More from Bronwyn’s trip last week…

Day 5

Today is a change of pace, off to show John and Viv the actual border area. The River is very high and the bridge is still closed so we watch the long boats, dodging logs being carried down the swift flowing river, bringing the people from Mywaddi Township to Thailand to visit relatives, to purchase food and visit the clinic.  With a long day ahead we only stayed an hour, then set off to drive the “Death Highway” as it is nicknamed, to Umpium Refugee Camp where the housemother and our intrepter were waiting to meet us.

Slow going with the heavy rain, we arrived at the camp at 3.30pm, and carefully walked through the muddy pathways to Du Pla Ya Boarding house. It was good to see the kids, the boarding house, as always was neat and clean but cool, and after school the kids were huddled around the coal cooking fire to keep warm. While I worked with the housemother on the budget and concerns currently worrying the boarding house, John and Simon set up teams with the boys for a football match. At 4.30pm we were on the road again, continuing down to Umphung where we were to spend the night.

Day 6, 7, & 8

We are having three days off work. The aim is to see the Thi Lu So Waterfall, the most beautiful waterfall in Thailand. During the wet season when the waterfall is at it’s most beautiful, access is via trekking only. Our program included rafting, trekking, camping, staying in a Karen Village and elephant riding. Fortunately there was very little rain over the three days, and most of that fell during the night, however the ground was still soggy and muddy. It was a weekend of fabulous scenery, hard walking, fun and adventure. The four hour elephant trek was a highlight – we rode on the bull elephant, John and Viv on the mother, and the calf, who we nicknamed “Little Bulldozer, walked between us as we climbed up the steep hills, and dropped down the cliff faces. A trip well worth considering if you love adventure! Driving back to Mae Sot on Monday we called back to Du Pla Ya Boarding House to collect some items left with them on Friday.

Day 9

Today is the last day, completing the trip. The rain is now over, so it is easier to take photos again at Hway Ka Loke School. We had a final meeting with the teachers, made sure the new Internet system was working properly, completed some paperwork, and said our goodbyes to the students.

The school had had a visit over the weekend by a group of generous people from Norway who left the school with some supplies for hygiene packs, and a washing machine! The housemother of the small kids boarding house washes for 57 children every day by hand so was delighted!  Now though, the wiring for the house will need to be upgraded before the washing machine can be installed, so as we left the headmaster was starting to get quotes. The new boys boarding house will be completed at the end of this week, weather dependent.  Exciting times for eighty boys who will move into the new dorms, and a long drive ahead for us to return to the other side of Thailand.