What began as a learning conversation (three of our students needed to learn a little more about acceptable and unacceptable behavior at a Christian school) ended in scheming new ways for them to learn English. Together we decided to institute an “English only” day until after we finished eating dinner. The “punishment” for speaking Karen? Those “naughty” students would sing us a special music in English before being allowed to speak Karen for the evening.
They tried, oh, how they tried! But when it came time to sing special music, all twelve students stood sheepishly before us in our living room. We laughed and told them it was okay because if the roles were reversed, we’d be singing, too! The little group looked forlornly at one another, wondering what in the world they were going to sing to us when Momo offered to teach them their special music. They agreed, and after hearing the song twice, and laughing heartily at the meaning, they sang it to us with gusto. Moo Cheh even decided she was going to translate it into Karen for when they institute a “Karen only” day and we need to sing to them (the translation is complete, by the way…and I know how to sing it, too)! So, for your amusement, I decided to include the words so you can enjoy our special music, too:
“I’m very naughty, I’m very naughty;
I’m naughty, naughty, naughty, naughty, naughty.
I’m very naughty, I’m very naughty;
I spoke ကညီ ကျိာ် today!”
(Guh Nyaw Gloh – Karen Language)
Life in the jungle is very good. I’ve actually been struggling to know what to write about, since everything seems so normal to me. We just go about living our daily lives, accomplishing our daily tasks – most of them exactly the same as what you do. We cook, eat, sleep, work, play, bathe, wash our laundry, work in the garden or on special projects, get firewood, clean our house, and run errands. I guess the only difference is how we accomplish our tasks, but the methods have become so normal to me I hardly think of them as unique anymore – except when I visit the U.S. on furlough.
And yet our lives are never boring. Just last week Jason climbed the ladder into the house where Momo and I were working on projects. From his pockets he pulled a large quantity of jungle mangos. We were ecstatic and promptly decided to go pick more with the intentions of making fruit leather. So, with several students, Momo, Meme, Memewah, Destiny, and I headed upriver to the mango trees. Moo Yer climbed into the huge mango trees and cut mangos for us with his machete. We gathered the mangos into a large rice bag as they fell to the ground. But Moo Yer didn’t stop there; he also climbed several coconut trees and we returned home with the front end of the boat loaded with young coconuts, too! As we watched the coconuts fall to the ground, Memewah shouted with great glee, “Ka-poom! Ka-Poom! KA-POOM!” I couldn’t help smiling at her version of “Ka-boom!”
On our way home, Moo Yer steered the boat to shore. Several students had found a mother owl with four babies in the nest and wanted to show them to us. Moo Yer climbed the tree, and, to our surprise announced that the mother and two of the babies were gone. Surveying the situation, we decided the mother had abandoned the two remaining babies, and so we decided to bring them home. We turned our newest babies over to Soo Sah who has raised owls in the past.
The school building is nearly finished. I was amazed at how quickly such a large building could be raised. After the ground was leveled (that took the longest of anything), the posts went in one day. The next day all the framework was completed. The following day we cancelled school so everyone could help as the roof went on the main part of the building.
All I can say is that God is so good to us!