“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Latest Sunday 11th

Some of my colleages got to go into the delta yesterday. A very poorly
organized American Embassy affiliated van requested a few "white
males", and because they were embassy they were able to get throughthe
many checkpoints that are apparently stopping many other agencies.
More than one person who went was very positive about the situation
saying that the western media had blown it all out of proportion. The
latest 100,000 death toll estimate seemed false, they said, and the
number is more likely closer to the 23,000 government figure. They
viewed each village's manifesto, and while there were many casualties
(one village had 70 out of 1000), things are looking up. They said the
roads all the way had rice drying in many places, and the reason they
had to go so far was because the villages they went through all seemed
prosperous enough with chickens and cows and rice cooking, that it
didn't seem right to give their rice donation to them, and they went
looking for places harder hit. There were many recovering cities in a
similar state to Yangon.

The aid agencies are meeting frequently, and they're very annoyed with
trips like this one, because there were no records taken as to what
they provided each place, and where they actually went, and what the
villages need, so others could arrive with rice to donate, when
instead that particular village could need fresh drinking water. They
hate the independent aid givers, but honestly, it often seems like
they're wrapped up in bureaucracy. This is why the aid communities
frustrate me--so wrapped up in paperwork and permission, and of
course, funding!! Many families of teachers have pledged thousands of
dollars, which will stay within the school's community service club,
but our reach is limited too, especially if we want to keep our visas
for next year.

Anyway, school tomorrow, and it's up in the air what will happen. I'm
trying to have a sale at school for all my stuff, but it won't fit in
a taxi, so has to be left behind to be given away!! So much stuff. I
swear to myself that I will not accumulate as much next time around.
It's better to stay in a small appartment where the stuff doesn't fit
so it's more easily gotten rid of than in a house where every nook and
cranny gets filled!

More news soon, I hope!! I'm trying to post regularly now!

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