Tuesday, September 16, 2008

News from Montfort College, Chiangmai

Hope your first few weeks of school have gone smoothly. I can't tell you how great it feels to know that everyone is back in school as I have been teaching since the middle of July and am soon to be on break. It is still monsoon season here and the rains have been like no other than I have experienced before. It is a lot of fun to sit and watch out over the river during a storm.

Teaching bilingual science to the boys can be a challenge when I am teaching without my Thai teacher. Fifty-four students in a class is hard to handle. Luckily it is only on rare occasions that I am left alone with them. They don't mess around with a Thai teacher in the room. My favorite times are working in the computer lab classes a week and teaching conversational English to other teacher is also fun.

One of my favorite adventures so far was our trip to the border school. It is one of the queen's special projects for the hill tribe living on the border of Burma. (Myanmar) This is where my son Toby will be a volunteer and spend a few months up there. We traveled for about two hours by van and turned onto a dirt road for another half hour up into the mountains. The school is in a valley surrounded by mountains and vibrant green forests. About thirty students attend the school and are of all ages from about five to eighteen. The children were all dressed up and ready to greet us when we arrived.

Our Montfort boys brought each student a large bag of rice. The people of the village are very poor. The people of the village have been taught to grow cash crops like corn in the place of what they used to grow in the past. It was a great trip and I would like to volunteer a week up there myself. I am learning how to cross the street without getting hit and this is no easy task. I usually walk to school each morning which takes me around fifteen minutes.

Most times people will stop and offer me a ride when they see the uniform or the Montfort shirt. This can be embarrassing if they stop on a motorcycle and you are wearing a skirt. The women here ride sidesaddle in skirts and dresses on these small bikes and they hold on to nothing. They must have exceptional balance. I had to tell the man I preferred to walk because I knew that if I tried toride that way, we would have ended up in an accident and that would not have been pretty.

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