Earlier this week, I found myself on the back of a motorbike, backpack full of camera, audio and video gear, zoom-zooming up the side of a mountain on a road covered in carnivorous, man eating potholes. I like to fancy myself afraid of nothing, but faced with the very real possibility of tumbling off the back of the motorbike and then down down down the mountain, had me nearly peeing my pants.
At the top, I kissed the red dirt and said a thank you to whoever was watching out for me, then got to work. I hiked 6km to the village of a very special student and there I was welcomed into the remote and lovely Karen hill tribe village with open arms. The village leader greeted me and fed me ocean fish and beer (two incredible luxuries) and the village woman crowded into the room, fat babies bobbing on their hips and youthful faces lined with the sun of a hard life.
This beautiful lady in the photo, invited me into her house and stuffed me full of rice and veggies, telling me to “eat mok mok!” We communicated mostly with charades and hand signals and through which I learned that I was to sleep in her house, on the floor, with three other students to keep me safe. It ended up me and five other village kids all armed with their crumpled English books trying desperately to communicate. Neither of us could pronounce the others name so she asked for me to call her “Mo” for “mother” and she would call me “daughter” in Karen. She told me I must come back and stay a long time. Her generosity and kindness warmed my soul!