Who am I kidding? We don’t have TV! We hardly have electricity. But Saturday morning must be occupied somehow. I was up and eating breakfast at 5 AM, then the other teachers and I headed out to get supplies. But there’s no easy 7-11 around the corner to pick up your soap and rice from, so we hit the trail.
2 hours, a mountain and a river later we were at the ‘neighboring’ school where I wasn’t allowed to go any further. My colleagues kept going for another 2 hours to a large-ish village where they could buy rice. One friend and I picked up what we could at that school and headed back.
We arrived back at the river, where the bamboo raft that you use to cross lives on the beach on the OTHER side.
DISCLAIMER: Karen people are strong, loving, determined, smart, and extremely courageous. But they are terrified of swimming. It’s the biggest challenge that our Rangers face.
We don’t speak each other’s languages very well, but her face said it all. ‘Um, you go get it. You’re the one who knows how to swim!’ So I dropped my pack and shoes and dove in, refreshed in the cool river in the already scorching morning heat. I also got to practice my ‘pulling the raft across the river’ skills.
It’s easy to take for granted the food that we have. It’s might be tempting to complain about our two meals a day, lots of white rice with a little bit of veggies and, if we’re lucky, some meat or eggs. But every grain of rice that I eat was carried for 4 hours by one of my colleagues (not to mention all the work it took to plant, grow, harvest, etc). One of my friends woke up at 4 AM (or, like last night, 2 AM so we could be on the road by 6) to boil the water, make the curry, cook the rice, etc. Every grain is a precious gift from God and from my friends.