Thar Paung Part II
Waking to a beautiful sunrise, I’m filled with anticipation. I’m going to Htan Kyun village for EE’s school dedication celebration – woo hoo! My heart is filled with gratitude to our many many donors who made this possible. This is YOUR school too! We’ve all heard ‘it takes a village’ - especially true when constructing a school in these remote villages. All materials must be brought in by boat and strong backs. The school’s concrete feet, raising the level of the school floor to 10 feet to withstand flooding during 6 months of the year, is the first step. The villagers donated land for this school and committed to building and maintaining and nurturing this symbol of hope for their children. They had an old school but the floor was always wet - if not from the rising waters, then from the rain blowing in side ways through gaps in the walls. I hear this school district is a bit unique – local administrators actively support education as a priority. Although not yet officially government certified, our school already has 5 teachers – 3 women and 2 men for grades 1 -5. Forty-three students are currently enrolled, but the number will grow as nearby villagers learn of this glorious school.
Approaching by boat, I hear music and see canal banks filled with people. Eagerly disembarking, I’m totally overwhelmed to see rows of children and parents standing to greet me. A child presents me with a corsage. Our beautiful school is decked out with balloons and streamers – and there are SO many smiling faces. Then, there is a ribbon cutting and speeches - powerful and insightful statements by district administrators, as well as our partner May , a teacher, me, and one of the girl students. There is me giving each student a uniform and school supplies, each child shaking my hand. There is shared food and presents for the students. And there are Mom’s pulling me aside for a photo with our arms wrapped around each other. There was a lot of love in that school. When I left for the return boat, a crowed of children and moms flocked around me, hugging me, smiling, giggling. And the village lined the bank to wave goodbye as we left. So touching. It was most definitely a day to remember.