paulathai

adventures in Thailand


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BANYAN CENTER & BOARD; RUSSIAN FESTIVAL ON SEPT. 1, 2012

BANYAN CENTER update is that things are going great. We had an important board meeting on Tuesday evening my time. There was lots of preparation and followup, all of which I enjoy. As Board President I ran the meeting. Got good feedback from our newest board member about how it was run.

The school has improved so much since the pilot in January/February. And there are great positive changes since we opened at the beginning of the Thai school year on May 14. Everyone on the staff and board works really hard. The kids are happy and the parents are happy.

Last Monday I spent the morning with a mother whose two girls enrolled at Banyan Center 3 weeks ago. She told me that she found Banyan Center on-line while living in Malaysia and had been looking for a place like ours for years. What a compliment! She and her 3 and 5-year-old girls are very happy.

SMALL WORLD is that we know several of the same people in Palestine. She was a peace activist and cofounder of International Solidarity Movement from which International Women’s Peace Service branched off. She’s been shot 7 or 8 times (guess she lost count) and was nearly killed twice. Her father, who is from Gaza, married a German woman decades ago and he practices medicine in Germany. The two little girls speak German, not English or Thai. Needless to say Banyan Center is a “language immersion” program for them.

A RUSSIAN FESTIVAL was held at Banyan Center, an event organized by the large Russian community in Pai. Turns out that Sept. 1 is Student Day or Start of School Day in Russia with lots of  festivities. Our school had nothing to do with the event other than provide the space.

The Russians organized a wonderful day filled with crafts activities, music, dancing, food (including blini!) and plenty of FUN, FUN, FUN. There were about 20 or 25 Russians, five or six of our students and their families, and various others who saw the little flyer in town. Ages ranged from one month old (the baby sister of one of our students) to 65 (me!). Everyone had a great time. Banyan Center sends a big salute the people who organized, decorated (huge balloons, colorful streamers), performed, cooked, led origami and Russian doll making, and cleaned up. It would be great if we hosted similar events in the future.

Well, I was at the Russian Festival from 12:30 to 3 pm. Will head back now for the last half hour; it ends at 7 pm.

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