Arriving from the Refugee Camp in Thailand

Arriving from the Refugee Camp in Thailand
The Mying Mying family

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tuesday, December 25

On Christmas Day, Jill returned to the Lams apartment with Dianne and Bob as they brought over a "new" used television. NoSa had told Jill that the old one broke and became "basura" (which is "trash" in Spanish), and when Jill emailed the team, several of our team members offered to bring over a used television for them. The Lams seemed very happy and surprised, too.

It was especially gratifying to see that the girls were actually wearing the outfits Jill had picked out. They solved the problem of the too long pants by rolling them up.

It is clear that Jill has developed a special bond with this family through her consistent presence in their lives. She has a very useful phrase book that makes some translation actually possible! And she has learned some useful Burmese phrases that clearly give great pleasure to the Lam family - it's pretty clear that they feel very honored by her effort. The little girls just flock to Jill, and the whole family really looks to her.

They never seem to be passive recipients of our gifts, but curious and active participants in creating their new life here. They are very polite in greeting and shaking everyone's hand - even the little girls - very polite in saying their hellos and good-byes. They sit on the floor and motion us to sit on the couch. It is clear that they have a pride in treating their guests warmly. They are always enthusiastically grateful.

Can you picture this...
  • Jill sitting on the floor trouble shooting the computer
  • Bob and NoSa also on the floor setting up the tv
  • ZarZar sitting on the floor (7 months pregnant!)
  • ZarZar's dad in a chair off to the side - the patriarch quietly observing the action from the sidelines
  • TinSay crawling in and out of the crib and over the top of the dresser - she's very active
  • ThaZin curled up on the couch next to her aunt (Tin Say and ThaZin carry their Christmas present princess dolls everywhere)
  • ZarZar's mom next to Dianne on the other side on the couch, with her youngest 8 year old daughter (ZarZar's sister) at her side
It was fun to be in that room with everyone. ZarZar's mother is very outgoing - very eager to tell how many brothers and sisters she has here in this country. Of course, this is all done with hand gestures and a (very) little bit of translation by ZarZar's sister and Jill's phrase book, so it would surely be pretty comical to anyone watching from the outside.

ZarZar's sister is still not working. She is the one who lost her papers, so we don't know quite what is going on there. She is also very outgoing and enthusiastic- more like NoSa than like ZarZar (who is more quiet and retiring). Given her little bit of English, she would be a good candidate for a job.

What fun for these amazing volunteers to make Christmas so special for this refugee family from Burma.

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