Sunday 23rd June 2024

Monday, 14th January

We nearly have the hotel breakfast staff fully trained to our needs! They give us fruit, usually papaya, mandarin oranges and bananas and two eggs on bread or three eggs without bread. Martin has a hard-boiled egg and toast with jam and banana. Sometimes the others have rice with chicken and vegetables. They will serve orange juice, fairly nasty stuff with colouring in but thirst-quenching if you have had a beer or four the previous night. What, me? Of course not! And the usual la pe ye on the table with coffee mix brought after breakfast and I always have a second. In previous years other volunteers have donated theirs to me but this time everyone seems to drink it. Huh!

The teaching team is quite simply Absolutely Bloomin’ Cracking – see what I did there! Team A is Joan, Andy and now Danusia; Team B, Martin, Andrea and (formerly Lucy now) Stephen (KMSS); Team C Kate, Mat and Anne when she is able to join us. I generally start off each morning with a group game just to gather as a community (and actually let the stragglers come in and join us) and make any announcements. The team has taken my lesson plans and run with them, developing new ideas and games and exercises. I could not be more pleased or proud and will adapt my future lessons to show these improvements. I love all of you previous team members but practice makes perfect and this is the team which has gelled and worked best together so far. Ahtutu’s Best Collaboration – did you see… Yep, you get it! 😀

Today I went back to the hotel to blog but then got caught up in two different discussions about future plans so only got one day’s blog done – so sorry, I really do try but sometimes there are other priorities.

After heading back to do the morning feedback session, we had our usual delicious lunch and then Anne, Joan, Danusia and I went to the stationery shop, of which more later, and to look for cotton material for Days for Girls to take home. We got a large selection – around £250 worth – in the market to bring home at up to 10 times cheaper than at home. I will discuss with the charity trustees but may sell this at cost to any volunteers who wish to buy it when we return home. I don’t want the charity to be out of pocket but, on the other hand, we are buying for the benefit of the young women here so the money is being used correctly. And they didn’t take Mastercard! Imagine that! We did look for both flannelette and PUL but could find neither. Maybe in Yangon when we return there?

Halfway through our trip Anne took us to her home to meet the beautiful and very gracious Freda, Mr Albert’s wife, and she gave us the most delicious yogurt with ice. She is sweet and gentle and speaks beautiful English. I love their gingerbread cottage in the secret garden so much! Right in the city centre it is a peaceful haven of tranquility. Thank you, Anne.

In the meantime the Napier Team were working with the students on their presentations for Thursday. They are now preparing PowerPoint presentations in mixed ability groups, excellent knowledge and skills for their future employment.

When Joan, Danusia and I returned to the centre we packed 150 hygiene bags for the prison, 70 with no sanitary towels (as we have 70 DfG bags) and the rest with sanitary towels. Or Ladycakes. Marcellinus was helping us pack hygiene bags for Family Home (all boys) on Friday and he saw them and asked with a twinkle in his eye what they were for, were they cakes? Quick as a wink, Joan said yes. So we now refer to them as Ladycakes.

At 5 we set off for a new (to us) centre. A Street Kids Night Shelter which is accessed over the rail tracks in the market I used to run through every morning. Around 30 children are supported both in terms of their need for a place to stay and their education. There are many challenges for these kids who are exposed to all sorts of dangers and will drop out of school without hesitation if they need to earn money doing something on the street. At Anne’s suggestion we donated a whiteboard and pens, paper, drawing books and crayons, writing books, pens and pencils. They gave us coffee and food and we spoke about their needs for the future. Trustees, help!

The team went off to have supper together in dribs and drabs, Joan and Kate did some photocopying and I had an evening of drinks, snacks and catching up with my Myanmar son. Beer may have been partaken! 😀