All posts by kaymoulton

Cultural Differences

By: Siri Wieringa and Kaylene Moulton

Being immersed in a new culture, there are differences that everyone will notice compared to their own culture. Some people may not notice the same differences as others, but some of the differences we noticed are the treatment of animals, the definition of beauty, obsession with working out and sense of community among the population. Traveling all over the country, we have noticed all of these differences in every place we have visited.

In the U.S. animals are part of the family and are treated that way. My own dog is so spoiled and if we take him in the car with us he has to have ice water or else he won’t drink it. In the U.S. it is also a requirement that you have your animal spayed or neutered. If you adopt an animal from  a pound, they will normally have the animal fixed for you. Looking at the treatment of animals in Thailand they are treated like animals. Many people can say that it is good that they are treated that way because they are animals but it was really hard for me to get used to. I also haven’t seen one animal that has been fixed which will result in too many stray animals.

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The Learning Center

By: Siri Wieringa and  Kaylene Moulton

Today we went to the Learning Center in the village where there was a welcome ceremony. From Kaylene’s view point, there is no need for words to communicate. Although it would be a lot easier, I believe I connected with some of the Children on a whole different level. The children were very accepting of us being in the school and were so happy to see us. I don’t think I have ever felt so loved and welcomed by complete strangers.  From Siri’s perspective, the learning center is the focal point of the entire village. The school provides a happy and secure environment that can build individuals who can help this village to survive.

Kaylene:

Even though there is a language barrier, we found ways to communicate and connect with the children of the Learning Center and our host families. It seems that nonverbal communication could be more powerful than verbal communication. We were encouraged to play with the children and were immediately accepted. When I first walked into the school and sat on the floor with the children, this boy immediately came and sat in my lap. Even though we couldn’t speak to each other I felt so welcomed and so much more comfortable. With my host family, they do not speak any English and I believe that it has made us closer. We will try to speak to each other, especially the younger daughters, and since we can’t we look at each other really confused then just start laughing.

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An Escape Along the Thai Border: Burmese Refugees

By: Siri Wieringa and Kaylene Moulton

Burma is home to one of the longest running secret civil wars in the world. Lasting over 50 years, the country has been run by a succession of military governments (Bowles, 11). The violence that has been tearing Burma apart has caused citizens to flee the country. “Nearly one million people have fled Burma for relative safety of Thailand over the last two decades” (Lang, 369). Many go to refugee camps along the border of Burma in Thailand. “At the beginning of 1994, 72,000 refugees lived in 30 camps, of which the largest housed 8,000 people; by mid 1998, 110,000 refugees lived in 19 camps, with the largest housing over 30,000 people” (Bowles, 11). Refugee camps along the Burmese and Thailand border have become more and more prevent as the years have gone on. “About 142, 000 Burmese refugees reside as a ‘temporarily displaced people’ in one of the nine official refugee camps, while an estimated two million live and work outside the camp, either legally registered as migrant workers or more likely illegally”(284).

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