Monday, November 29, 2004

From the Hills

The geckos are singing on the walls above my head and the frogs are croaking in the pond outside. It's nearly imposible to believe that yesterday I was in the steamy, crowded concrete jungle of Bangkok. Tonight I am in a community nestled in the hills outside of Chiang Rai in the north of Thailand. It's chilly and rain has been falling since the afternoon.

Last week my visa for India was finally processed. I accidently showed up one day late to pick it up and that led to a mini-crisis. It was not so easy for the embassy staff to locate my application amongst the tower piles of paper littering the floor and covering all the desks. Eventually it was found and my passport was taken away and given back again without any more problems. Free to leave Bangkok at last!

I'll be spending the next two weeks working on projects with The Mirror Art Group. The group works with the local hill tribe communities. They have a variety of interesting projects that I'm just learning about myself. You can learn more about the issues confronting Thailand's hill tribes and what Mirror Arts is doing to help by clicking on the link above.

While I'm here I'll be teaching some English classes and preparing materials for the other teachers to use. Tomorrow's big task is making alphabet flashcards. The students I'm meeting this weekend are just starting to learn the alphabet. They learned A-D last weekend and had E for homework. I'm planning to go over the lowercase letters for A-E and teach them the letter J. All the students have names that begin with J and so do I. Under the circumstances it seems like an important enough letter for us to skip ahead a little bit. Otherwise they can't make nametags and I won't remember who's who.

Time to sleep under the gecko chorus.


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