Friday, March 4, 2011
Nong Khem School, Phrae Province, Thailand
These pix are from almost seven years ago (!!!). This was one of my schools back in my Peace Corps days. That's my buddy and radio co-host Krue Tiwaporn with me in the group picture. I loved this little school, and I have returned for visits several times over the years.
The bad news is, these kids never learned much. I visited recently, when my old second graders were in sixth grade, and talking to them I could tell that they had learned almost no English in the meantime. Probably not much of anything else either. All of the parents in this village are sticky-rice farmers, and everyone just expects the kids to follow them into the fields. Some of them, including the girl on the left in the two-shot, were very, very smart. It's a shame.
The good news is, when I first taught here, the fifth and sixth graders had horrible teeth, really scandalously bad. Teeth rotten, or missing. That was at the beginning of the free milk program and the visiting dentist program, both government sponsored. On a recent visit, I was delighted to see that the current fifth and sixth graders all had good looking teeth. So that's progress, real I think.