Min-ga-la-par! That’s “Hello!” in Burmese, which we learned last week during the end of our Thai language and culture course. We had the chance to visit a migrant Burmese community last week in Rangsit, and it was such a heartwarming experience being able to spend time with the children of many migrant workers in the local community.
The past couple of days in class we’ve been discussing human rights issues surrounding many of the Burmese migrant workers who come to Thailand to work, in addition to how the majority of Burmese children come over undocumented and are considered stateless. As stateless persons, these individuals are denied many citizenship rights and impacts their access to health services, education, physical security and other government services. We also learned that there are between 10-15 million stateless people worldwide (meaning these persons do not belong to a country), and over 10% of Myanmar’s population is made up of stateless people, which is a significant number considering that Myanmar only makes up .7% of the world’s population.
Over the next couple of weeks, our class will touch upon more topics related to border mobility and healthcare of border populations, and I’m eager to learn more about how we can apply these measures to our fieldwork during the last couple weeks of our program.
As soon as we arrived at the Burmese community in Rangsit, we were warmly welcomed by the children, whom we were told had been eagerly awaiting us all day.
Many of them were shy at first, but the excitement of the children was definitely undeniable. One of the girls even taught us the Burmese alphabet!! (Picture c/o V. Tran)
There’s the little Burmese boy who is supposedly the most active out of all of his classmates (according to his teacher), and then there’s Maggie looking all excited (maybe a little creepy?) in the back! (Picture c/o V. Tran)
The teacher (wearing the blue pants) was super friendly and welcoming, and he explained his Burmese background and how he was truly passionate about teaching and working with these kids. They led us to the other side of the community to interact with all of the other Burmese migrants.
Walking through the streets of their community.
I can’t remember the name of the game they were playing, but they explained it as being very similar to a game in Thailand where you kick the ball back and forth (kind of like hackysack, but with a ball).
Many of the Burmese women prepared a meal for us, and one of my favorite parts of this trip was being able to cook alongside these women and serve the local community. Preparing, cooking and eating these meals all together definitely brought a sense of closeness.
Time to eat!
Delicious noodles with soup and some cabbage and bean sprouts, with a side of fried calabash squash and some sour dipping sauce.
The calabash squash is coated in some flour mixture before entering the fryer.
Jessica also took over some frying duties!
Love this picture and how adorable they are just happily eating their meal.
Eating all together with our group after some tiring activities of soccer and running around with the kids.
Absolutely adore this picture of Jenna with the kids. (Picture c/o V. Tran)
The teacher that was teaching us about the community/teacher of the local school with his son!! Can’t get over this cuteness overload. (Picture c/o V. Tran)
One of my favorite pictures that Vi took during this trip is of Vanessa happily playing tag with all of the kids and their excitement over tagging her! (Picture c/o V. Tran)