The whole time I was at Mae Ra Moe I kept thinking EVERYONE WOULD LOVE THIS! It was an absolutely incredible experience! I wish I could bring all my family members and every person I care about to teach at the refugee camp. We learned so much and were treated with an enormous amount of generosity. We have the highest regard for the Karen people we met, they were honest and kind and there was wonderful a sense of community.
Troy and I taught for 3 weeks at High School 3 and we stayed with the kindest girls (in the picture above). Teachers, students and neighbors were so excited that we were there and so eager to try to speak with us. Little kids followed us all around the camp and so many people invited us to eat with them in their homes. We felt like we made so many friends and we felt very safe and looked after.
Many people are shy and maybe a little nervous to try speaking to you in English, so definitely encourage and praise their attempts. Education is highly valued and the students are eager to learn. Definitely try to encourage your students to speak English out loud and do your best to boost their confidence. Our students had learned all their English from textbooks, not from English speakers. Building listening skills and getting students to speak out loud is great.
Troy and I were able to raise a little money before we came and bring some school supplies. It was awesome to see a need that we could so easily help with. Our high school was extremely delighted and the kids were just so happy to get a new pen and pencil.
We were fed so well and the meals were really delicious! All the food was generously given to us from the Karen refugees. I personally, would recommend bringing a small gift or leaving a little money behind to cover some of the costs of food for whoever is hosting you.
This was the best thing we have ever done! I highly highly recommend this work away and stay as long as you can! All of the volunteers and I wished we could stay longer. Even despite the language barrier, we really feel like we made friends for life here.
Troy and Kiri