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Sunday
Feb282016

Mahliang, Burma

Mahling Township, Burma (Pop: 10,000)

2.5 hours south of Mandalay, another village.

Namaste Storytellers,

You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.

Fog shrouds trees before dawn on a chilly morning.

Mornings are fraught with mist as an orange burning orb rises over forests and rice paddies. Crows caw sing wing wind songs above monks chanting sutras at a pagoda. A bell reverberates.

Leaves dance free from The Tree of Life.

This raw, direct immediate experience reminds a traveler of Phonsavan, Laos, near the Plain of Jars, long ago and far away in the winter of 2013. A Little BS came of it.

At 5:45 a.m. below trees with yellow leaves, 100 grade ten female students with dancing flashlights trace a dirt path. They've escaped the comfort of hostel dreams.

They dance toward classrooms and a cavernous dining hall for rice and vegetables. Hot soup if they are lucky. Mumbled voices scatter singing birds.

Thirty-five grade ten female student voices reciting scientific lessons at 6:15 a.m. echo from classrooms at the Family Boarding School.

Dystopian wrote memorization. Utilitarian. Repetition.

Learning by heart.

It’s not about learning. It’s about passing the exam and marks.

Vomit the material.

The wisdom of the heart is deeper and truer than knowledge in the head.

They drone on huddled, hunched over wooden benches in jackets and yarning caps with swinging tassel balls. A bundled teacher scratches white words on a blackboard – Today is the day of my dreams.

A narrow garden of hanging pink, orange, purple, white orchids reflect shadows before scattered light sings. An office girl sprays H20 diamonds on petals and green leaves.

A distant solitary bell reverberates.

Monks chant sutras at a pagoda.

A thin stick broom sweeping world dust cleans perception.

Two doctor brothers own the fifteen-year old school. They speak good English and are friendly, resourceful and gentle. Their parents are also doctors.

Zones are under construction - new rooms and a kitchen for foreign teachers near the dining room. A gym, library and science labs are being built between long two-story buildings with eight classrooms per level.

Old trees prosper. Crows and dogs scavenge garbage.

Men and boys hammer, saw, dig, carry lumber, bricks, and rebar iron and mix cement. Boys shovel dirt from trenches. Women shoulder excavated dirt in bamboo baskets.

In the shade of 300-year old trees girls sort piles of plastic water bottles and Styrofoam containers. Crows watch with disinterest.

Kitchen women sitting in a sacred circle talk about life, love and their emotional wellbeing while peeling onions. They live longer.

Uprooted bamboo is planted against cinder block walls decorated with brown and green broken glass shards to prevent education from escaping.

Tree branches hacked into rough art forms pierce blue sky.

Fear & Curiosity converse with gestures. Do something you've never done before.

Trust, love, friendship.

Communicate. Learn. Imagine.

I am a rainbow.

This school reminds a ghost-self of rural schools in Sichuan, China. Broken windows, trash, rough cement passages where sewage smells like success.

Painted platitudes and Odes sing on the roof.

Learning in Paradise

Cement shells, paper exams plastered on windows.

Faded green paint. Wooden benches.

Worn wooden floors. Blackboards. Chalk n' talk.

Cover your mouth when you erase the past.

Ghost-self meditates with sleeping tigers.  

An eight-car train from Yangon to Mandalay rumbles past. Lonely whistles blow. Ain’t nothing but the blues sweet thing.

Horse cart traps jingle jangle hoof tarmac music, prancing and dancing along dirt paths - On Comet, On Cupid, Dasher and Dancer.

The peripatetic facilitator of English, Courage, Creativity and Fun is here until 12 February on a three-teacher team from Mandalay.

He arrived in early December to prepare the program before two teachers arrived for four weeks and then two new teachers. He’s here for the duration.

His sleeping room is spacious, light, leaf shadows. He salutes the sun and burning stars every morning through leaves of time.

Food in the family kitchen prepared by a smiling auntie is delicious; spicy curries, chicken, fish, pork, fresh veggies, soup, rice, fruit. Everyone is soft and attentive.

Native barbarian speaker focus is English exposure with Listening and Speaking for 365 G10 high school students with respect enabling Courage

In addition to text stuff  - artists, writers and dreamers explore and discover their infinite beauty and potential with Creative Notebooks. SOP. Mind map your self.

How to be more human.

How did I grow?

Chess lessons, strategies, and tactics, improves their critical thinking skills, planning, logic, accepting responsibility for their actions, visualization, time management, and teamwork.

Learn. Play. Share. 

500 grade 10-11 students live at the school. They’ve come from distant Shan state villages and Myanmar areas. They are their parents’ social security.

The school has an excellent reputation for matriculation results.

Segregated classes. Walking on campus, girls shield their faces from distant boys. No social testosterone distractions.

Zero gadgets.

They study Myanmar, math, history, physics, chemistry, science, biology and Magic and Potions from 6-11, 1:30-6, 7:30-11 p.m.  Sonorous voices echo daily.

They leave school one day a month.

The Wild West Village

Horse drawn cart traps.

One traffic light. Two motorcycles is a jam.

Green for go.

Twenty minutes away on foot, an extensive traditional market covered in rusting PSP sheets is a delightful adventure  - returning to the source of community, dark eyed local curiosity, street photography, laughter, and a floating babble of tongues inside a labyrinth of narrow uneven dirt paths.

Footprints on stone and dirt meander through forests and mountains of oranges, apples, bananas, red chilies, green vegetables, thin bamboo baskets of garlic and onions, farm implements, varieties of rice (a huge business), clacking sewing machines, basic commodities, steaming noodles, cracking fires, snorting horses.

Sublime.

Blindfish heads whisper The Sea, The Sea. Silver scales reflect light.

A woman hacks chickens. Blood streams down circular wooden tree rings.

The gravity of thinking sits on a suspended hand held iron pan scale. A white feather sits in the other pan.

Balance.

Twenty-six varieties of rice mountains peak in round metal containers or scarred wooden boxes.

Horse drawn cart traps unload people and produce. Neck bells tinkle: Star light star bright first star I see tonight, I wish I may I wish I might get the wish I wish tonight. Well. Fed horses paw dirt.

Ancient diesel tractor engines attached to a steel carcass hauling people and produce bellow black smoke.

Old wooden shuttered shops with deep dark interiors display consumables, soap, thread waiting for a conversation, stoic curious dark eyed women, others laughing at the benign crazy traveler. 

A ghost-self sits in meditative silence, absorbing rainbow sights, sounds, colors, smells, feeling a calm abiding joy.

Wander and wonder.

Two teachers arrived for three weeks. One tall relaxed American male and serious eyes. His Irish female’s unhappiness confronting the hardship assignment masked emotional distress and deep bitterness.

She lived at the girl's dorm fifteen minutes away by dusty footprints. I feel isolated.

Cry me a river, said human nature.

Hardship and deprivation develops character, said an Asian child.

Don’t give me that crap, she said. I have twenty years of teaching experience and this is hell.

Hell is other people, said Sartre.

Be a good Catholic girl and make a confession, said Personal Problem.

It’s life lesson #5, said the child.

Yeah, yeah, said the whining adult eating her frustration and anger garnished with succulent tomatoes.

The world is a village. 

Mindfulness.

Mindful seeing.

Mindful attention.

Mindful presence.

Calm abiding.

Check in with your breath.

Engage senses. Visual epiphany between what is and what will be.

Yellow leaves flutter from trees. Thanks for growing me.

Brown birds with white wing markings sing on a branch. I feel free, what a glorious day.

Laborers pound nails and pour stones and sand into a cement mixer. Women shoulder baskets of dirt.

Angel choirs chant lessons; Life isn’t easy. Life is good.

On Friday at the end of week número uno the ghost-self carried a bag of colored chalk and a yellow daisy to a class of twenty-five girls.

Standard white chalk dusted world’s education. It dressed the stage and the brown raised platform where wooden faced esoteric teachers lectured, droning absolute physic computations dulling hearts and smiles. 

It reminded him of a previous incarnation in Room 317 at

Yang-En University in Sichuan, China in 2006 (A Century is Nothing).

We see through our eyes not with our eyes.

See with soft eyes.

How is you, said ghost-self?

I am a creative genius, they laughed.

Don’t let school interfere with your education said Laughter Therapy. Ha. Ha.

Please open your creative notebook. Free writing.

He wrote, “Love is...” on the green blackboard.

Five minutes. Write fast. Do not go back, erase or cross out. Keep your hand moving.

Classical violin music by Hillary Hahn echoed through the room.

They meditated on the process of hand - heart connections.

Be the ink. Be the paper.

They shared writing with partners.

Students drew a floor plan of their favorite room. They practiced tragic English target language - using “There is...There are...” describing furnishings.

 

They practiced prepositions of place. I am on Earth. I am sitting between friends.

He divided the class into three teams and partitioned the BB.

He opened the bag of colors. Draw your dreams.

Laughing and chattering they created rainbows, rivers, moons, suns, people, mountains, trees, birds, and flowing gardens.

After fifteen minutes they wrote about their art experience in creative notebooks. You created a masterpiece, he said. See you Monday.

 

Sunday
Feb282016

Mahliang, Myanmar

Mahling Township, (Pop: 10,000)

2.5 hours south of Mandalay, another village.

You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.

Fog shrouds trees before dawn on a chilly morning.

Mornings are fraught with mist as an orange burning orb rises over forests and rice paddies. Crows caw sing wing wind songs above monks chanting sutras at a pagoda. A bell reverberates.

Leaves dance free from The Tree of Life.

This raw, direct immediate experience reminds a traveler of Phonsavan, Laos, near the Plain of Jars, long ago and far away in the winter of 2013. A Little BS came of it.

At 5:45 a.m. below trees with yellow leaves, 100 grade ten female students with dancing flashlights trace a dirt path. They've escaped the comfort of hostel dreams.

They dance toward classrooms and a cavernous dining hall for rice and vegetables. Hot soup if they are lucky. Mumbled voices scatter singing birds.

Thirty-five grade ten female student voices reciting scientific lessons at 6:15 a.m. echo from classrooms at the Family Boarding School.

Dystopian wrote memorization. Utilitarian. Repetition.

Learning by heart.

It’s not about learning. It’s about passing the exam and marks.

Vomit the material.

The wisdom of the heart is deeper and truer than knowledge in the head.

They drone on huddled, hunched over wooden benches in jackets and yarning caps with swinging tassel balls. A bundled teacher scratches white words on a blackboard – Today is the day of my dreams.

A narrow garden of hanging pink, orange, purple, white orchids reflect shadows before scattered light sings. An office girl sprays H20 diamonds on petals and green leaves.

A distant solitary bell reverberates.

Monks chant sutras at a pagoda.

A thin stick broom sweeping world dust cleans perception.

Two doctor brothers own the fifteen-year old school. They speak good English and are friendly, resourceful and gentle. Their parents are also doctors.

Zones are under construction - new rooms and a kitchen for foreign teachers near the dining room. A gym, library and science labs are being built between long two-story buildings with eight classrooms per level.

Old trees prosper. Crows and dogs scavenge garbage.

Men and boys hammer, saw, dig, carry lumber, bricks, and rebar iron and mix cement. Boys shovel dirt from trenches. Women shoulder excavated dirt in bamboo baskets.

In the shade of 300-year old trees girls sort piles of plastic water bottles and Styrofoam containers. Crows watch with disinterest.

Kitchen women sitting in a sacred circle talk about life, love and their emotional wellbeing while peeling onions. They live longer.

Uprooted bamboo is planted against cinder block walls decorated with brown and green broken glass shards to prevent education from escaping.

Tree branches hacked into rough art forms pierce blue sky.

Fear & Curiosity converse with gestures. Do something you've never done before.

Trust, love, friendship.

Communicate. Learn. Imagine.

I am a rainbow.

This school reminds a ghost-self of rural schools in Sichuan, China. Broken windows, trash, rough cement passages where sewage smells like success.

Painted platitudes and Odes sing on the roof.

Learning in Paradise

Cement shells, paper exams plastered on windows.

Faded green paint. Wooden benches.

Worn wooden floors. Blackboards. Chalk n' talk.

Cover your mouth when you erase the past.

Ghost-self meditates with sleeping tigers.  

An eight-car train from Yangon to Mandalay rumbles past. Lonely whistles blow. Ain’t nothing but the blues sweet thing.

Horse cart traps jingle jangle hoof tarmac music, prancing and dancing along dirt paths - On Comet, On Cupid, Dasher and Dancer.

The peripatetic facilitator of English, Courage, Creativity and Fun is here until 12 February on a three-teacher team from Mandalay.

He arrived in early December to prepare the program before two teachers arrived for four weeks and then two new teachers. He’s here for the duration.

His sleeping room is spacious, light, leaf shadows. He salutes the sun and burning stars every morning through leaves of time.

Food in the family kitchen prepared by a smiling auntie is delicious; spicy curries, chicken, fish, pork, fresh veggies, soup, rice, fruit. Everyone is soft and attentive.

Native barbarian speaker focus is English exposure with Listening and Speaking for 365 G10 high school students with respect enabling Courage

In addition to text stuff  - artists, writers and dreamers explore and discover their infinite beauty and potential with Creative Notebooks. SOP. Mind map your self.

How to be more human.

How did I grow?

Chess lessons, strategies, and tactics, improves their critical thinking skills, planning, logic, accepting responsibility for their actions, visualization, time management, and teamwork.

Learn. Play. Share. 

500 grade 10-11 students live at the school. They’ve come from distant Shan state villages and Myanmar areas. They are their parents’ social security.

The school has an excellent reputation for matriculation results.

Segregated classes. Walking on campus, girls shield their faces from boys. Boys hide their faces with paper. No social testosterone distractions.

Zero gadgets.

They study Myanmar, math, history, physics, chemistry, science, biology and Magic and Potions from 6-11, 1:30-6, 7:30-11 p.m.  Sonorous voices echo daily.

They leave school one day a month. Out pass.

The Wild West Village

Horse drawn cart traps.

One traffic light. Two motorcycles is a jam.

Green for go.

Twenty minutes away on foot, an extensive traditional market covered in rusting PSP sheets is a delightful adventure  - returning to the source of community, dark eyed local curiosity, street photography, laughter, and a floating babble of tongues inside a labyrinth of narrow uneven dirt paths.

Footprints on stone and dirt meander through forests and mountains of oranges, apples, bananas, red chilies, green vegetables, thin bamboo baskets of garlic and onions, farm implements, varieties of rice (a huge business), clacking sewing machines, basic commodities, steaming noodles, cracking fires, snorting horses.

Sublime.

Blindfish heads whisper The Sea, The Sea. Silver scales reflect light.

A woman hacks chickens. Blood streams down circular wooden tree rings.

The gravity of thinking sits on a suspended hand held iron pan scale. A white feather sits in the other pan.

Balance.

Twenty-six varieties of rice mountains peak in round metal containers or scarred wooden boxes.

Horse drawn cart traps unload people and produce. Neck bells tinkle: Star light star bright first star I see tonight, I wish I may I wish I might get the wish I wish tonight. Well. Fed horses paw dirt.

Ancient diesel tractor engines attached to a steel carcass hauling people and produce bellow black smoke.

Old wooden shuttered shops with deep dark interiors display consumables, soap, thread waiting for a conversation, stoic curious dark eyed women, others laughing at the benign crazy traveler. 

A ghost-self sits in meditative silence, absorbing rainbow sights, sounds, colors, smells, feeling a calm abiding joy.

Wander and wonder.

Two teachers arrived for three weeks. One tall relaxed American male and serious eyes. His Irish female’s unhappiness confronting the hardship assignment masked emotional distress and deep bitterness.

She lived at the girl's dorm fifteen minutes away by dusty footprints. I feel isolated.

Cry me a river, said human nature.

Hardship and deprivation develops character, said an Asian child.

Don’t give me that crap, she said. I have twenty years of teaching experience and this is hell.

Hell is other people, said Sartre.

Be a good Catholic girl and make a confession, said Personal Problem.

It’s life lesson #5, said the child.

Yeah, yeah, said the whining adult eating her frustration and anger garnished with succulent tomatoes.

The world is a village. 

Mindfulness.

Mindful seeing.

Mindful attention.

Mindful presence.

Calm abiding.

Check in with your breath.

Engage senses. Visual epiphany between what is and what will be.

Yellow leaves flutter from trees. Thanks for growing me.

Brown birds with white wing markings sing on a branch. I feel free, what a glorious day.

Laborers pound nails and pour stones and sand into a cement mixer. Women shoulder baskets of dirt.

Angel choirs chant lessons; Life isn’t easy. Life is good.

On Friday at the end of week número uno the ghost-self carried a bag of colored chalk and a yellow daisy to a class of twenty-five girls.

Standard white chalk dusted world’s education. It dressed the stage and the brown raised platform where wooden faced esoteric teachers lectured, droning absolute physic computations dulling hearts and smiles. 

It reminded him of a previous incarnation in Room 317 at

Yang-En University in Sichuan, China in 2006 (A Century is Nothing).

We see through our eyes not with our eyes.

See with soft eyes.

How is you, said ghost-self?

I am a creative genius, they laughed.

Don’t let school interfere with your education said Laughter Therapy. Ha. Ha.

Please open your creative notebook. Free writing.

He wrote, “Love is...” on the green blackboard.

Five minutes. Write fast. Do not go back, erase or cross out. Keep your hand moving.

Classical violin music by Hillary Hahn echoed through the room.

They meditated on the process of hand - heart connections.

Be the ink. Be the paper.

They shared writing with partners.

Students drew a floor plan of their favorite room. They practiced tragic English target language - using “There is...There are...” describing furnishings.

They practiced prepositions of place. I am on Earth. I am sitting between friends.

He divided the class into three teams and partitioned the BB.

He opened the bag of colors. Draw your dreams.

Laughing and chattering they created rainbows, rivers, moons, suns, people, mountains, trees, birds, and flowing gardens.

After fifteen minutes they wrote about their art experience in creative notebooks. You created a masterpiece, he said. See you Monday.