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Thailand Vision Trip. February 15 – 22, 2009 Karen Ministry Event. The Mission:. During a seven day period - conduct a vision trip from Minnesota to Thailand. Identify how a mission team might assist the Karen living in refugee camps within Thailand. Key observations/results:

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Thailand Vision Trip


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    1. Thailand Vision Trip February 15 – 22, 2009 Karen Ministry Event Tham Hin & Mae La Refugee experience

    2. The Mission: • During a seven day period - conduct a vision trip from Minnesota to Thailand. • Identify how a mission team might assist the Karen living in refugee camps within Thailand. Key observations/results: • 18,649 miles later, two refugee camps were visited: Mae La in west central Thailand and Tham Hin in southwestern Thailand. • The Karen people were so appreciative of a visitor from the US they gave gifts. People with virtually nothing were giving gifts! • News of Five Oaks helping the Karen in St. Paul delivered smiles half a world a way. • Messages were sent back to the US to alert friends and family that loved ones were alive and well in the camps. Tham Hin & Mae La Refugee experience

    3. Tham Hin Camp Located west of Bangkok in the Kanchanaburi Thailand Province • 9,000 documented refugees living in a 16 acre parcel of land. Actual population estimates – excess of 10,000. • Black plastic roofing material traps the heat. • Temperatures are often 100+ degrees within the camp. • The homes are 1 meter apart by mandate – airflow is minimal straining relationships. • No electricity is available in Tham Hin unless provided by small diesel generators. • Most cannot afford a diesel generator. Tham Hin & Mae La Refugee experience

    4. Mae La Camp Located northwest of Bangkok in the Tak Thailand Province • 35,000 documented refugees consider Mae La home. • Estimated head count: 60,000. • Cyclone Nargis displaced many in Myanmar who live illegally in Mae La. • Cyclone refugees do not qualify for the same food rations. • “Selling” or reporting a cyclone refugee as an illegal pays $83. The result - deportation. • Distance between houses - more than double Tham Hin. • Thatch roofing allows houses to ventilate heat. Tham Hin & Mae La Refugee experience

    5. Which Camp Needs Help? • Conditions between the camps could not be more pronounced. • One camp is permanent – the other is considered “temporary”. • Temporary = 12 years. • The temporary camp is on a dirt road that is virtually impassible in the rainy season. • Temporary camp can draw water three times a day for one hour – water is available 24/7 at the permanent camp. • The permanent camp has a college – the temporary camp has a “Post 10” school. Mae La Tham Hin Tham Hin & Mae La Refugee experience

    6. Obvious choice Tham Hin • Living conditions here are difficult to say the least. • Cooking is done over a wood fire & thick smoke hangs heavy in the tropical heat. • Food rations support basic life needs only. • Snack funding for the nursery school was eliminated during this trip. • Mosquito netting is considered a luxury. • The black plastic roofing material is hot & lasts less than two years. • Homes have to be rebuilt every one to two years. Tham Hin & Mae La Refugee experience

    7. How Five Oaks Might Help • English pronunciation tutoring. • Bible study. • Promoting educational support for teenage students. • Make learning fun & interesting for teenagers. • Help parents deal with teenage issues. • Upgrade administration skills for the camp leaders. • Irrigation for farming – pump water up the mountain. • Dining room renovation support. • Secure the kitchen from animals. Tham Hin & Mae La Refugee experience

    8. Anticipated Mission • Early 2010 travel dates • Very comfortable accommodations at the River Kwai Hotel. • Two weeks in the mission field equals… • A lifetime of change! • Discover yourself! • Escape MN winter! • Get some color mid year! Additional mission trip details available soon. Is God calling you? Tham Hin & Mae La Refugee experience

    9. Additional information/Links • General Knowledge: • http://www.interaction.org/newswire/detail.php?id=3467 • http://www.churchworldservice.org/PDFs/refugees/Burmesefs.pdf • Photo Gallery: http://www.karenkonnection.org/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=394 • Support Services: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/country,,RI,,THA,4562d8cf2,47a6eeaad,0.html • http://www.tbbc.org/camps/skb.htm Tham Hin & Mae La Refugee experience