I'm in Mae Salit with a bunch of Gulliwa's (white people) at a really fancy restaurant. Just to give you an idea of how fancy it is, in Canada many restaurants say "no shirt, no shoes: no service". Here it's no Thai: no service. Anyway, there's another couple missionary families here for about a week. For the last couple days, there was also a dentist and a doctor working at the school.
During the times I haven't been busy perfecting my thumb twiddling skills, I've been making table frames and shelves, working in the garden, learning to play caneball, and breaking stuff.
The garden work involved digging and dunging vegetable beds, and helping to set up bamboo trellises for tomatoes and beans. The school's garden has really taken off in the last month, and the cook has been using greens grown there for over a week. We dug water lines into the garden area, so now they have gravity-flow water system to water the garden (with maybe a couple inches of head in the high places).
The carpentry work has been an excellent learning experience for me. I have the use of a skil saw, a drill, and an angle grinder. The lumber is like rough-cut 2X4's. Needless to say, many hours have taught me the value of table saws, planers and other tools. Designing and building beds, shelves, and tables with the available materials has been fun (now you know how much biking I'm doing here). I now have a student, Cha E Tu, working with me, and he's learning very well.
Another good (time consuming) learning experience has been breaking tools. There was a wire getting bad in the angle grinder. After my first fix ended up being temporary, I tried to replace the wire: and pulled the wire right out of the windings. So I got to learn how to take the windings out of a tool motor, and why you shouldn't scratch any wires in the process. The grinder did run for an hour or two after the repair, but I'm now using a new grinder. I also had the skill saw somewhat apart, but it's doing better.
Miles and I have been learning to play Caneball, the hands-free volleyball game. The locals here are very skilled at it, my skills give good contrast to theirs.
Yesterday was the first time I heard warfare: at about 11:30, we heard explosions and gunfire in Burma. The Burmese have been advancing through what the Karen had held, and clearing their landmines. Apparently what we heard was a successful ambush that the Karen staged. It only lasted about 10min. By the way, that afternoon we went swimming in the border river (in the opposite direction from the fighting.
Feb 27 update
Yesterday a bunch of the guys hiked up to some more of those rock outcroppings. I went up later and joined them. It's a good thing they were making lots of noise so I could find them. We had a little worship on the top of the rocks. One of the routes down included going down a vine about 25'. It's amazing how strong the roughly 2" diameter vines were: I went up and down one, and it's no worse for the wear ( nor am I). The hike back to the school involved lots of sliding: good thing there was lots of bamboo to grab on the way.
Last Sabbath a whole bunch of us went up to the pagoda. When some of the kids found out I has a camera, I had almost incessant photo requests for a while.
There are often villagers who come to the Adams' house with medical needs. Last Sunday it seemed like there was a ton of them. And that's saying something, since these people don't weigh very much. There was a blind man with no hands. As I was wondering if he was a victim of the fighting in Burma, I started to feel very privileged. Many of these people have it rough.
I've been doing some electrical repairs here: it's a sketchy setup with really thin wires.
The visiting American families left this morning. They were working on a short video to show how God has led in getting this school going and to present the current needs. I listened in on Mrs. Adams sharing the story: it's amazing.