With the approach of the new year, I reflect on the immense undertaking of NEH over the past 18 months.
The passage below was my very first impressions of Myanmar in 2015:
My first impressions of the country were only based from whispers of war and a rather racist 1950’s portrayal in Rodgers and Hammerstein's ‘The King and I’ musical. I have no memory of writing the piece, but I can read in it my fear and in-trepidation being tempered by a desire not to appear negative. Short sentences which are brief, factual and to the point. I do remember making a video for my mum where I showed her around the four-room flat that I described in my writing; my voice having much the same clipped tone.
However, now, the memory of my shock has faded and I have moved to a point where I appreciate the luxury of running water, and if it’s hot, so much the better. Personally, I have become much more grateful and appreciative of everyday, mundane things; be that hot water or gas to cook with.
NEH has grown tremendously since my arrival in Myanmar. We are now getting ready for our teacher trainee to train a new trainee and become the trainer! After some fraught moments in some remote locations, we are again based in the relative metropolis of Yangon where we have more stable Internet communication, and are planning our next training location.
I also took my mother to visit Myanmar, where she met the grand majority of the NEH students. Coming from a village in England, many of our students were fascinated to exchange village stories, and to my eternal amusement one student was even bold enough to tell my mum that her English wasn’t very good (more details to come in a new blog post)!
We are full of optimism for expansion into 2017. We are improving our virtual model of communication, and so far it is working as well as we would have wanted. We hope that the time that we’ve invested being on the ground in Myanmar will translate into a virtual working relationship with our trainees peppered with periodic on-site visits to keep up to date.
NEH Director of Studies and Teacher Trainer
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