Enote 33 – Two Strong StudentsFebruary 06, 2007
Hello from Aizwal:
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 a half dozen villages and towns spread throughout Mizoram.
We arrived a week ago Friday at the Lengpuii Airport, and were met by Thulanga, a member of the Aizawl Chin Education Committee, which helps us with assistance to high school students. It is crucial that we be met by someone who has obtained permission for us to enter Mizoram, otherwise we would not be allowed to enter this restricted area. After a few days of getting settled in this fascinating place, --including a bout at the local hospital to relieve intestinal distress--, we took the exciting journey to Champai and Zokhawthaw. We are now recognized almost everywhere we go and are treated royally, but particularly at Zokhawthaw we were treated to the finest luncheon in a small poor village that I can remember.
A couple of strong students:
Even though the government has been more accepting, or indifferent to them, the refugees in Mizoram live a more difficult life than the refugees in Thailand, because of extreme poverty, and the enforced extreme competition of the school system. With students studying generally four or five hours a day, and seven or eight hours a day in preparation for the big exams of class 10 and 12, it is hard to see how Chin coming from Burma, and having to adapt to a new language can even survive. But here are two bright examples. The class 8 boy on the left, was selected to travel from Aizawl to Sikkim to give a presentation on his science project about waste management. He tells us that because he must work to support his family, he can only study about one hour a day. Yet he was able to pass class 8 in the first division. Similarly the girl, Zaneihthluaii, from Zokhawthar, pictured below, works hard, but is able to study four hours a day, and passed class six with distinction. She hopes to become a nurse.
Jan 19: Arrived in Aizawl, a bit the worse for wear.
Jan 20: Met with the Aizawl Chin Women’s Organization, and with 4 leader interns.
Jan 21: Met with 7 new applicants.
Jan 22-24: Travel to Champai and Zokhawthaw. Met with Champai, Zokhawthaw CWOs, ChampaiCEP and many individual students. Returned to Aizawl.
Jan 25: Met wit Aizawl Chin Education Program students (College level).
Jan 26: Met wit CWO Central, an umbrella group coordinating the seven regional CWOs.
Jan 27-28: Met with some 24 Aizawl Chin Education Committee high school students.
Jan 29-30: Returned via Kolkatta to Bangkok.
It was a demanding but exciting ten days.
Best wishes to all of you,
Tom & Liz Brackett