Our last week looked something like this: Stephen and I, one Karen translator, one Thai driver, and a team of nineteen.
Yes, nineteen. That’s nine over Partners’ typical cap of ten, with fourteen of these nineteen being under twenty.
We drove about seven hours south of Mae Sot, to a small village called Klaw Taw, and spent five days with the local children. Half of the team worked at the local village school with Stephen & the Thai driver, while the other half bumped over some rough roads for an hour each day to visit the nearby refugee camp.
It was a long week.
There were some highs:
We were in the middle of nowhere with a significant number of Karen around us, one of our favorite adventures.
We enjoyed some cool nights and delicious food cooked over fires.
Stephen took some amazing photos of the local kids while practicing his photography skills on a new camera. Here are my two favorites:
One of the little Karen girls gave me a shoulder massage, which was a highlight for many reasons, one being her adorableness.
And we attended a Karen wedding, which I always love.
There were some lows:
There were so many of us, and, oh my, did we stick out. And, oh my, was it hard to keep everyone sorted.
I had to drive to the camp every day, and driving is one of my least favorite things. Add that to the pothole-filled roads with Westerners who are used to smooth roads, and it’s not so fun. The “roads” in the camp are just pathways that have been smoothed over, still with rocks, crevices, and creeks everywhere. There are people surrounding you, chickens running around, children who aren’t used to vehicles and trying to touch them as they go by. It’s terrifying, and barely wide enough for one truck. At one point we met upon a huge truck there to deliver rations. I ended up reversing the entirety of the aforementioned narrow path, with an Englishman using phrases like “Anti-clockwise! Anti-clockwise!”, taking me a moment to translate; another Englishman spinning his fingers in my rearview mirror, again a little hard to follow amidst the choas. And lastly, a Karen man shouting in my window another phrase I was trying to translate.
Both of us felt a little sick toward the end of the week, and I took a real dive on Sunday when we returned. Sunday and Monday were spent sleeping for me, and I’ve just now had my first real meal since being sick! Stephen did four loads of laundry, swept, cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, and ran to get groceries while I slept the days away.
We’re back. Hopefully getting into the swing of…something. We’re attempting to tackle things this week and taking a few can’t-wait-until-they-get-here days off next week.