Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Notes from the field

Do you ever wonder if other tutors are having experiences similar to yours? One of the great delights of my job is reading the stories sent to me by tutors each month. This month, volunteer Jean Clark shared some of her recent experiences. Jean is pictured here, modeling a traditional Karen shirt she received as a gift from her students.--SM

The fun and learning continue--on both sides. Ma Ho, all of a sudden, decided to teach me some Karen words. Oh, have we laughed. I love it. I made sure to know many of them when I arrived today, which they got a real kick out of. I just thought that it was a sign of respect for them for me to do so. Now, we're really into it so that I can test them in English as I "say" the Karen word.

My book club (my tennis, golf buddies who are all retired teachers) is getting such a kick out of my stories that they have adopted them to give them things. When I arrive with my bags of goodies, the ladies have so much fun going through them. They make piles which, I'm sure means that they have people in mind that they will give things to. Moo Na's daughter in law is wonderful and helps me to cart things up the 4 flights of stairs. They have a car so I got a great car seat. She also needed a vacuum that I brought today from another friend. All of my friends have grandchildren so I'm pushing to get clothes and toys from them. I've gotten a lot of books for the kids from Goodwill--I get a Sr. discount and I also got them a globe--out of date, Burma is still Burma and Russia is still the USSR but it seemed to be a revelation for them to spin it between Burma and the US.

After much prodding and hand holding, Moo Na wrote her name for the very first time on an official document. She wanted to make her usual, X, but I wouldn't let her now that she is able to do it.

Ma Ho can write her name and address and can give me accurately, any amount of money that I ask for. She is so smart.

They are the dearest people. As you can imagine, the door to the apt is always open and I include everyone who walks in the door. I had a food tasting the other day---Apple, peach, plum etc. I asked Moo Na for a knife to divide everything up. She appeared with a very large machete that was very old and worn. I don't even want to know where that's been. I have extra sharp knives that I'll bring over.

I'm a part of these three families and love every minute of it.

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