Friday, November 14, 2008

Notes from the field

A is for "apple." But, what's an apple?

Wa Kyi and I have worked on some very basic conversational language, numbers to 100, telling time, and days of the week, and now we're working on money.

As I teach new material, I keep being reminded of how many prerequisite skills there are to learn (like reading a clock or a calendar, or doing mental math, or grasping the concepts of coins and bills) before we can really get into the new language...Today I got to try some wonderful Burmese food and learned the words for fried rice, cake, water, and delicious in Karen.
--Erin Gotwals

Still waters and relative progress
Moo Na...has been the most quiet of my little group. Today when I got there, she was alone and she took the time to show me her "stuff". She walked across the floor and said, "I am walking." We got to the kitchen and she turned on the light and said, "the light is on"--turned it off and said, "the light is off." Turned on the water and said, "the water is on"--turned it off, "the water is off."

This is the first time that she has really come out of herself and wanted to "show off". I was so touched. She and her husband lived in a village in the mountainous region of Burma and owned two elephants and a number of water buffalo. The Burmese soldiers killed her husband and stole her money. His brother came and took all of the animals and left her destitute with her son being only about 8 years old. I'm sure that you've heard all of the stories and wept. This touched me so deeply.
--Jean Clark

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