We know our lives are far from normal when we spend our Saturday night hosting a community meeting and then laugh for hours with other people’s kids. But, this was our Saturday night.
Part 1: The community meeting went better than we could have expected! We had over thirty adults show and everyone was very responsive. We told them about the summer program for the kids we are starting this week–every Tuesday & Wednesday for six weeks we are going to have what we’re calling a “summer program” from 10am-12pm. We’ll have English practice, math practice, English songs, and Burmese story books. We’re trying to reach four to sixteen year olds, in our house, in the hottest part of the year–so we’ll see how that goes!
We also had to have some difficult conversations about immigration and police changes in Mae Sot, and some ways we can no longer help due to the risk. We also had to address some “abuse” of the system. It gave us a chance to share our heart to help, our heart to be here and to love, but also that we are humans and we have limits. And since thirty of them showed up, they all have huge families, and we are two people–the math is simple enough. With time, we’re working on developing mutual respect.
As everyone left about 8pm, we were hoping to sit down to dinner.
Part 2: John called on FaceTime. We’ve been trying to cross paths with John where he could talk to some of the kids after visiting a few weeks ago. Since everyone had just left from the meeting, Stephen went over to Musana & Zen Yaw’s house to see if they could come talk to him. Musana was eating and said she’d come when she finished, but within a few seconds was running after Stephen. “Did you finish eating already?” we asked. “No. I’ll eat later!”
She was really excited.
With limited communication, we thought it’d be a shorter call, but the kids were all hooked. Right away they could see that it was day behind him, so we had a little lesson on what side of the Earth we’re each on and how the Earth moves around the sun. With each new kid that joined, the first thing they’d say is, “We’re calling America! It’s morning! It’s 9 o’clock! The SUN is out!”
There were seven us there by the end, and we’d toured John’s entire house. We explained how a house can have three floors, and how a basement can be in the ground. We saw the front of his house and the back, and tried to explain–extensively–why our house in America isn’t on his street. We saw his oven and dishwasher (a very good machine, they declared) and saw his fireplace light with a button. We saw what was in his fridge and identified different foods in English. We saw what his bathroom looks like and looked at American money.
To John’s credit, he was spectacular at making things interesting that, well, aren’t. The kids were amazed at the whole thing–every turn and discovery. Minds were blown, repeatedly!
They played Rock, Paper, Scissors and gave high-fives over the screen. There is also this game the kids taught us while he was here–they say different words in English and you have to do them, so it’s quite simple. But so is their vocabulary, so it’s mostly:
Walking. Walking. Walking, Sitting. Walking. Walking. RUNNING! Sitting. Standing. Walking. Jumping! Jumping!
Also, they like to combine them, like Sitting-Walking and Sitting-Jumping, which is just as hilarious as it sounds. So John did a few examples of those for us.
Part 3: When John had to go it was already nearing ten, but Stephen had the great idea of pulling out Photo Booth. Excuse how small these photos are and cherish the hilarious faces and egregious laughter!