Enote 44 – Review of '08 TripMay 06, 2008
Brief Review of the 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 in India and elsewhere, and it is our intention to make them available to all donors later in the year. You may recall Dianne has previously done a documentary on our work in southeast Thailand. That video can be seen here.
This year we were accompanied by eleven persons, including two Trustees, fiveTrustee Representatives who work with us with our students, and another four visitors. It is always a pleasure for us to welcome new persons to the refugees and our work with them. And those who come seem uniformly to have enjoyed it and learned from the experience. Which is to say that the offer is now open for next year.
The pictures show, starting from the upper right and proceeding clockwise around the text, Liz with Judy Noyes, a TRep with us for the first time this year; Hoppy and a Karenni friend in Mae Hong Son; a group shot which shows from the left standing Janice, and Barbara (Barbara is a TRep. and Janice interpreted for her), Hope Wallis, Liz, two Karen friends, me, and Tamla, sitting is shown Olivia, her mother Cristy, Chris, and Vanessa Barbara's daughter; grandmother Liz and granddaughter Olivia; Liz, Judy Winfield, and George Kaufman meeting with thevolunteer English teachers at the Nai Soi CLC; Chris, Judy, and Dianne on the boat to Pi Lo Ki; and finally Dianne setting up for a shot.
A New Problem on the Border:
After we left, we got a note from Chris Brackett, who remains there throughout most of the year, that the price of rice has nearly tripled in the past two years, with most of that rise being in the last six months. The Thai Burma Consortium (TBBC), who has been responsible for caring for the refugees for close to twenty years may not have enough funds to complete their feeding obligations this year. Because we support boarding houses and food for the children therein, this unexpected rise, especially when combined with the fall of the dollar against the Thai baht, will make our expenses considerably larger this year. Fortunately we have not yet committed all of the funds received from the Dorothea Haus Ross Foundation in support of our boarding houses, and we expect to be able to use them in an emergency.
A Trustees Meeting:
The Brackett Refugee Education Fund (BREF) is governed by a Board of Trustees who meet twice annually to consider issues which come before the workers in Asia, review and adopt the budget, and establish policy under which we work. Liz is no longer a member of the Board, but still attends the meetings. She is replaced this year by our son Ted Brackett, and Hoppy Winfield, who is also a Trustee Representative. This year the Board considered the complex issue of designated funds. Designated funds are funds given for a specific designated purpose. We must consider carefully such gifts, because we need to ensure they are compatible with our mission and capabilities. This year we held our meeting at the Brackett's vacation house on Cape Cod.
Mar. 05 to 18: Catching up with a few students we'd missed earlier. Visiting friends, meeting John Cooper and discussing the Noh Boh Academy.
Mar. 19: Flight Bangkok to Hamilton. Met by Ed Sitts at Syracuse, and found a food package on our doorstep left by Mary Canavan and Marilyn Thie.
Mar. 22 to 31: Preparing reports, budget, and agenda for Trustees Meeting.
Apr. 05 to 06: Trip to New Hampshire on Family business.
Apr. 12 to 13: Trip to Cape Cod, and Trustees Meeting.
Apr. 15 to present: Office work including audit, scholarship agreements, payments, writing newsletter copy, minutes of the meeting, and this enote.
We hope this note finds you all happy and healthy. Please write us with any questions or comments. We will be happy to respond.
As we went to press:
We read news of the recent cyclone striking Burma and killing thousands, and leaving thousands of others without food and safe drinking water. Curt and Cathy, friends who we met on the border and who have been developing a system for purifying water by filtration, could use some help in this time. You may write them at email@example.com, perhaps even send them at donation.