Gaynor - July 6.
What an amazing day. We didn't know what today would bring, but it has been such a fantastic day. Going to CDC and seeing Say Hai, Myoe Nyunt and the children has been so much more humbling, happy and inspiring than any of us could have imagined.
The journey down was an adventure in itself as we weaved precariously in and out of traffic on our shaky bikes. Great fun, but probably something not to repeat in Scotland. At CDC we called at the nursery, which is in a totally seperate building from the school. The school day had just finished and the kids were lining up to go home. They were in awe of all the white faces and kept very quiet, but not for long as they were soon giggling and having their photos taken.
As we chatted to the teacher and the children, a songthaow (half truck/half minibus) pulled up filled with teenage boys and we were told that the nursery doubles up as a boarding house by night. Where do they all fit into this small building? We left them to do their daily swap and cycled on to the main school.
About 1,200 children attend CDC, a few less than at Musselburgh Grammar, and what amazed me was how small the building is as had imagined it to be far bigger. The children were pouring out of the school, but we could hear drumming and see the kids next to the school in a building with a roof and no walls.
The children, all older ones, were practising Karen dancing. This was amazing to watch as boys and girls danced in the middle of the floor. Lots of younger kids stood around watching and clapping. It was so lovely to see, the kids were all laughing and everyone looked to be really enjoying themselves.
We went off into the teachers' office to speak to Say Hai and Myoe Nyunt and were amazed to see so many photos of Campie along the way. There were even family photos of us that Say Hai had taken while she was in Scotland. But Sheila was pride of place on virtually every wall - the Queen of CDC! That gave us all a good laugh.
We were all chatting when Myoe Nyunt told us that the money to supply food for the boarding houses had stopped as the many funders had decided to send money to Burma instead. He said this in a very matter of fact way, which made it seem even more sad. These people are used to adverse conditions. In the hour we had been there, we had seen these kids living a life thatfew of ours could cope with, yet they all appear happy and content. They consider themselves fortunate as they have a roof over their heads, they have an education and people who are doing their best to look after them. And they are lucky, as on the way to CDC, Sheila and I stopped to see a woman and child searching the bins for scraps.
Later at Say Hai's new boarding house we saw the girls' rooms. They were packed in two to a single bed, which was really a plank of raised hardboard. They have a box each for their belongings. They told us that tonight they were havig morning glory (a type of spinach) and beans for their evening meal. They haven't had spinach for some time due to lack of funds. Again this was said as a matter of fact with no moaning.
This is just awful and so wrong. I am very proud to be taking £1,600 from Campie School, £137 from Judith raised by her children's production of Hits From The Musicals, and £260 that Maya raised from her One World Night.
Like all children, these kids are so special. They can also teach us so much. They are thankful for what they do have, even if it is very little compared to our children, they are happy and eager to learn, but most of all they value what they have so much - their friendships, their education and their love of each other.
Their plight is something deserving of everyone's pity as no child should go without adaquate food, but as individuals they should be applauded for their attitude and determination. What we saw today was as uplifting as it was sad. These children and their teachers are an inspiration to us all.