The room was silent with intent. Glances to see who was in the room and guessing where each person was from was apparent. It was a room of international scale with individual world changers coming together for one purpose. To educate for the purpose of helping better women’s educational and social status. We watched a documentary about the women of Burma which was sponsored by the WE Women Foundation. I have studied women’s rights in several classes, but the knowledge I had been taught came to life in vivid color as the stories of seven individual women came on the screen. Each women came from different areas of Burma and each had a cause to fight for. There are several root issues related to women’s rights in Burma. The majority of the population believes that a women’s place is in the village, not in education. There are women working tirelessly to raise awareness about the need for education. The issue comes for the highland regions, which are hard to reach and do not see the value for women to be educated. We Women Foundation focuses on getting women into higher education. It is the only organization that focuses on Burmese women and higher education. Perhaps the niche of the organization will help it thrive. The question comes if other organizations are willing to partner with We Women to help the cause. What struck me the most was a women who came forward from the back and explained her story in helping women in Burma. I was moved by her intensity towards the situation and her passion for the cause. It troubled me in my thoughts about what I want to do in the future. More so, what I want to do now. The muddled confusion of my thoughts of duty of cause and what I want to do with my life is still spinning in my brain. I have a general idea what I want to do, but watching women my age start organizations to help their people got me thinking what could I be doing now, not in the future. My experience in education seems to be the building of skills for future purpose, but what about now?
After visiting Chiang Mai University, we came back to Doi Saket to eat with the TLCC (Thailand Lahu Christian Churches) students and attend a service where we sang “Trading My Sorrows”. We had to introduce ourselves in Lahu, which was cause for slight embarrassment and giggles. The Lahu introduced themselves in English, which also was cause for giggles. The Lahu students sang an original song and danced for the service. Each Lahu sub group has their own traditional dress, which was beautiful.
The evening came to a quiet end with the cats in the compound following me in my nightly routine. Life does not feel normal yet, but I am already loving the people and loving the area. Time is moving fast and it already feels like I have been here a month. Mentally I am wrestling with concepts of rights, citizenship, and the problems of the Mekong Region. I will never know all the answers, but I seek to find some hope among the brokenness of borders.