February 8, 2010

Burma Learning Tour: 15 January 2010

We went back to the Baptist General Offices and they took us on a tour of the small community. There was a home that had burned down and it had been a year since it happened, but the man whose house it was had to serve six months in jail. They were still waiting for a permit a year later.
Then they took us to a clinic called the Matthew 25 Love Clinic. We met the head doctor and his volunteer staff. They took us in to his office and gave us strawberry juice. We learned it takes seven years to go through medical school. He said if they were Nargis victims the clinic treats them for free, but if not then it was $10. He took us on a tour of the clinic. Their beds were hard but people had IVs in – hanging from the top of their bed. We saw a room that had women in it. Some had got stones or things wrong inside – but two women had young babies. One mother had a very small baby we couldn’t see him/her but she was 5 days old. She had been here as long as we had! Another baby was 20 days old and her mother had a C-section!
Then on the way out we saw the surgery room – which is very bright and sterile. Even though this hospital was in a 3rd world it still smelled like a hospital.
On the way to the compound David had talked to us about merchandizing for NCP and we had just mentioned book bags and other things. The Baptist took us to a small dark room with sewing machines by the windows. Immediately, we saw book bags and fabrics – David bought a backpack that we all really liked. He was thinking of buying them from the women there to sell in the NCP shop.
Then we loaded up the van and headed out to a village.
We got to ride on the back of the Toyota Caravan things! They took us to a sustainable organic model farm. They’re experimenting with plants and growing in nurseries, composting.
Then we took a ride to the weaving house. There were 5 women total – 2 working on the looms and one walking around observing, them, the other two were setting up the next loom. They earn about $20 a month. I think they don’t keep working when they get married and have a children, because one of the women they mentioned had done just that and didn’t work there anymore.
The fabric was very beautiful and I saw the spool shoot through the machine connecting the pieces together. Then we walked to the village. We passed three big school buildings right outside of town. The children were playing soccer and standing at the windows waving. We passed some boys playing volleyball and the ball rolled within their reach, but they were afraid to come get it because we were walking so close. But Kay tossed it to them and I think they really liked that. We ate lunch in a nursery/preschool. It had the cutest primitive playground equipment in the front. They had the month spin wheel with all the birthdays and names on it, just like you’d see in America. It was so cute!
Western Toilet.
There was a shop across the street that sold the fabric we saw the women making. I bought a piece of red to match Bridgewater, naturally. Then we rode to another model farm where they had classes for students to learn farming techniques to take back to their home area, affected by Nargis. The first person to talk about their situation was a girl with glasses. I thought “Right on, girl!” We introduced ourselves – and we had two farmers in the group. The Burmese noticed that farmers in America are rich, whereas those in Burma aren’t, because we’re able to come to Myanmar.  Then we did a Q and A.
There was a solar eclipse that day. Weeks poked a hole in a leaf and shined the sunlight light through the hole and they were able to see the moon on my shirt. It wasn’t a total eclipse, only a partial.
Then we went to the Patty fields because Sam really wanted to see them. We caravan’d to them. I’m glad we saw them – a group of women were planting seedlings in the fields. The mud made a loud suction-cup noise whenever they moved. Mud was caked on their skin up to their knees. Then we tried to leave and Moe had to go off on a moped to find our bus – it was missing.

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