Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Country Mouse

February 1, 2011

3:26 PM

I just finished teaching Malek—the head care mother here. What an incredible woman she is. After we read through a small book called “Country Mouse and Town Mouse,” she told me that she was a country mouse—she did not like the noise and business of the town. I laughed with her about that, and then we continued with our reading. I’ve been reading her “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.” We got half way through chapter two today. I stop a lot to explain words and plot to her…but over all she understands pretty well. Today when we finished reading she told me that she enjoyed the story—it reminds her of when she would climb in bed with her Grandmother and her grandmother would tell her stories that had been passed down for generations. I asked more about Malek’s life and she told me stories about walking to school. Her high school was several hours away in another village, but education was important to her father, so she would make the trek to learn. She couldn’t walk on the roads because they were covered in landmines, so she would trek for a full day through the jungle and then stay in the village for a few days to attend school before trecking back home.

She also told me about the pits that existed in every Myanmar home—a hiding place for when the soldiers came. She told me about being awaken in the middle of the night to the sound of shooting—she wasn’t awake enough to find the door in the floor that led to the pit, so as the soldiers were shooting at her house, she cowered in the corner. She said that after awhile it grew completely quiet, and she wondered if she were dead…after sitting for a few more minutes she realized that the soldiers must have left. She quickly found the pit and stayed there for the remainder of the night. She says it was the worst when they had to hide in the monsoon season. The pit would be muddy and full of mosquitoes—she says she was always afraid that there would be snakes slithering through the mud.

It is a bizarre experience to become friends with someone who has such a different background from me. At home, we don’t like walking to the school half a mile away because it’s too hot—imagine walking for a full day in the jungle to avoid being blown to bits.

Malek expressed to me her gratitude for being able to live here at Baan Unrak and learn English—she says she hopes that one day when the situation is less scary in Burma, she hopes to return to her village and teach them everything she has learned. Again, what an incredible woman.


  1. Malek sounds incredible--someone I would love to meet. Are you going to share her picture?! What a perspective.

  2. Kimber,
    I really love reading your blog. You are a great writer and describe your adventures so well. I almost feel like I'm there...

    And I love you happy attitude. You are awesome.

    Thanks for sharing your adventures with us!

  3. I don't even know where to begin. Part of me feels like I've just watched an episode of MASH because her story is so foreign.

    I'm glad you didn't have to grow up with that. And as for her, she sounds so full of kindness despite her circumstance... wow.

    Have you given her a hug lately?