In Kalaw, at an outdoor tea house, I called out to a Western looking couple walking by…look…somebody from the West! The couple, from Israel, laughed and joined us at our low table for tea…all of us sitting on little stools with our knees around our ears again.
The woman had been in Rangoon for six months as a UNICEF advisor to the local education authorities. Families have about 10 children because about half die by the time they are teenagers she said. When the ethnic children go to school, she explained, they are confronted with both English and Bamar languages layered over their ethnic dialects and they have a very hard time learning. Old story I thought to myself thinking of the indiginous Indian children from Mexico who come with their migrant parents to the States.
Coincidentally, when I told her we were from Salem Oregon, she said a woman friend from Israel went to our city a couple years ago to live with a man friend but after six months of boredom she went back to Israel. What did she miss especially, I asked. Having fun, she said, dancing, having fun and street life. Yes, I know the feeling, I said!