Tuesday, July 21, 2009
It's Wednesday morning. We arrived at about 10:30 p.m. last night, and had no problem meeting up with the rest of our group. Even meeting up with the rest of the Kennewick people at Seatac went very smoothly. Without very much coordination they arrived at the airport about a minute after we did. I introduced Lois to Jim Mather, they emptied the luggage, and Lois took off in his van. We were very disappointed that Jeanne Beretta didn't make the trip with us. Saturday morning a family emergency came up in Oklahoma that she really felt she needed to attend to, so at this point she's not with us. We'll see if she's able to connect with us at some point. The trip was uneventful, but very long. We were on the airplane for about 16 hours total. And Thailand is hot and muggy.
Today we'll be going to Ethnos Asia. At this point I don't know anything about what they do there, but I know that we're going to leave the 'mule' bags that we brought over there. ..After breakfast we went up to Roger's room where he exchanged money for us. He was going through a lot of money very fast, and I was glad to leave some of the cash I'd taken along for the refugees with him...Basically a dollar is worth 34 baht, or something that costs 100 baht costs about $3.00 American money. I have to practice that exchange rate in my head or else everything seems incredibly expensive. On the plane on the way over the guy next to me said that you can get a really good massage in Bangkok for $5.00 or less. That might be nice after we've stayed at the refugee camp for a few nights.
This morning I turned over money to Roger from some of the Karen people in Kenn. And I spoke with him about trying to contact some of their friends when we're up north. I want to give you an introduction to some of them as I'm able to here in this blog. Today I'll tell you a little bit about Htoo Htoo. He's a young man of about 22 who came alone and lives with 3 other single guys in an apartment. I might not have all the facts exactly right, but he left his family when he was about 17 to live in the refugee camp and go to school there. Before that time he had been conscripted by the Burmese soldiers to carry their supplies--I think he was about 16 at that time. The Burmese army never fed him and when he finally collapsed they left him for dead. He made it back home, and finally back to the refugee camp. Htoo Htoo was the first Karen person I helped get a driver's license, and in April he quit his job at Tyson to take the NAC course at CBC. I'm telling you about him so you can pray for him. He didn't pass the state test the first time he took it, and only has 2 more chances. Htoo Htoo is a hard worker, and we're confident that he can pass it, but prayer would be a big help. He retests somewhere between July 29 and 31. When we go to the town near the refugee camp, I'm supposed to try and make contact with HtooHtoo's brothers, who are at a school in Mae Sot. I'm not sure how long it's been since he's had any contact with them.
Tonight at 11 p.m. we leave for Calcutta. I'll write about that eperience later. I can't think of anything else to write since my brain is still somewhat fuzzy from the trip.