Outhouses, computer labs, and landmines
Trip Start Jul 18, 2007
4Trip End Jul 26, 2007
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
I just went to the bathroom in a bamboo outhouse with no running water, but there's a computer lab! My thoughts could go one of two directions from here: these people are either incredibly resilient and determined to make the best of a very bad situation, or they're just extravagant.
I believe it is the former. This camp was established in 1997. The 4,000 people that live here are not allowed to leave the camp to enter Thailand. They can either go back to Burma (not a very safe option considering the landmines, burning villages, and Burmese military goons eager to shoot them or worse); or they can take their chances at starting a new life in one of 33 countries around the world that will accept them. They're stuck within the confines of this camp, and they can either curse the lemons or make lemonade. When I look at these kids learning to use computers in a computer lab I see lemonade all over the place.
After hiking up a big hill, we enter another classroom. About 40 kids stand to greet us. This is the group of kids who live in the home for orphaned children that is supported by God's Kids.
At home, our staff spends countless hours in meetings, in our offices, on the phone, on the radio, meeting people for lunch, creating websites and brochures and letters... all for this - to see that these kids, the kids in this room, are doing ok; to see that they're well fed, happy, educated, cared for, and shown the love of Jesus. This is the end of the production line for God's Kids. To see them face to face is indescribable.
After talking with her and her teacher, I find out that she's relatively new to the camp. She's fourteen years old, and just a few months ago she was in Burma with her parents. She went out to pick vegetables from her parent's garden and stepped on a landmine.
It's easy to see when walking around the camp that this is not uncommon. Many people - children and adults - are hobbling on crutches, and several of the teenagers that we come across wear t-shirts that read, "Say no to landmines." Landmines are a part of their lives like flat tires and fender benders are part of mine.
We spend some more time at the camp, seeing people and kids. But the rest of our day is spent thinking about that 14-year-old girl who stepped on a landmine in her vegetable garden. I keep thinking, "I'm going to go home; she's going to stay here." For some reason, it's a strange thought for me. As if after seeing her sitting there with her blown up leg, how could I go back to my normal life again.