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Our next stop was to be a dear friend, Po Jaw's home. His wife was due to deliver and we wanted to check on her and meet their other 2 children. We had to navigate a narrow trail where pigs had been wallowing and it was hard staying upright in the mucky mess. We finally came to a house that had one whole wall missing and Donnie said "That's Po Jaw's home." He wasn't kidding when he said his house was falling down! The house is built on stilts on a steep hill so we were able to just perch on the floor through the open wall and keep our muddy feet on the ground outside. Po Jaw's wife came out to meet me for the first time. In all the years I have been over there, we have never had a chance to meet. She is a pretty young woman, very obviously tired of being pregnant and ready for her baby to be born. 6 year old Dove was asleep in a hammock in the corner.

(Photo of Dove)

Po Jaw said he was so excited Pee Tah Thoo was coming to visit, he hadn't wanted to take a nap.

Soon more neighbors started gathering around and another man I had met came over with his wife and 3 children. After visiting a little while, we had to head out for the IDP hostel. We said our good byes and told them I'd be back in a few days.

We then headed on up the hill (I always say "You can't go anywhere in Kawthoolei without climbing uphill!") We reached the top of the cleared area for the camp and Ksah Ka Lu told me this was the IDP hostel area. They have a prime spot right at the base of the sheer rock cliff on a nice flat piece of land. A large dormitory had been built out of split bamboo and leaf and it appeared to be pretty sturdy. It had one large room with a walkway down the center and raised floor on either side. The raised area would be the students' living/sleeping area. It was all open with no dividers, so the mosquito nets would be strung along each side at night when it was time for bed. No nets had yet been purchased, so that would be our first priority. Monsoon season was fast approaching and the malaria bearing mosquitoes will be out in force. The land next to the hostel was being worked up for a garden area. There are no modern gardening tools, so the students were using crude implements and sharp sticks to try to cultivate the soil. I was told there are 20 young boys ranging in age from 11 to 22 years living there right now with more expected. Two weeks later on my last visit there was 38 boys. Ten girls were living in private homes waiting for the girl's dorm to be built. I learned that the fee for sponsoring one of these students is 3,000 baht a year (roughly $66.00). I told Ksah Ka Lu that I would try to get sponsors for $100.00 a year so the children could have better food and an extra set of clothing. As I mentioned earlier, these are all considered IDP children and not registered as refugees. Many of their parents are illiterate and education to them is not a big priority. They have a life and death struggle going on just to survive in Burma. They did not object to their children leaving to try and get an education as long as they didn't have to try and help them. They just couldn't do it. As a parent and grand parent, I tried to put myself in their shoes and feel what they must be feeling. They see their situation as pretty hopeless right now. They see their children reaching an age where they can go out on their own and it must break their hearts to have to tell them good bye, not knowing how they will take care of themselves. When I talked to these brave young people and saw their desire to get an education, my heart went out to them and I promised I would do all I could to let others know of their plight. As I was shown around the area, I kept thinking to myself "$100.00 times 30 students, how can I provide funds for all of them?" Then it came to me . . I CAN'T BUT GOD CAN!

Click Here to see the IDP Hostel Page.

I have had to learn over the years to not just hand out money whenever I saw a need. I would run out of money 2 weeks into a 4 - week trip! I now tell everyone who asks me for help "Give me a list of names or specific need and I'll pray about what God wants me to do about this, if anything". Some times I will get an immediate answer before I ever leave Kawthoolei and sometimes I won't. I never quit praying about that need until God answers "yes" or "no". Each village or camp I visit I see so many needs that it can be overwhelming. For instance, when a young student asked me for money for a school uniform, I gave it to him. When he asked for a watch I hugged him and said "No!" It's amazing how many years it has taken me to learn that one little word! Ksah Ka Lu showed me the well they were drinking from and it was dirty ground water. He said they were boiling all the water but needed to get a better source of drinking water. I told him I would pray about someone to help with that project.