One week to go and even less for Lindsey as her official last day is Thursday whereas mine is Friday. Considering that I have never worked in a school before and also considering that the library set up was a bit mad when we started I think we have both done a great job in our first year.
It’s been a little crazy at times like this last week for instance where I am just coming to the end of 9 straight days of events! After the gala I thought I was basically off the hook but boy was I wrong. The events have been the Secondary School Spring concert, where I was doing the filming, end of year party (MC), AGM (put the presentation together), School play (filming), back to back Elementary Spring Concerts (filming), Alumni event, Graduation and then a Grade 8 moving on ceremony. Currently just 2 more to go.
Added to that was a trip up North to Eastern Shan State to visit the village where a school that my school has raised money for will be built. I have been heavily involved in this project all year helping to arrange all the fundraising events that we’ve had and liaising with the charity we are partnering with. The charity is called United World Schools and they build schools and train and employ teachers in places where the children have either no access to education or the education is very poor. Our village does have a government school which is no more than a hut with teachers who don’t even speak the local ethnic language. The people there are Lahu which is one of the many ethnic groups in Myanmar but they don’t speak Burmese.
Me and 3 others from my school went on the trip which went really well. The villagers seem very nice but were extremely poor by our standards. The economy seems mainly to be subsistence farming with a bit of poppy growing thrown in. The area is considered a brown area which means we need permits as foreigners to go there but we didn’t have any problems getting them. Next year we are hoping to take some students from Yangon there. I took all the photos on the trip and have shared the post with the photos on my Facebook page. Getting good photos was extremely challenging as the conditions were either bright sunshine or gloomy interiors and the subjects were all extremely shy. Getting them to smile or catching them in a good moment was tricky. For those reasons I’m very happy with the results. There is someone in my team who mainly takes the photos for the school. I gave her a few tips in the beginning but really she has self-learnt through taking photos all the time. I have watched her blossom into a great photographer and have been quite jealous of the opportunity she’s had. This set of photos reminded me that I’m not a bad photographer myself which was nice.
The charity is going to build a school of bricks and cement and has already hired a local teacher who speaks the local language. She will start next week. I would say that this project is probably the most worthwhile project I have ever been involved with professionally. I can’t knock my banner ad days because all of that has brought me to where I am now but I can say that I am very glad of the opportunity of being involved with something this important.
To bring the worthiness down a bit, this isn’t the only worthy cause that we’ve been involved with recently. Yangon is full of street dogs as we’ve mentioned before. There are a couple that hang out not too far from us that are very pretty although slightly different than the usual street dog. They have exactly the colouring of a Rottweiler although that’s where the similarity stops. If anything they are like a cross between a lurcher and a collie maybe. They are male and female so we are assuming siblings. The male is very friendly and Lindsey and it have become firm friends. The problem is that it has mange. This is an illness caused by a mite which then causes the fur to fall out. This then leads to sores and infection etc etc. Fortunately there is a pill which can kill the mite so Lindsey has been going up and feeding this dog (Clyde by the way) and giving it the pills which we’ve been given by a vet. She thinks he’s already showing signs of improvement although that does seem a bit unlikely. If we didn’t have Nell we would certainly have 10 street dogs by now. Lindsey is definitely getting suckered in. Watch this space……