We started the weekend trying a new fruit!
I don’t even know what to call it. We currently can’t find it online in any translatable form, so we know the Burmese word (which literally translates to “sugar fruit”) and nothing more! This is the first time we haven’t been able to find any other photos or descriptions or details in English. Kind of bizarre, and a surprisingly good fruit.
After Flour & Flowers on Friday (because our Fridays just aren’t crazy enough!), we went to the BMCC Christmas. Twelve local Burmese churches have come together to form the Burmese Migrant Churches Committee, where the pastors meet regularly for bible studies and worship and prayer; they partner for events and work together in a variety of ways. It is a pretty incredible group and a great example of unity in the church.
And every year, they do a Christmas party. This year we borrowed a friend’s car to make the many trips, since it’s on the other side of town.
Funnily enough, they have the same car as us, which led to much shock & awe. One of the kids asked, How did you make two of the same car?
Anyway, with the help of two big soccer mom SUVs, we managed to get 48 people there and back again, with a lot of singing and talking in between.
(Oh, and they also got to pass the big town Christmas tree at our local department store–the first year we’ve had one in Mae Sot, and the first time they’ve all been the kilometer away from our house to see it! Such a great response. The whole car, adults & kids alike, erupted in oohs and ahhs!)
And since it lasted til 10pm, this is how Ah Gar & I ended it in the back.
Saturday brought ZuZu’s 3rd birthday! Here she is with her aunt & uncle–all some of our favorites.
And then we had a girls only shindig on Saturday afternoon.
This started out of some Days for Girls kits we were given for the community. In short, Days for Girls provides re-usable pantyliner kits for girls around the world, in hopes of helping them to continue going to school when they are menstruating. In impoverished communities, its not uncommon for materials to be too expensive, so girls stay home from school or work. Since we were only given a small number of kits, we wanted to make sure the teenagers were given them.
And while I had intended to do this for a few months, I had been putting it off in the chaos & my poor health. But with some of the community possibly moving back to Burma in coming weeks, we wanted to be sure we got them to the girls before they left, as it could really help them in poorer seasons and for their chances at continuing school.
In giving them out, we also wanted to provide some education on their cycles, what to expect or when to go to the doctor, and when they can get pregnant. Because we live in a community where abuse is quite common and the girls face a higher risk, we wanted to talk about that, too.
Thus unfolded a lengthy conversation, made possible by my friend Nu helping with translation; I didn’t want to give a sex or abuse talk with my elementary language; it was bound to be accidentally crass. We talked to the girls about their right to choose for their body, and that no one else has the right to touch them. We talked about it in the general concept–in the market, or at school; their freedom to say no, to hit someone, to run; but also in the community–that their rights are still theirs, even in situations with their dad, brother, uncle, or friend. We talked about the choices they get to make now and in the future. We talked about our house as a safe place, to talk to us, to go to the doctor, and even to sleep if they are scared.
It was probably one of the harder conversations I ever had in the community. For one, it’s a sensitive subject across cultures and languages. But also, we have suspicions that some of the girls have already faced abuse in their young lives. It was hard to see tears in some eyes and watch their responses.
That said, it went better than I could have asked. I had been praying about it for weeks–feeling like it was the right thing to do, but unsure of how or what words to use. Not sure how to love them well and help them. I can honestly say I’m so glad we did it, and we even managed to make it fun, too.
We didn’t want to them to leave with a menstruation kit and have everyone asking what they got and what we did. So we also gifted them some earrings, nail polish, and lip glosses that they could show as “what they got.”
We played a game–which they loved! I had four jars with different items in them–some beads they like to use, two of candy, and one of small stars. They guessed the numbers inside, and whoever was closest one the jar and small prize. Wow, it went over amazing, with cheers and laughter. This is the easiest group to impress with entertainment.
We also decorated Christmas cookies! I always love to do this, but…it’s messy. This was just nine girls, all teenagers, and it was still a doozy of a mess. (So thankful I didn’t try it with the littles!)
I will say I also realized too late that I didn’t have much in the way of food coloring (apparently that’s only something my mom always has on hand; and as an adult you have to buy it in order for it to be “on hand”) and we ended up with blue, purple and white icing, plus a red strawberry filling. And then I put out sprinkles and waxy chocolate chips. They loved it ALL and put it ALL on every single cookie.
I guess it’s a good diet plan. I wasn’t tempted to eat even one!
So thankful for these girls, many of whom we’ve known since they were six or seven. And really thankful for the chance to love on them.