Monday, November 14, 2011

Pre-trip Training Session 4

An overview of our meeting on November 12:

Thailand-Burma Border AltBreak Training
Session 4

1. “flash” word game icebreaker – grad/undergrad, feelings about the trip
2. Article discussion – “How Burma Can Show It’s Really Changed” (Washington Post)
a. Only cosmetic change, not real structural change
b. Curbing Chinese involvement (i.e. Myitsone Dam project) is an attempt to impress Western nations, possibly for funding
c. Aung San Suu Kyi is being cautiously optimistic in approaching the military gov (possibly giving them too much credit?)
3. CBO presentation 1 – Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma - AAPP)
a. Founded by former political prisoners
b. Supply them with basic necessities
i. Directly to prisoners and their families
ii. Medical care, education
c. Reports stats, collects photos
d. protects, finds support for prisoners (during all stages of process)
e. works w/ NGO’s (e.g. UN, Human Rights Watch), foreign governments
f. media advocacy
4. CBO presentation 2 – The Best Friend (libraries)
a. Free libraries w/ access to internet, reports, books, etc.
b. Started by 2 monks
c. Unfortunately only 3 out of the original 15 libraries still exist, others shut down
d. Patrons sometimes arrested
e. Support refugees who have resorted to living in houses made with things found in rubbish dump
f. Water purification fund
g. Annual walk
h. Website is comprehensive (Twitter, posters, videos, etc.) and links fully-functional
5. Culture Lesson
a. Breakfast items include rice soup, porridge
b. Protein sources are primarily pork, chicken, shrimp
c. Rice-based noodles
d. Curries contain coconut milk
6. Cultural lesson 2 – etiquette
a. Constitutional monarchy – absolutely no disrespecting the king
. Do not step on threshold of building entrances – a spirit resides there
c. Take off shoes in homes
d. Only use right hand to touch, eat, etc.
e. Don’t touch the head of a Thai/pass object over it - held sacred
f. “wai” – greeting used with palms-together (gesture towards chest, no higher than nose)
i. Monks do not return a wai
g. Introduce yourself w/ first name i.e. Ms. Britney
i. lower-status participants first i.e. child before parent
ii. Last names only used in very formal occasions, written communications
7. Fundraising
a. Krispy kreme – sell in dorms, money up front, pre-order/tabling
b. Salt dough Christmas ornaments
i. Sell to family
ii. Tabling
iii. Low-cost
8. Logistics
a. Transportation to JFK
b. Bus, carpool – day before?
c. At least 5 hours before to take into account weather, traffic, etc.
d. First-aid kit – make our own, enough for whole group
9. Activity
a. Free Burma VJ Postcards Project -
b. to political prisoners, actual names listed
c. specific guidelines on website
d. Possibly bring some for other AU students to make during tabling/fundraising
*You can participate too! You can send up to 5 postcards from home, for the exact specifications please visit the link.

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