Growing Together - Thaketa Yangon

2007/08 Asia Trip Itinerary | Home Page 1 of 9 | Page Down  
Motherland 2 My Home Away From Home

The Guesthouse was on the right side of the city, convenient for Thanlyin or Thaketa school and I had stayed there two years previously so felt quite comfortable booking for my 3 month stay.   I particularly like the helpful staff, the little restaurant and outdoor patio where I knew I would meet many people passing through Yangon and have no worries of being lonely.   It was a great choice

On my first morning Khiang Zar the original teacher at Growing Together and current Administrator met me and accompanied me to both schools so I might choose where I wanted to be.   The rural school was housed in a beautiful new building but I knew upon first meeting that I would enjoy working with 'Sparrow and T Tar at Thaketa.    Not having any teaching experience I arrive with some trepidation but  knew instantly that I would love being there with them and the truly amazing and loveable children


Communal water bowls and cups beside the bus stop, anyone who is thirsty in the overpowering heat can help themselves.  


Not for me unfortunately, I had to carry my own bottled water

This is my bus stop.   Khiang Zar brought me here on my first morning,  gave me my bus number in Burmese script and a few lines to hand to the fare collector so he could make sure I got off at the right stop.  Every morning after that I clutched the number in my hand as there were several similar looking ones.  I did however quickly master getting off at the right stop

                                     No need for breakfast - you can grab a snack or have a sit down meal at the bus stop
    Myanmar has the distinction of right hand steering while driving on the right

In 1970 General Ne Win's astrologer said that the country would be better off driving on the right side of the road.  So they changed, overnight.  Often someone will ride 'shotgun' to avoid collisions

My bus circa, 1970 is the so called 'Mini Bus' and judging from the route maps on the walls came from Korea or Japan as I doubt they would make it from Lower Pazundaung Street to downtown Seoul or Tokyo 

I got on at a bus 'station' where most passengers were alighting so I almost always got a seat, a nine inch-hard wooden bench over the fuel tank but a seat none the less.
If by chance I stood, a gentle hand reached out and took my bag and placed it on their knee where it remained until the whole bus load of passengers made sure I was aware of my approaching destination

Mothers with babies and young children were always offered seats with the baby being handed from smiling stranger to smiling stranger until mother managed to make her way though the mass of human bodies to the vacant seat.  Sometimes even I got to hold the baby.  Occasionally the fare collector did not take my fare or a  fellow passenger insisted on paying for me.  I guess I had a scarcity value as I had yet to see another paleface on a local bus


A favourite part of my day began when I got off my bus at the Arsenal tea shop where men sit on kindergarten sized chairs having tea, breakfast and a gossip before beginning their commute.

My journey ends with a long walk along a backlit lane full of people many of them high school students

Too shy to speak they wait until I am level with them before saying good morning and are past before I can reply.  As I got closer to school everyone seemed to know me or of me and greetings of hello tea-cher rang out

Growing Together School Thaketa Township

No not the orange gates, that is the monastery, the school is on the right


Our young pupils came in small groups for 90 minutes each, the first class starting at 7.00am  

Each day, RJ and Lwin Lwin Htet rushed to give me a hug and take my bags then drew me into the circle to begin our days lessons

Each session began with the 'Good morning' song and several more which the children liked to choose



Good Morning Dear Earth

Good morning dear sun

Good Morning dear trees

and flowers everyone

Good morning dear bees

and birds in the trees

Good morning to you

and good morning to me


                Not sure what we were doing but I had their attention

T Tar with our home made flash cards
There's one in every class
Give me a 'B'
2007/08 Asia Trip Itinerary | Home Page 1 of 9 | Page Down