By: Jillian Weston
My group consists of two students and myself. We visit a Burmese family weekly to spend time with and learn from them. They cook us meals and share stories of the past. They show us videos and pictures from the refugee camp they lived at in Thailand. The children tell us stories about school and how they are treated differently. We share stories of the college experience and try to inspire them to further their education. We teach them how to fix things around the house. Our biggest project right now is teaching the father how to drive. He passed his written exam, but has not completed the driving portion. He knows the general rules, but we are trying to inform him of the unwritten rules of the road as well as further his understanding of the rules that are in black and white.
For our 100 Dollar Solution project we are searching for a nice set of tools. We would like for it to include the basics such as a hammer, screwdrivers, level, tape measure, nails/ screws, hacksaw, adjustable wrench, etc. The family has a working knowledge of tools; however, they are not familiar with the American version of tools. The father actually built a home for his family out of bamboo while living in the refugee camp. The skills are there, but we would like to transfer his skills so that they are applicable in his new home.
There are some other areas of Bowling Green that we would like to introduce to the family. We would like to introduce the art of coupon clipping. We plan to take them to the post office so that they can mail their friends letters. Not everyone from their refugee camp wound up in the same place, and some of their friends are still at the refugee camp. This weekend we are taking the family vacuum and clothes dryer shopping. The family does not want to line dry their clothing in the winter. Their previous vacuum bit the dust, so the grandmother has been picking up all debris by hand for the past few months.
We hope that we address the needs of our family and are effective in explaining correct actions to fix issues. We hope that all is not lost through translation and that we are making an impact on their lives as they are ours. They have had our hearts since day one. We hope to be as warm, caring, and generous as they are. They are our example of a family and how to treat others.