LIFE SE ASIA MAGAZINE

As a single parent with a 9yr and 5 yr old your lifestyle changes. I now for the time less time to explore and research.

So instead on reviews and places to explore will write about my experience as an expat. Divorced from a legal marriage, custody battle and navigating education system here as a non Thai reader or speaker.

So my magazine take a sight detour for now.

Will still write and try to bring awareness of human trafficking.

Will show case my photography as a source of income for us.

Located here in Phuket, Thailand. Serves a great need and we happy to support. Hope you too will support by sharing, volunteer, or donations.

Asia Center Foundation (ACF) helps disadvantaged children through different programs from 3 to 18 years old. From a pre-school, to sports programs, ACF enables children to develop themselves in many ways.

Why are so many children out of school?

Children who live in extreme poverty face many barriers to education including:

  • Child labor or having to work to add to the family income, or care for younger siblings
  • Low family income and therefore inability to afford school fees or supplies
  • Disruptive family circumstances (death, divorce, children left with grandparents)
  • No birth certificates

What is ACF doing to help disadvantaged children gain access to quality education?

Asia Center Foundation created many programs to help children and their parents deal with difficult situations for Thai and Burmese children from 3 to 18 years old. These include:

  • The Patong Childcare Center for 3 to 6 year old children from Patong and Kathu area provides them a safe, secure environment where they can learn (many for the first time) to follow a set routine, to obey rules, to develop their creativity and to behave in a social environment with children of their age.
  • Scholarship Program for children between 7 to 18 in the Phang Nga and Phuket provinces provides support and encouragement to families facing financial and social problems whose children benefit from the scholarship program.
  • Full care in a “safe house” called Ban Sii Som for children whose home environments are not safe or suitable for children.
  • JumpStart Learning Center for Burmese children who come from at-risk and poor families and for various reasons, who cannot attend Thai government schools.
  • The ACF Youth Program that focuses on Primary school students varying between the ages of 8 and 12 serves as a platform for life skills training, leadership and sports development.

Contact

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Impetigo or school sores

Common especially with children in school. Here in Thailand i have seen some very bad cases in children that can leave scares the rest of their life. Poor or village children i have seen the worst cases. Today had to send my children friends away because they had it. The boy could not go to school his case was so bad.

Source is the Mayo Clinic

Overview

Impetigo (im-puh-TIE-go) is a common and highly contagious skin infection that mainly affects infants and children. Impetigo usually appears as red sores on the face, especially around a child’s nose and mouth, and on hands and feet. The sores burst and develop honey-colored crusts.

Treatment with antibiotics is generally recommended to help prevent the spread of impetigo to others. It’s important to keep your child home from school or day care until he or she is no longer contagious — usually 24 hours after you begin antibiotic treatment.

Symptoms

Classic signs and symptoms of impetigo involve red sores that quickly rupture, ooze for a few days and then form a yellowish-brown crust. The sores usually occur around the nose and mouth but can be spread to other areas of the body by fingers, clothing and towels. Itching and soreness are generally mild.

A less common form of the disorder, called bullous impetigo, may feature larger blisters that occur on the trunk of infants and young children.

Causes

You’re exposed to the bacteria that cause impetigo when you come into contact with the sores of someone who’s infected or with items they’ve touched — such as clothing, bed linen, towels and even toys.

Prevention

Keeping skin clean is the best way to keep it healthy. It’s important to wash cuts, scrapes, insect bites and other wounds right away.

To help prevent impetigo from spreading to others:

  • Gently wash the affected areas with mild soap and running water and then cover lightly with gauze.
  • Wash an infected person’s clothes, linens and towels every day and don’t share them with anyone else in your family.
  • Wear gloves when applying antibiotic ointment and wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
  • Cut an infected child’s nails short to prevent damage from scratching.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Keep your child home until your doctor says he or she isn’t contagious.

I learned about the school and the need when a friend ask me to join her to go to Pak Ping Church in Phang-Nga Thailand.  Located just north of Phuket Island. She was giving the sermon that morning. If you are at Khao Lak for a holiday , they speak english so a friendly place for tourist.

But today I want to write about Khao Lak Christian Bilingual School Project which Pak Ping Church is building.  Their goal and the need for the school. 

We support this project. Please donate if possible and share the information.

There is a preschool there now but in process of building a primary English language school.

Contact information

The project school website

Their Facebook page .

For a google map click here 

Watch “Khao Lak Christian Bilingual School” on YouTube

Setting Forth: SKOPE’s first projects

Lemon in Cambodia

Part of my role as SKOPE coordinator is to identify rural schools which may benefit from our projects. This is harder than it sounds because there are so many obstacles. The first one is language. Although I have weekly Khmer lessons, I am unable to easily have flowing conversations, especially about specific topics such as whether a school’s well is in good working order. I don’t even know the word for well. The second obstacle is the fact that I’ve chosen to focus SKOPE’s attention on rural schools, ergo they’re not near where I live and usually involve long journeys into unknown areas of the country. Thirdly, Cambodia is one of the most corrupt countries in the world and therefore one cannot simply go around offering to donate money to schools or buy supplies without there being a trustworthy advocate.

IMG_3784 Be the change

Luckily for me, all three obstacles were…

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education

My kids are using THINK IN ENGLISH and last night played it for hours

  This is not a paid review.  I downloaded the app last night and my 6 year old daughter was on it for hours.  I do have to help her but I understand a new version will be coming out for younger kids. The app is for english, spanish, and french.  My daughter is Thai so using the english for now!

from Think in English

For Parents:

The game is best for children 8-16. If you are working together with your child, or helping your child start, the keys are:

  • Make sure they understand that they have to help the alien family! This sets up each stage.
  • Make sure the children are comfortable with the word book before moving to the game. If the words are new, it is a good idea to take a couple sessions to practice the words. Turn off the sound and writing in the word book. When the children are calling out the words themselves with some confidence, they can move on to the game.
  • If your child is 5-7, it is still possible to use the game, but you have to do it together. There are a lot of words in each of the stages, so take your time!
  • If you are working with younger children, you can let them play in their own language to reinforce the bilingual concept.
  • Encourage repeating the language. Try to keep the rule of no translating

education

Their web site is Think Bilingual!

We recommend this app!

Think Bilingual! – Interact and Immerse

Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, Tinker Bell, and  Skipper of  Penguins of Madagascar  have helped me teach english to my kids and entertain me!

cartoons

I am not a teacher but came up with this several years ago after I bought my first Ipad and started to buy movies and then thought of the cartoons to entertain my kids (little)

  I have a friend on Facebook that is an american teaching in Thailand english to small kids,   I noticed one day on a post he made where he mentioned that he was using cartoons to help the kids “hear” the english.  In my opinion as just a parent, we learn a language at an early age by hearing.  Not from a book as that comes later but just listening.  Most of my Thai friends are shy about speaking english because of their pronunciation.  I met a Thai English teacher teaching other Thais and I could not understand a word she was saying!  She could write and read but could not speak english!  I also know Thais that speak very good english so not putting down people or the education system.  In my opinion it helps to hear english spoken!

Why English Language is important to learn

from wikipedia

It is an official language of almost 60 sovereign states, the most commonly spoken language in theUnited Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand, and a widely spoken language in countries in the Caribbean, Africa, and South Asia.[6] It is the third most common native language in the world, after Mandarin and Spanish.[7] It is widely learned as a second language and is an official language of the United Nations, of the European Union, and of many other world and regional international organizations. English is probably the third largest language by number of native speakers, after Mandarin and Spanish.[7] However, when combining native and non-native speakers it is probably the most commonly spoken language in the worldEnglish is spoken by communities on every continent and on oceanic islands in all the major oceans

It has also become by far the most important language of international communication when people who share no native language meet anywhere in the world.  Very often today a conversation in English anywhere in the world may include no native speakers of English at all, even while including speakers from several different countries

Read More

Lemon in Cambodia

Ever had a rather ambitious idea and then actually made it happen? These past few weeks have seen a stroke of inspiration I had about a year ago evolve into something tangible.
My workplace, Sovann Komar, has always done sporadic community outreach work. When I accompanied the orphanage director and some of the children to see a book donation project last year, I was immediately interested in getting more involved. As of September, I have become the co-ordinator of my own little project: Sovann Komar Outreach Program for Education (SKOPE).
Through SKOPE, I will organise several projects each year, helping rural schools throughout Cambodia in various ways. We are aiming to provide these schools with the basic necessities: classrooms, running water (toilet blocks and wells), and equipment (text books, exercise books, pens, etc.). These are things we take for granted in western countries but many schools and families struggle to…

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Estelea's Blog

(c) zazzle.com (c) zazzle.com

My kids are Jewish by their Mum and Protestant by their Dad. Mr Attila was born in a Buddhist country and his sister in a totally secular one. We worked in Muslim and Hindu places and we are currently living on a Catholic island. How could we possibly educate our children in a single religion? if there is one thing I learnt from all those years working in war affected countries, is that education is paramount to prevent violence. Teach your children how to respect each other and the people around them for who they are and to honour all religions – as each is a pathway to the One God.

schoolbookThe Philippines are a Catholic country, even though not formally anymore. But you’ll always be asked “are you a Catholic?”. My natural answer would be “why do you care? does it make any difference to you whether…

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I must say that one of the biggest and most unexpected perks of teaching in Vietnam is that I actually get to become friends with my students. I don’t know how I ever would have learned so much about Vietnamese culture and Vietnamese people if I didn’t have this job. In America it is sort of taboo for teachers and students to be friends but here that is not the case. One evening over a nice meal of exotic shellfish one of my adult students invited me to come on a charity trip with him.

Well… why not? I’m in.

The blanket cost of the trip was 700,000 VND ($32.75). We were going to do charity work in a remote Vietnamese province called Yên Bái. Our first destination was a small township called Mù Cang Chải. It is located near the Chinese and Laotian borders and is a solid 11 hour bus ride away from Hanoi. We would be visiting the H’mong people. The H’mong are the ethnic minority group in Vietnam. To be clear, these people are not Vietnamese, rather they are an ethnicity/culture without a country. Vietnamese is their 2nd language.

The history of the H’mong is blurry but it is widely accepted (among people who actually care about this obscure culture) that their heritage can be traced back to a town in northern China called Zhuolu. Since then however, they have migrated south to inhabit the mountainous highlands that span the northern Chinese borders of Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. It is here that they have lived for the past few centuries. Involved in almost all of the many conflicts that the region has seen over the years, subjected to military actions bordering on genocidal at the hand of multiple governments, the H’mong are now an obscure, dying culture. The H’mong language is spoken only by a relative few now. They were actually responsible for a plot to overthrow the Laotian government in 2007… allegedly. Interesting stuff.

In Vietnam people often laugh when you mention the H’mong. This is because the word “H’mong” sounds a lot like the words “show ass” in Vietnamese. They swear it’s nothing related to racism though; they insist that it’s funny and harmless. Idk man. You can be the judge.

ANYWAY, I boarded the bus feeling pretty good that I was the only white person on the trip. It was a good indicator as to the authenticity of the experience I was about to have. Hardly any of my fellow travelers spoke English either. 9 hours later however, I was feeling pretty terrible about everything… about life. Buses in Southeast Asia are not made for somebody my size. And the infrastructure outside of the major cities is terrible. We were driving overnight and I was doing my best to sleep but it was tough with our bus driver trying to break some sort of land speed record on the winding, bumpy mountain roads. It didn’t help that I had to twist and mangle my long white-person legs into terrible positions to fit into my seat in the first place. Still though, I managed to achieve sleep at a couple points during the voyage but I would be rudely awakened when our bus sped over a bump so big that I actually lifted off the seat. It was a little traumatizing.

We stopped in small mountain towns during the night to get some food, stretch out, and pee in the bushes. At one point I was pretty sure our driver was peeing in a graveyard but apparently it was just a headstone vender’s yard. Anyway, I spent about 20,000 VND ($0.93) on food along the way.

We made it to Mù Cang Chải a little bit before sunrise. This town would serve as our ‘base camp.’ We watched the marketplace transform from an empty shell to a bustling place of commerce as the sun rose. The province is apparently known for having amazing pork so I tried it. It cost another 10,000 VND ($0.47). It was very good.

Once we had all been fed we re-boarded the bus. I was careful to get there first and snag the seat closest to the door. I needed the legroom. The bus climbed higher into the mountains and eventually dropped us off on the side of the road near a bridge made of wooden planks and rope that went over a river. It swayed in the wind as we crossed it.

This video picks up right about there:

The trek up the mountain was pretty substantial. Especially carrying a muddy burlap sack full of what I can only assume were bricks. I started strong but it wasn’t long before the hike went from pleasant to grueling. I was separated from the herd as I struggled and panted my way through the muddy mountain trails. I was on a mission though. Motorbikes zipped up and down the mountain all the while but I gritted my teeth and kept moving. It wouldn’t have been bad but for the muddy sack of… something, that I was carrying. Eventually though one of the H’mong men on a motorbike saw my poor state and offered me a ride up the mountain. Don’t mind if I do.

When I got to the top of the mountain, the villagers looked at me as if I were an alien. It was clear that not many white people had been there before me. But once they got over my foreign-ness they were some of the most hospitable and kind people you could ever have the pleasure to meet.

 

Children peaked out from their classrooms at me. The H’mong primary school was the centerpiece of this town. The classrooms looked identical to the classrooms I am used to back in Hanoi, the capital city. This out-of-place throwback sat in silence atop a remote ridge in a far flung province. There was no electricity so the rooms were dark and the tile floors were covered in dirt.

The children nervously stared at me from around the corner. Some of them wore the traditional H’mong robes, while others of them wore second-hand clothes which had no doubt been delivered to them by a charity outlet similar to the one that I was working with. I showed them some “magic” tricks that I can do with my fingers and then they began to warm up to me.

That afternoon I took a walk, just to explore. As I wandered, I was joined by 3 other people that had come on the trip with me. They spoke almost no English but they still invited me to join their ‘posse’, which I thought was nice. We walked down a randomly selected dirt road a little ways until we were invited into a middle-aged woman’s home. She gave us some small Vietnamese snacks and invited us to sit.

One of the Vietnamese girls in my new posse seemed to be having quite a stimulating conversation with the H’mong woman. With no hope of understanding what they were saying, I sat and ate my snacks, just taking it all in. As I ate though, the H’mong woman started to sound more and more distraught. The person sitting next to me spoke some rough English so I asked if they could clue me in on what was happening in this conversation.

“Her husband is very bad,” my translation began. The woman was saying that she was very poor and that she did not belong there. She was not H’mong; she was Vietnamese. She was born in a different part of Vietnam. She was only living there because of a marriage (which I think must not have been her choice). Now, with 2 children, she was powerless to escape her circumstances. Her voice began to crack. She continued to talk about her husband but soon she broke down and wept. At that point the remaining 2 people ushered me out the door, following close behind me. I think it would have been rude for us to continue eavesdropping on their heart-to-heart.

That night we ate a giant dinner together with the village. The teachers in the village’s school invited me to take shots with them… a lot of shots. After each shot we would shake hands, as is tradition. The H’mong teachers were very enthused to meet me after finding out that I too was a teacher. In my (translated) conversation with them they told me that they had left Yên Bái for university but had since returned in order to help their village.

After dinner there was a giant bonfire. People of all ages, children to adults, laughed, sang, and danced around it for hours. But the most interesting part of the night came after most of the village was asleep.

Some of the men (who had been drinking with us) brought out a traditional H’mong instrument to perform a special, cultural dance around what remained of the fire. It was very odd indeed. I wasn’t really sure what I was seeing. Later research revealed that this instrument is called a “Qeej”. Don’t ask me how to pronounce that. Below is a picture of a traditional qeej. You blow into the top end of the dark, wooden shaft (I couldn’t think of non-sexual way to explain it) and point the curved ends out in front of you so that the sound can be heard clearly.

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The dance performed by the men is something that was just so strange that I find myself unable to clearly describe it to you. Since returning to Hanoi I have done my best to find videos of this type of dance on the internet but I have been unable to find anything that quite compares to what they did. 2 men jumped around the fire. The first man was playing the qeej and the second man trailed him, playing something slightly smaller and more obscure. The men would take a long leap and land on one foot. They would pause there, balancing on one foot, swaying for a moment, before swinging their next foot forward for their next leap. The moved around the fire quickly and violently. It was just about the strangest thing I have ever encountered.

The next day we hiked down the other side of the mountain to deliver supplies to another village. It was a gorgeous hike. The far North of Vietnam has a rugged beauty. It was cold up in the highlands in the winter but as the hot sun peaked out from over the ridges on the horizon it warmed my bones in such a way that I almost didn’t mind all the giant spiders. Here are some photographs from our descent to the next village.

As before, the centerpiece of this town was also the primary school. The children lined up while the token fat guy on the trip shimmied into a Santa costume behind the school. Then Vietnamese Santa made his entrance and proceeded to distribute a care package to each child waiting eagerly in line. The mothers, dressed in traditional H’mong garb, furrowed their brows skeptically as they watched the scene unfold before them.

By the time mid-day came, it was time to start our trek back. We waded through a river and climbed a small cliff to get back to the main road. It was there that the buses unceremoniously picked us up. The ride home was much more pleasant with my roomy seat by the door.

The total cost of this trip amounted to 730,000 VND ($34.15).

Author: Peter Campbell (www.petersbigadventure.com)

Map of Mù Cang Chải   click for a larger map

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