad

Life has been very good to Liz and me in the last few months. We have been doing the old-age retirement thing:

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Kay Khu Paw

Enote 114 - Noble Karen

Some of you have heard me speak of the Karen as that noble tribe, and may have wondered why I choose such a generous word to describe them.

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Leaving Home

Enote 113 - World Refugee Day

Well things have settled down at the Brackett house after that fabulous weekend with the book signing and the honorary degree, and I have finally been able to think about things other than myself.

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Signing

Enote 112 - Founders Honored

Founding Trustees Liz and Tom Brackett of the Brackett Refugee Education Fund were honored May 17 as part of Colgate University's Commencement of 2015. Deborah Knuth-Klenck Professor of English and a close friend of the Bracketts presented the couple and Colgate president Jeffrey Herbst

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Invite

Enote 111 – A Busy Weekend

So, have you wondered what Tom Brackett would do when he stepped down as Executive Director of the Brackett Refugee Education Fund?

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Saw Cree

Enote 110 – Trips to Asia

The transition to new leadership for BREF has been proceeding smoothly, if somewhat irregularly. Case in point, I'm still writing this enote

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Saw Cree

Enote 109 – What's New

It's been a while since I've last got in touch with you, and I wanted to tell you about what has been going

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Party

Enote 108 – Celebrating

I wanted to tell you about our party celebrating our partnership with you over the past 17 years

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Enote 107 – Passing the Torch

About a dozen years ago we sent two Karen refugees across Burma from Thailand to India to study

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Enote 106 – The Good and the Bad

About a dozen years ago we sent two Karen refugees across Burma from Thailand to India to study

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Staff at Thoo Mweh Khee

Enote 105 – Coming and Going

Just last week Professor Deborah Knuth, a neighbor, friend, and supporter of BREF, wrote a comment

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Tom & Liz in Patan

Enote 104 – An Interview

Recently Liz and I had lunch with a friend and supporter of our work with refugees. We recalled that as a donor he was a person who really does his homework. When we first met him to talk

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Children

Enote 103 – Education Rights

Recently Liz and I had lunch with a friend and supporter of our work with refugees. We recalled that as a donor he was a person who really does his homework. When we first met him to talk

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Taxi in Aizawl

Enote 102 – Continued Violence

The appalling curse of the people of Burma, continues to hold them in its ugly grip. In last Sunday's NY Times we read that hatred in the form of three men brandishing machetes

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Hmingte

Enote 101 – An Interview

Recently Liz and I had lunch with a friend and supporter of our work with refugees. We recalled that as a donor he was a person who really does his homework. When we first met him to talk

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Hell Fire Pass

Enote 100 – Education Rights

Recently Liz and I had lunch with a friend and supporter of our work with refugees. We recalled that as a donor he was a person who really does his homework. When we first met him to talk

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Monks in protest

Enote 99 – Continued Violence

The appalling curse of the people of Burma, continues to hold them in its ugly grip. In last Sunday's NY Times we read that hatred in the form of three men brandishing machetes

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Coxs Bazar

Enote 98 – An Interview

Recently Liz and I had lunch with a friend and supporter of our work with refugees. We recalled that as a donor he was a person who really does his homework. When we first met him to talk

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Malala

Enote 97 – Education Rights

Recently Liz and I had lunch with a friend and supporter of our work with refugees. We recalled that as a donor he was a person who really does his homework. When we first met him to talk

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Hillary and ASSK

Enote 96 – Political Issues

I'm sitting in my office during a sweltering afternoon in upstate New York, ruminating on the lives of the refugees, the slow but steady withdrawal of support by the international

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IDPs waiting to leave

Enote 95 – Volunteers

After decades of tyrannical, corrupt, despotic and inept rule, Burma finally got its new constitution written and elected Thein Sein as the new Prime Minister of a democratic(?)

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A Plea

Enote 94 – Haunting Appeal

Loosing my qnote preparation software was a precursor to loosing my entire computer which simply refused to start about two weeks before our departure for home. Fortunately I was able to

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Nan Si Won

Enote 93 – Nan Si Won

Today I'd like to talk about three young women BREF has seen in the Bangkok and Sangklaburi area. Nan Si Won you've seen before, and it is always a pleasure for us to see her again. She's

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Meeting

Enote 92 – Doing It Again

Sorry about this qnote following so rapidly after the previous one, but the Thai are doing it again! After being disgraced by their abuse of the Rohingyas in previous years, they are

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Karen Dance

Enote 91 – A Busy Week

It's been a busy week since we started our journey on Jan. 7 at 7am in Syracuse. From there we took a 2 hour flight to Chicago, followed by a 13 hour flight to Tokyo, and then a

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Leaving Home

Enote 90 – Leaving Home

First I'd like you to note the new look. I'm in the process of redoing our website and I expect it will conform to this general image. Please don't go looking for the new site yet. I

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Aizawl

Qnote Enote 89 – Join Us

Have you thought about the possibility of joining us in our work for refugees? Would you like to try your hand at helping others? I can tell you that the work is immensely rewarding;

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Hill-Tribe Woman

Enote 88 – We Are Home Deprived

Recently I came to the conclusion that as compared with our refugee friends, we Americans are "home deprived". Most of us have moved several times from the place of our birth whereas

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Staff at Dr. Cynthia's

Enote 87 – A Lot Brewing

There is a lot brewing in the Brackett household this weekend. We are preparing for our appeal mailing on Wednesday, a Trustee meeting on Saturday, and, of course, another trip

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Broken Man with Fresh Daughter

Enote 86 – Man's Folly, God's Rebirth

There is a lot brewing in the Brackett household this weekend. We are preparing for our appeal mailing on Wednesday, a Trustee meeting on Saturday, and, of course, another trip

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Robert Liebermann with ASSK

Enote 85 – Burma Film

As you know each year about this time, Liz and I begin to think about our return to Asia, and our annual fund-raising campaign. Recently people have begun to ask --reminding me that

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Starring Boys

Enote 84 – Newspaper Letter

You know of my strong and continued concern for the plight of the Rohingyas. The other day I was so upset by the UN's inability or refusal to really do anything about it that I fired

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Woman with Child

Enote 83 – World Refugee Day

Today is World Refugee Day, a time when we remember the plight of those who have no home. Here is a picture of a young family after being told they cannot seek refuge in Bangladesh.

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Unrest in Rakhine State

Enote 82 – Internal Strife

The world is following recent events in Burma and the picture is not pretty. Fighting continues near Burma's border with China. Bangladesh is forcing back Muslim refugees trying to escape

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Seeing ASSK

Enote 81 – Problems with Democracy in Burma

Aung San Suu Kyi, or Daw Suu as she is fondly known by most refugees, has visited Mae Hla refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border. The video clip shown here -after a

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Mohammed

Enote 80 - A Short Note

Occasionally I come across an article which I wish to bring to your attention. Posting it on the web site, which I have usually done, does not really bring it to your attention. So I

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Aung San Suu Kyi at Press Conference

Enote 79 – About Rinda

Every once in a while a young man or woman comes along with such determination to succeed that you feel compelled to believe her. Rinda is one of these women. Rinda

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Russ & John

Enote 78 – Russ' Visit Finishes

The excitement has died down a little bit; Liz and I are relaxing this Sunday afternoon after saying good bye to Alyson, Barbara and Janice our Mae Sot TReps, and recovering from our

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Eh Thwa at Cynthias

Enote 77 – Russell's Visit

Our son Russell Brackett has been able to join us for a week this year, and we are just completing a very busy schedule of visits in which he met with all of our project directors and in

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Two Sisters

Enote 76 – The Wonderful Trap

After a tedious flight involving delays, missed flights, and being rerouted through London around the world to Bangkok, instead of through Japan, we finally arrived at our "home" in

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Gordon Riggs & Wife

Enote 75 – What's in a Gift

One of the very fine things about our work is the diverse and generous people who have contacted us over the years. In monetary value single gifts from individuals have ranged from five

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Aung San Suu Kyi with Thein Sein

Enote 74 – Burma Changing

Surprise! A new look for the enotes and the. The web site is still under construction so please be patient not all of the links are working. The basic format is the same explaining

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Girl in Mae Hla

Enote 73 – Appeal

Liz and I want to tell you about some of the many people, around the world, who have joined with us giving their time, skills, and money to help our programs grow.

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Area Map

Enote 72 – Internally Displaced People

One of the lesser known outrages caused by the civil war in Burma, is the number of ethnic people who have been driven from their homes by the government soldiers and are now living

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Loi Tai Leng School

Enote 71 – Annual Report

We are pleased to report that on our trip in 2010, we were able to give over a quarter of a million dollars in scholarships and projects grants in Asia. We accepted more students for

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Dressing in new uniforms

Enote 70 – Closing

It is great to be back in Mae Sot, our Asian home, and enjoying a somewhat slower pace of life. Mae Sot was the center of refugee activity when we first arrived in 1992, and remains

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Champhai Women

Enote 69 – A busy Trip

Since I wrote you last January, I have been so busy that I have barely had time to catch my breath, much less write to you. So I'll try in this note to bring you up-to-date on the details

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Street Children

Enote 68 – People at No Boh

This year, on our 20th trip to Asia, Liz and I visited for the first time, Bangladesh. We came here to visit the Rohingyas, a Muslim people from Burma. Burma doesn't want them,

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Aung San Suu Kyi & father

Enote 67 – Forgotten Muslim Children

Having promised them for years, in fact ever since the generals refused to allow the only democratically elected party to govern, Burma has finally had elections. In 1990 the National

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Butsakorn

Enote 66 – Gleanings

A number of you have joined us for the first time, and we are delighted to have you. Enotes are simply ways for us to keep you informed with occasional stories, reports, and news

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Esther listening to baby

Enote 65 – Esther Studying Medicine

I'd like you to meet Esther Laldinthari. Esther is a Chin who left Mizoram to study in Burma. She is a fourth year medical student at the University of Medicine in Mandalay, Burma.

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Bkk from Lhumpini Park

Enote 64 – Fourth of July

We have just survived a very hot Fourth of July, my three children with their families, seventeen people in all counting myself, Liz, and Paulo's mother. (She was visiting us from

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Eh Thwa

Enote 63 – IDP Schools

In the last enote we mentioned that Dianne, a video photojournalist who has made a number of videos of us in the past, did some interviews on camera with some TReps, and some Trustees.

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Ted a trustee

Enote 62 – A Trustees Meeting

This year Dianne Becker, our trustee from Missouri, and maker of those wonderful videos of our work in Thailand and most recently in India, brought her video camera to interview

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Head Master of CDC & Wife

Enote 61 – Songs, Parties, Scholarships

Sorry about the late enote. I had much to say but my computer broke down in February and simply would not work, so I had to wait until I returned. A refugee child speaks:

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Momo Cat

Enote 60 – Snippets

Liz and I arrived in Bangkok about a week ago, and with Chris and the Shirleys, traveled to Kanchanaburi, Sai Yok, and Sangklaburi visiting project sites, interviewed students, and simply

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Man Cin & Chin Chin

Enote 59 – Chris in India

I am rather hurriedly writing this enote between lunch and our next interview with students we support in Aizawl. No matter how we try to arrange our schedule, we always seem to be late

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Jollsy Bani

Enote 58 – A Gift to Karenni

As I write to you on this fifth day of Christmas, it is very cold here in Hamilton. The wind has been blowing fiercely all day and the temperature did not get above 13 degrees.

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Clinic Building

Enote 57 – Connections

Education is not the only thing we do. When we first entered Mizoram in 2000, we discovered that there were not any NGOs there helping the people. No people offering medical services, social

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T&L

Enote 56 – Ruminations

When your son asks, “Dad can I help you carry that?”, when your wife helps you put drops in your eye after cataract surgery, when you have just finished a quite celebration >

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Pensive Girl

Enote 55 – The War Accelerates

Recently Liz and I have been working to build a new website. We have sought the ideas and opinions of many of you and have worked quite a lot over the last two months

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Chris

Enote 54 – Chris' Report

Last weekend I visited the Maw Kwee School for their opening ceremony of the seventh year. The 7:20 songthau leaving Mae Sot was canceled due to problems with the truck, leaving me an hour

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Judy

Enote 53 – Judy Writes

For several years Liz and I have been inviting people to come with us, see what we are doing, and if they wish. to work with us. We’ve never had a better idea. We now have a group

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Curt & Cathy

Enote 52 – Kudos for a favorite couple

I am writing this enote from a Bangkok hotel on our last day before returning home. Since our last message we have finished our work in Mae Sot, taken a holiday in Burma (our very first

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Karen Dance

Enote 51 – Shan IDPs

About 20 km. north of Mae Hong Song, very near the border of Thailand and Burma, a settlement of nationalist Chinese left over from the civil war in 1949, is found in Ban Rak Thai, a

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Group

Enote 50 – Kanchanaburi and the River Kwai

Fortified by a short stay in Bangkok, accompanied by our stalwart TRep Judy Noyes and David and Barbara Shirley, we set off on the Kanchanaburi trip. Those of you who remember World War II

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Laldimpuii, Liz, Lalsiampuii

Enote 49 – Zokhawthar

It is January 19, and we are back in Bangkok relaxing after our tenth trip to Aizawl, India. As Liz says, it’s not an easy place to visit, and we breath a sigh of relief on returning

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Aye Aye Thant

Enote 48 – Aye Aye Thant

We first met her, the youngest of three Shan sisters in 2004 when she applied for a scholarship. She was hoping to study medicine, but when she was unable to do that she signed up for

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Liz & Tom

Enote 47 – A New TRep Coordinator

As I write this enote on the 7th anniversary of that tragic day we remember as 9/11, I am reminded once again of the words of Rowan Williams the Archbishop of Canterbury, who said

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Bamboo Seeds

Enote 46 – The Killer Fruit

About two weeks ago we got this cryptic message from our son, Chris. 'This looks like Do Moo's village. He's not back yet.' We looked up the reference and found a report

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Space
Dianne

Enote 44 – Review of '08 Trip

Each year the highlight of our work is the trip to Asia, and it seems to become bigger and more interesting with each passing year. Dianne has completed the video documentary of our work

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Children

Enote 43 – Forgotten Muslim Children

As the situation of the refugees in Thailand and India continues to evolve, and as our work with them changes to adapt, Liz and I are always looking for new persons in need and ways to help

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Space
Luncheon at BNSCLC

Enote 42 – PiLoKi and Nai Soi

As we returned from India, Judy Noyes joined us in Bangkok to help with students there, and more especially with students and projects in Kanchanaburi province. Dianne who had traveled

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Lalzaneihtluangii

Enote 41 – Report from Aizawl

As I write from our hotel on the eve of our departure from Mizoram, listening to beautiful singing coming from the Presbyterian church a hundred feet below, many images press on me

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Hill-tribe Karen Girl

Enote 40 – Cross-border Aid

Cross-border aid, in our context, means aiding people currently living in Burma from an adjacent country such as Thailand or India. It has some risks, because the aid must be carried in,

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Space
Monks marching in Rangoon

Enote 39 – Tragic Burma

Burma exploded for a week or two on the front pages of the American press, since I last wrote you. Pictures like the one below of monks walking in protest in Rangoon have been seen by all.

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Tom & Liz

Enote 38 – Videos

It has been a very busy season for us. Our Foundation having been established on April 1, 1997, our tenth anniversary has given us the opportunity to look back and review our work.

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Young boy at Puter

Enote 37 – What We Believe

Recently I had occasion to review some thoughts on our work and I thought I would share them with you. This statement was written just after the attacks on New York City and Washington

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Space
Sutis

Enote 36 – Name Change

Notice our new name. We hope you like it. Actually it is not really a change in name at all. We remain the Brackett Foundation, but in legal parlance, we are doing business as,

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Steve ColleyPaw & Liz

Enote 35 – Colley Paw and Steve

It is a cold, snowy Tuesday morning in Hamilton. Liz and I have just returned from our 16th annual trip to Thailand, and I feel the need to share with you some reflections on this most

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Nurses with Liz

Enote 34 – Alyson and Barbara

It has been almost a month since I have last written, and a very busy time it has been. Hoppy and Judy, who worked so well with us last year, joined us in early February, and traveled

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Space
Prize Winner

Enote 33 – Two Strong Students

Liz and I are nearing the end of a very busy trip to Aizawl, Champai, and Zokhawthaw. We met with award granting committees, individual students and women’s groups from over

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Paw Lulu's Group

Enote 32 – In Huay Malai

On Monday January 8, after a short flight from Syracuse the preceding day, we took the Thai Airways flight non-stop from JFK to Bangkok. I highly recommend it. At 17 hours it is the quickest

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Sa Shine with model

Enote 31 – Sa Shine

The last enote commented on the coup d'etat in Thailand. That is not the only thing having an effect on the refugee situation. I will give a brief list of the major events effecting the

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Space
Juliet

Enote 30 – Resettlement

I am sure most of you have heard of the coup d'etat that took place in Thailand last month. Prime Minister Taksin Shinawatra was deposed by the military while he was in the United States

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Brackett Family

Enote 29 – Brackett Family

It is probably not news to most of you, that we, Tom and Liz Brackett, are in our seventies. And although we are not ready to give up our tasks soon, we must consider the long-term

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Advisory Group

Enote 28 – Cynthia Returns

The recent news from Burma continues to be bad. Associated with their recent move from Rangoon to Pyinmana, the military government has been driving people from their homes, and many

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Space
Daw Cha Daw

Enote 27 – Daw Cha Daw

Well, we made it back home. The flight seems to get longer every year. This time we left our residence in Bangkok around 5am on March 21 –temperature 95 ºF, and arrived,

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Shan Party

Enote 26 – Three Shan Sisters

We have entered the third and final phase of our work this year, that of interviewing new applicants. The excitement of meeting new young faces and discussing new plans and hopes for

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Hoppy & Julay

Enote 25 – Volunteers

I had just sat down to begin this enote when Liz handed me an envelope which had been slipped under the door of our hotel room in Mae Sot. It was a valentine “For a Special Couple”, the first I can remember we ever received as a couple, and a good reminder of the date. Today our trip is half over and we must press on for we have much yet to do.

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Space
House in Champhai

Enote 24 – Love of Home

The Christmas season has added excitement for us because this is the time when we plan our return to Asia, and the refugee communities whom we are so eager to see.

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To Mae Hla Po Ta

Enote 23 – Love of Home

The Christmas season has added excitement for us because this is the time when we plan our return to Asia, and the refugee communities whom we are so eager to see.

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With Pres. Bush

Enote 22 – Charm Tong in Washington

A little dusting of snow in the hills around Hamilton has prompted Liz and I to start planning more aggressively for our trip to Asia. We have our visas, tickets and itinerary. It remains

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Space
Boy with horn

Enote 21 – Hill-tribe Karen Boy with Horn

As part of a continuing process of involving others in our work, I am happy to announce that our daughter, Sally Brackett, has agreed to assume the role of editor of our enotes.

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PEC group

Enote 20 – Peace Education Council

Ever since we have started enotes, we have been trying to find the right form to deliver them to you.  We are trying a new email distribution service, Constant Contact

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With the Shan

Enote 19 – Starting an Endowment

Occasionally we have said to each other, "What should we do to ensure the refugees from Burma continue to receive help after we are no longer able to manage the Foundation ourselves?"

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Space
Dr. Cynthia at our home

Enote 18 – Cynthia's Visit

January and February are the best times to visit Thailand. The weather is dry and comfortable. To fit in with a holiday or a business trip to Asia, you can arrange any duration from

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Kaw Rey Htoo

Enote 17 – Karenni Education Leader

Check out our new logo! It is an abstract design of a student reading a book. I have tried for years to imagine a logo to symbolize our Foundation better than simply a book, but I was

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Di Di & Chit Paw

Enote 16 – The Kler Day School

It is morning in Chiang Mai, the air is pleasantly cool as it waits the blazing sun, and we are comfortably situated in a hotel in the tourist section of this charming city. I am

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Space
Liz & Alyson

Enote 15 – Trip to Nagaland

The real point of this enote is to tell you about a new opportunity related to the recent Tsunami disaster, but first we bring you up-to-date with a brief summary of the past two weeks.

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Three engineering students

Enote 14 – Engineering Students

Liz and I arrived after a long flight from wintry Hamilton, -23 hours in the air, and about 34 hours from door to door-, to a balmy Bangkok. No remorse for those of you settling into

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Liz & Paw LuLu

Enote 13 – Paw Lu Lu

Liz and I had scheduled a busy trip to Boston to meet with persons at World Education, and to give some talks over the weekend of November 7-8. Unfortunately I suffered a small stroke

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Space
Maw Kwee School

Enote 12 – Naw Eh Hser

As I write, Liz and I have just completed our annual mailing campaign to some 3500 families. As most of you know, nearly all of our support comes from individual donations solicited.

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Boy with AIDS

Enote 11 – Boy with AIDS

It has been a while since we last contacted you. I did not realize that it has been almost three months since we sent you our last enote from Thailand. That really gives meaning

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Sai Sam

Enote 10 – Interview at Sai Sam's

Several years ago, when Liz was teaching English at Dr. Cynthia's, she had a somewhat older, very deferential student named Sai Sam. He was sent by the Shan State Army, where he had

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Space
Karen Harpist

Enote 09 – Greeting our arrival

We have just returned from the border country north of Mae Sot.  This country is rather primitive.  The first road was built just over a dozen years ago and electricity has just

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Aizawl Meeting

Enote 08 – Meeting with Chin Helpers

Liz and I arrived at Don Maung airport, Bangkok, just after midnight Sunday morning January 18, after a thirty hour trip from Syracuse. Up at eight to start a very busy three days of

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Ka Law Lah

Enote 07 – Karenni Education Leader

This enote comes to you with our wishes that you have a very happy holiday season. We ourselves have good reason to be happy for we have received great gifts from you.

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Space
Pakimi

Enote 06 – Chin Refugee Girl

Recent reports from Dr. Cynthia's Clinic, have been unsettling. Human Rights Watch published an article which suggested that the Thai government was threatening deportation for her

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Working at home

Enote 05 – Helping with Mailing

The season of the harvest approaches, the time when we have our annual campaign to raise funds for our work. We have just sent out our annual fund-raising letter and brochure.

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Nay Kaw

Enote 04 – Working for MAP

Those of you who have read or heard the recent news reports from Burma know that the situation is not good. The detention of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and the abuse of the people

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Space
Paw Paw

Enote 03 – Landmine Victim

Readers of our newsletter will remember last summer we visited the Whitney Museum to see the works of a Burmese photographer, and there found the portrait of one of our students.

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Julay

Enote 02 – Studying in high school.

On the first day of May, the Rotary Club of Hamilton, had its "Roses for the Living Award" night. Tapestry, the a capella singing group in which Tom is a member, was asked to sing for

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Paw Eh Hser

Enote 01 – Naw Paw Eh Hser

Our emails from Asia have been so enthusiastically received, that we thought we might try them while we are at home.  We currently plan on about one short email (we call

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