85 children (aged 10-15) and 15 teachers boarded 3 coach buses at Lumbini Academy to head to Pathein and then Ngwe Saung for a 4 day field trip. After a five hour bus ride filled with energetic kids thriving off soda and junk food and kids vomiting from motion sickness, we arrived in Pathein. Because there were so many of us, we had to stay in two hotels, both of which were very nice and modern. After checking into our rooms, we went sight seeing. We stopped at a place that produces the decorative, Pathein umbrellas and then went to see some pagodas.
Later that night, we had an opening ceremony for the field trip where the students were broken into groups and created flags that would be used to round them up during the trip. The kids showed their creativity and teamwork skills.
The next morning, we started our way to Ngwe Saung. Once again, this was a vomit filled bus ride as we weaved through the narrow roads on the mountains. At Ngwe Saung, we stayed at a more isolated “resort” where we had a private beach. Many students and the teachers stayed in tents. There was one bathroom and shower for 15 teachers, so things got a little interesting. I even saw a snake while I was taking a shower!
At the beach, we had the students do various activities, and we set up a carnival where the students had their own games. Students had to buy things with fake money. I played a “bad guy” where I would give students money to do illegal things like disrupt games or gamble. There was a barbecue going where students could buy potatoes, prawns, and eggs, yum! The students got about an hour each day to spend in the water.
We also visited a village near Ngwe Saung beach. While waiting to go into the village, I spent time playing with three, small girls. We would make faces at each other and pass sea shells. It’s moments like these where I really value people and interaction because we could play for almost an hour while exchanging very few Burmese words. In the village, we went to the school and played games and sang songs with the children. Apparently, it’s the top government school in the area.
By the end of the trip, I was truly exhausted, so you can imagine I wasn’t thrilled for another bus ride filled with energetic and vomiting children. To top off the 10 hour bus ride home, I saw a man who was killed in a motorcycle accident laying lifelessly on the cement. Overall, the children had a blast, and it was a valuable experience!