Enote 34 – Alyson and Barbara

February 26, 2007

Report from Mae Sot:

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 with us to Chiang Mai and then traveled alone to Mae Hong Son to review the Nai Soi Vocational School and Karenni Teachers projects while we stayed on to interview students. They returned with very enthusiastic reports on the vocational school, and its leader’s return to health after a motorcycle accident. All of us then left for Mae Sot, Mae Hla Refugee Camp, Mae Salit, and the hill-tribe community in Maw Kwee. Alyson Illich and her friend Barbara Rydon visited us for the last few days of that trip and were able to catch the school closing ceremony at Maw Kwee, as well as our meeting with the teachers at Kler Day, later that day. The two meetings back-to-back, pretty much covered the ups and downs of our work. The wonderful celebration at Maw Kwee was followed by a depressing meeting from the teachers at Kler Day, where the head master and his assistant resigned. The problem seemed to be that the continuing long-term presence of the Burmese military and its effect on the villagers and school children were simply more than the teachers could accept. We quickly went into problem-solving mode, and suggested a plan which would allow the school to continue another year under new leadership, and called for a review the following year.

Barbara and Alyson:

Barbara and AlysonThis dynamic duo seems to have an inexhaustible supply of energy and enthusiasm. Barbara, from Hong Kong, and Alyson, from Houston had previously spent a few years together in Thailand, and came back to visit our work with the refugees. Alyson, you may recall was with us on our trip to Kanchanaburi two years ago. As we expected, both women pitched right in on the celebration at Maw Kwee, and the discussion with the teachers from Kler Day. We were delighted to have such intelligent and perceptive people join us. We were even more delighted when they volunteered to take on a three year commitment to share our work in the Mae Sot-Mae Salit Area. With Hoppy and Judy, and now Barbara and Alyson, we are building a team that shares our vision and will soon acquire experience in our work.

Nurse Students at Boromarajonani Buddhachinaraj:

Liz with NursesPlease forgive my adding another picture to an enote which is already too long, but I couldn’t refuse this one of Liz with three ethnic young women who are studying to be nurses. These friends all came together to help each other with the interview, and Liz was completely captivated with their friendly ways and completely uncompetitive attitude and willingness to help each other. The women are from left to right Hmong, Karen, and Thai. They all passed a quota exam to enter. They are all very poor, and they are all quite lovely. I’m afraid we’ll have to accept them all.


  • Feb 3: Met with ABAC students.
  • Feb 4: Visited DEAR Burma project.
  • Feb 5: Flight to Chiang Mai, pick up and review new applicants.
  • Feb 6-10: Met with continuing applicants, Shona to discuss new OSI plans, and scholarship committee.
  • Feb 7-8: Hoppy and Judy left for Mae Hong Son to visit the Nai Soi vocational school, and the Karenni Teachers project.
  • Feb 9-11: Met with more continuing and new students.
  • Feb 12: Traveled to Mae Sot.
  • Feb 13-15: Met with continuing Students, visited the Mae Ramat Boarding House, Eh Thwa, Dr. Cynthia’s Clinic, and the PEC program.
  • Feb 16-18: Traveled to Mae Hla refugee camp, met with Saw Beset, Saw Po Lay, drove on to Mae Salit, met Tamla and friends, joined by Alyson and Barbara, visited Maw Kwee, met with Kler Day teachers and committee, returned to Mae Sot. 
  • Feb 19: Had review of experiences with visitors. Alyson and Barbara leave.
  • Feb 20: Traveled to Phitsanulok, and met with new and continuing students at Naresuan and Boromarajonani. Hoppy and Judy leave.

Please be assured that we continue to look for parties interested in visiting our work with the prospect they might later join us. Although this work is occasionally demanding, it is always rewarding. Each year we are heartened by good wishes from donors and refugees alike, and we thank you for that.

Also know that Liz and I are happy at any time we are in the United States, to travel and give a talk on our work.

Tom & Liz Brackett

Your day is not finished until you've done someone a favor.