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North/Central Border-Thailand..... Need Your Pearls of Wisdom
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  1. #1
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    happy North/Central Border-Thailand..... Need Your Pearls of Wisdom

    Dear all: My youngest daughter is bent on heading to the Thai/Burma border to do volunteer work (or.. could be internship) with an organization called Burma Border Projects. They have a group within the organization called Social Action for Women. This is the group my daughter is supposed to go work with, assisting with women and children. From what I gather so far, she's going to be responsible for her housing (better be cheap! ), food, and misc essentials.

    So... as I'm totally ignorant about Thailand, I figured I'd better do my homework AND get a network of folks in place, just in case.

    I'd greatly appreciate any and all input from you all... no detail is too small.
    Thanks in advance
    PitterPat

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    Re: North/Central Border-Thailand..... Need Your Pearls of Wisdom

    Welcome to the Forum, Pat.
    I had a look at Burma Border Projects website and it seems you daughter is going to a small border town called MAE SOT. I have not been there myself-yet. The town is on the border and its main claim to fame is that it is an important centre for dealing gemstones -rubies sapphires etc. It also is a stopover for tourists on the way to Umphang for rafting and trekking -so she is likely to see some western people during her stay.
    Nearby are refugee camps of people displaced by the military government of Burma/Myanmar -the Karen-also called Kaliang or Yang- people are the majority. There are about half a million Karen in Thailand -not all are refugees -some have been in Thailand for 300 years. The Karen are good farmers with respect for the land and the men are renowned throughout Thailand for their skills with elephants.
    I have had some contact with the Karen and they are a peaceful, friendly and polite people, distinguished by the fact that the Women, rather than the men, are traditionally dominant, particularly in the area of household finances etc. This is probably why your daughter is going to be involved more with the women and children than the men, as there are several projects underway to assist Karen women make an independant living -mainly handicrafts. I note that Dr Cynthia Maung, featured on the website, is herself Karen.
    Lots of info on MAE SOT on the internet, but mainly from a tourist perspective. Hopefully other Forum members can tell you more than I can.

    P.S. Check out "Burma Border Projects" in "Google" -brings up a lot more besides on the politics and the problems of the peoples your daughter is going to be living with.

    For more good info on Thailand and its culture, go to this Forums "sister site":
    http://www.thai-blogs.com/
    Last edited by Khun Don; 02-09-06 at 05:34 PM.

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    Re: North/Central Border-Thailand..... Need Your Pearls of Wisdom

    Thank you SO much for your reply.
    The more I learn, and the more I talk (type) with folks, the better I feel.
    You can be sure I'll continue to research things. The program in Mae Sot looks impressive.... My main concern is for her safety.

    With many thanks
    Pat

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    Re: North/Central Border-Thailand..... Need Your Pearls of Wisdom

    I forgot to ask...
    Where in the UK are you?
    My hubby is a Yorkshireman... need I say more?

    Pat

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    Re: North/Central Border-Thailand..... Need Your Pearls of Wisdom

    What do you like best the pudding or the terriers??

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    Re: North/Central Border-Thailand..... Need Your Pearls of Wisdom

    Quote Originally Posted by PitterPat
    Thank you SO much for your reply.
    The more I learn, and the more I talk (type) with folks, the better I feel.
    You can be sure I'll continue to research things. The program in Mae Sot looks impressive.... My main concern is for her safety.

    With many thanks
    PatI forgot to ask...
    Where in the UK are you?
    My hubby is a Yorkshireman... need I say more?

    Pat
    Hi Pat,
    Being part of a local and established and seemingly very responsible organisation, your daughter will probably be far safer than if she was a tourist visiting alone -not that I am aware of any dangers in the area currently.

    I'm a southerner-but lived in Hull and the surrounding area for 3 years -wish it could have been longer -I still drink "Yorkshire Tea" 20 years later !

    FIP -I prefer the pudding -the terriers are a bit too stringy for my taste !

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    Re: North/Central Border-Thailand..... Need Your Pearls of Wisdom

    Hi PitterPat,

    I have been to MaeSot and it is pretty much a safe place. English is more spoken here as there are more Burmese around especially in the morning market. As Burma (or Myanmar) was under British mandate until 1947 (I think), there are good English speakers around, especially the 50-somethigs.

    Burma has been a good source for doctors for Malaysia, even in the 70's until Pakistanist doctors took over. Now a lot of Pakistanis doctors have been kickout due to lack of professional abilities.

    I have written a blog on it. http://www.thai-blogs.com/index.php?...&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

    KhunChin In Kuala Lumpur

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    Re: North/Central Border-Thailand..... Need Your Pearls of Wisdom

    PitterPat,

    I have a lady Burmese friend in SangkhlaBuri which is south of Maesot. She works for an NGO, NeoHumanist. Please PM me if you need to talk on a phone to a Burmese (she is a Mon).

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