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Chris heads to Thailand for an adventure

June Journal from Noh Bo Academy School for Karen Students, Burmese Border Region, Thailand by Chris Carey-Smith   

Update 04 July 13

The Journey 

I spent four days in Bangkok at Christ Church (Anglican), which supports the projects in the Border region with Karen people. This was a good introduction to Thai culture, food stalls, shopping and temples along the river. 

I took a day-long bus to Mae Sot where I had my last night of luxury (and internet good enough to Skype well). The drive to Noh Bo was interesting as we saw rural Thailand, forests and mountains. We also drove past Mae La Refugee Camp which is very established over a few decades. 

The students at the school range from 12 to 24. They all seem lovely gentle young people. They are friendly as their English allows and participate in all things, including many Christian programmes outside of class. I was invited to a student's birthday party at a local village home on my first weekend. They are all Karen, mostly from Burma but some from the local Thai village. Many come from the refugee camp, or have family in Burma. 

The staff are Karen, also quietly spoken but friendly. There are two other volunteers here at the moment, an Australian couple with many years of experience. Teams from many countries are coming during the months I am here. The local village people have little English so communication is difficult. 

For the rest of Chris' journal including more photos, please click here.

Update: 23 May 2013

Reverend Chris Carey-Smith is abandoning Wellington's cold wet weather in June and is heading to the warm climes of Thailand for six months to teach and help out in a school for refugees. Chris will be teaching English and possibly technical subjects such as Science, Maths and Religious Education. He may also become involved in resourcing the school, boarding hostels, orphanage and the refugee camp. 

Chris will be living in the village in a bamboo hut with a mattress on the floor, with his food being provided by the school. The Church Missionary Society is helping Chris get to Thailand. 

Chris has no previous experience of Thailand or third world countries, so there are many unknowns and challenges in store for him! 

Noh Bo Academy School, see is a Christian Mission boarding school set up to provide a Christian secondary education for Karen young people. The Karen people are a dispossessed group from Burma (Myanmar), and most of them are Christians. The school is supported by the Anglican Church of Thailand based in Bangkok. Noh Bo Academy is in the village of Noh Bo which is 1.5 hours (110km) north of Mae Sot on the Thai/Burma border.

There are about 100 boarding students and 78 day students. The age of the students ranges from 11 to 25 years, and the majority of them come from Mae La RefugeeCamp. Some students come directly from Burma to board while their parents are detained, or from Noh Bo Village. 

The school's biggest challenges are finding volunteer English teachers and maintaining motivation in the students when their future beyond their time at the school is unknown (most students are likely to return to Mae La Refugee Camp).

Page updated: 25 July 2013

No reira waiho ko te aroha o Te Matua Kaha Rawa hei korowai mou.
May the love of Almighty God enfold you!