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When I arrived in Thailand I was notified by my border contact, Tay Tay, that he was up North visiting his family and wouldn’t be back in Mae Sot until after mid December. He always arranged my transportation and driver to get into Mae La refugee camp about an hour out of Mae Sot. I decided I would try to get into Mae Rah Moo camp while I was waiting for Tay to return to Mae Sot. I called my dear friend, Phu Tah Moo, in Mae Sariang and he invited me to stay with him while making arrangements to get into Mae Rah Moo. Phu is 99 years young and is married to a young Karen girl, Po Po, who I met 17 years ago in a border village. She has been a great help in the past few years. She knows many Thai-Karen young men living in Mae Sariang who drive into MRM camp frequently and are willing to take me into camp.

A young Thai man, Chokchai, (which means “Lucky” in Thai) who we met last 2 years ago in Lampang, has wanted to go into the camps with me for 2 years. He told me when I got to Lampang this trip that he was going with me into the camps for sure this trip. I was really happy to have him go with me. It is always easier to have a Thai speaking travel companion. I have gone by myself many times, but appreciate how much easier it is with someone who speaks the language traveling with me. We made plans to leave on November 24th at 6 am. One option is to hire a truck and driver to take us all the way to Mae Sariang, but I didn’t want to spend the money. The less I spend, the more I can give to the children and families in need. Another option is to take a bus from Lampang to Chiang Mai and catch another bus into Mae Sariang, and therefore I decided to go by bus the entire way.