Hello from Mae Sot

Giuliana Caredda, Art Teacher, MUSE School, USA

I hope all is well with everyone, missing you all! I am sending you some of my experiences daily on this trip, otherwise I might forget things along the way because there is so much!

Friday was my first encounter with the GM students…As Erin and I pulled up to the school my heart swelled with excitement and a little nervousness. I was so curious to meet everyone and upon seeing their sweet smiling faces I was overwhelmed with emotion. They greeted me with open arms and warm smiles. I immediately felt a sense love from this community.

They were all lined up and anxiously waiting to leave for their field trip to the waterfalls! Yes, I said waterfalls… SO cool! While we waited for the trucks to pull up, I was able to walk the grounds of their school and meet the teachers. They too were welcoming and warm. Erin introduced me to the grounds keeper and his wife who live on campus. There is a garden of cucumber, squash, melon, banana, morning glory and roselle. A working well, cat fish pond… and the pigs of course! Before I knew it we were all packing into the trucks and we were off to visit another school that was joining us on the field trip.

As the caravan of trucks proceeded, I watched the group of girls in my group. Their excitement and joy was palpable and when we finally arrived to our destination, their was a buzz in the hot air. Before swimming, GM school and the other school played some group skill building games/activities and relay races. In total, there were about 150 students circled up, patiently waiting for direction. I was impressed with their attentiveness and when given the instructions, they played as if they had rehearsed it. The game was like musical chairs and as I observed I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face watching them giggle and run around. Then it was time for Erin and I to participate… we were put in the center of the circle, both blindfolded and each had a student placed on our shoulders. The kids were no older than 6 and it was their job to get us safely around the circle using only their hands tapping on our heads and ears. It was so much fun.

Then it was time to cool off in the falls… all the children quickly changed, on their own, and the fun soon began. Teachers also jumped in a swam with their students! I was amazed how that many children maintained the maturity and respect for each other and the land around them. After about an hour, one whistle was blown and everyone was back getting dressed within 5 minutes.

On the way home we stopped for lunch at another fall…gorgeous! The teachers unloaded many large pots of rice, hard boiled eggs, steamed roselle and a type of tomato sauce. Students quietly lined up, dished out servings and passed them along to fellow classmates who were waiting patiently. It was beautiful to watch them enjoy a meal together. After lunch they all picked up garbage littered by other visitors.

It has been one day and I already feel enriched as a person and teacher by spending time with Erin and these amazing students and teachers. This doesn’t even begin to capture my experience. I am so grateful that I am here.

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