Guest blog: An Adventure in Burma
Stand by Me supports two schools and four homes in the dusty town of Kalaymyo, Burma. Kalaymyo is surrounded by the beautiful Chin Hills, filled with brave and crazy drivers, home to many gorgeous children, and inhabited by some of the most generous friends in the whole world. My adventure involved four weeks of teaching English at both schools, visiting the Homes, living with my newly adopted Burmese family, riding side saddle on motorbikes, and eating lots of rice. Here are some of my favourite bits...
I was living in the guest room at one of the schools, under the supervision of the school director, Phoebe, and her husband, Josiah, Stand by Me director for North Burma. Their three children became my best friends. Sonia, the youngest, shared everything she had with me, even a yummy and surprisingly fizzy fresh coconut, pictured. Living, eating, laughing and talking with this family taught me so much, especially about living in a way that shows the love of Jesus. One particularly embarrassing lesson involved being presented with a sunflower seed, eating the whole thing and quickly realising sunflower seeds aren’t de-shelled in Burma! They all enjoyed laughing at me as I attempted to politely spit out pieces of shell.
Visiting the homes in Kalaymyo was touching, inspiring and lots of fun. I even had the amazing opportunity to travel north to Tamu and meet my sponsor child. One especially fond memory of Blessings Home was the beautiful Nem Nem, a young girl, possibly close to my own age of 21, who has lived at the home for several years. During my stay, whenever Nem Nem saw me she couldn’t stop herself from smiling. I felt so blessed by her warmth and sunshiney joy. On the sad day of my departure she presented me with two hair bands which I treasure.
Teaching in Burma was a challenging and enjoyable experience. Throughout my stay, I was so encouraged to see so many reserved young people grow in confidence. One reminder of this took place on the day before I left, when I introduced one class to glitter. The students not only decorated their paper Christmas trees, but also each other and me. It may have been the happiest glitter fight Kalaymyo has ever seen.