Bob’s journey with the Karen community began in 2006, when he taught his first Language Academy classroom (a regular 6th grade classroom that includes students that are newcomers to America.) Many in his class that year were students that had been refugees of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), coming directly to St. Paul from refugee camps in Thailand. Si Poo and her family have become close friends of ours…as well as Law Law and Soe Khu. We have shared many moments over the years…soccer/volleyball/badminton games, birthday blessings, movies, dinner outings, visits to my parents’ home.
That first introduction to their stories, opened Bob’s eyes and heart to the situation of many from Myanmar…many still living in camps in Northern and Eastern Thailand. He joined efforts with Minnesota World Relief through our church Woodbury Community Church, to help bring three families to the US over the past few years, by providing initial support in setting them up in an apartment, assisting with paperwork/school registration/medical appointments, and being a contact as situations arise.
So…with that said, you can understand the gift it was (with the kind support of our friend/linguist/Thai interpreter) to be able to travel four hours north of Chiang Mai to cross the border into Myanmar. We enjoyed lunch and did a little shopping in the market. The girls that served us in the restaurant were delightful! Such reminders of our sweet friends back home!
Plus the drive alone was beautiful! Scenes of cloud covered terrain, rice paddies, village homes…
We still have several days left of this Thailand adventure, but I am pretty sure that Bob could have gone home after making that simple walk across the border. Bucket list item complete!