December 10, 2012

Same Same but Different

The air was cool and heavy with moisture when the rooster finally quit his song. Fog lingered on the limestone cliffs and the thatched roof tops dripped with dew for most of the early morning hours. Eventually the sun would greet the peaks and spread through the fog like fingers reaching in water - rippling and rolling the fog until at long last, the green of the jungle was visible.

Over the past two weeks, I woke up every morning to that beautiful beautiful sight.
 Morning view of the Mt to the east 

Almost the exact same view 3 hours apart
Just to the west, less than a mile as a crow flies, lies the forbidden lands of Burma. And for some, both students and orphans alike, that land just beyond the narrow river, was home.
look it... it's Burma
These last few weeks with my students from NEED-Burma proved to be one of the most memorable times with them. Well, previous students now. Before arriving to the training at Grace Garden with BGET, I began mentally preparing myself for the end of the contract. I left 5 days before the students to return home briefly before meeting them again at the training site. I had hoped leaving early would orientate me to a quieter less hectic life. 

But, when I met up with my students at the training, I realized that I enjoyed the constant intellectual discussions at random hours of the day. I looked forward to hearing "Teasherrrr" without the 'ch' because it is too difficult for some to pronounce. I enjoyed the communal meals and latest gossip in a language I couldn't understand and I loved seeing the students transition into educators. 

The latter is one of the greatest moments in teaching. Watching a student who, just three months before was too afraid to say "hello" in their native language, teaching a room full of students in English - a skill I wish I could claim as having taught them. 

In the past two weeks, I am certain that I witnessed what all educators around the world hope will become of their students - confident, capable, compassionate human beings with a desire to better themselves and the world around them. As an educator, I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn from my students. My brief time with NEED-Burma turned out to be life changing. It is kind of funny really, those who go through BVP always say that their placements are life changing. I guess I am 'same same but different'...?