Enote 16 – The Kler Day School

March 01, 2005

Introduction

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 recovering from a bout with food poisoning suffered in Mae Sot. The attack began suddenly at ten am and cramps were so severe that Liz and our friend Tip took me to a hospital. Two hospitals, numerous blood tests, IVs, six X-rays, a failed electrocardiogram, and twelve hours later, I succumbed to fatigue and fell asleep. Two hours later I was awakened from a deep sleep by a doctor, and realized all the pain was gone. The simple comfort of remembered but passed pain was joy itself.

You might be interested to know that the whole bill for six doctors, two hospitals, private rooms, medication, tests and X-rays was about 5.600 baht or less than $150. That’s full price without insurance of any kind. Those of you who might be thinking that Thailand could be worthwhile for some medical service should be aware that Liz found out as she planned to leave me for her hotel, hospital policy requires that every patient be accompanied 24 hours a day by a close friend or family member. Liz slept on a couch in my room.

The Kler Day School

Kler Day School TeachersThe Kler Day school was established three years ago for a hill-tribe village in Burma. It has grown from just one kindergarten class to include four classes: KGA, KGB, grade 1 and grade 2. Saw Didi and Chu Paw started the school. Both men are from families who lived in the area, and were students of ours at Gray Tah. As the school grew they were joined by two young women teachers from further inside Burma. Because the school resides in an area controlled by government forces, we could not visit the school directly so the teachers and school committee came to Mae Salit to give their report and plan for next year. The picture shows Saw Didi on the left, Chu Paw on the right, and the two new teachers.

Htee La Doh, another hill-tribe village near to Kler Day has begun to send some of its children to the school, but during the rainy season it is difficult for the young children to cross the river. We suggested building a small kindergarten at Htee La Doh, the graduates of which would be old enough to walk to Kler Day to attend grades 1 & 2 throughout the year. A few selected graduates of class 2 will be able to continue their schooling either at the refugee camp, or in bigger schools inside Burma. If this plan works, it might serve as a model for other hill-tribe localities along the border.

Of course Liz and I see changes every year along the border, but this year particularly we see prospects for bigger change. We’ve been told several times that everyone is tired of fighting. A junior college and a high school have been suggested. At this point we will wait and see, but the prospect of a good educational center in this area of great need is enticing.

February Activities

  • Feb. 05 – 06: Meeting students at Bangkok, and travel to Chiang Mai.

  • Feb. 07 – 08:  Travel to Mae Hong Son and return, meeting with PNDO , three project directors, and several students.

  • Feb. 09 – 13:  Met with nine Chiang Mai students and traveled to Mae Sot.

  • Feb. 14 – 17:  Visited Dr. Cynthia’s school, met with Dean of Rajaphat KamPaengPhet University, and many students.

  • Feb. 18 –  20: Visit to Mae Salit, and Maw Kwee and meetings with Tamla,  Kler Day teachers and village leaders.

  • Feb. 21 –  28: Hospital, return to Chiang Mai for final student interviews and visit with other border workers.

 Trip remains tremendous. 

Best Wishes to all,   

Tom & Liz

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