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Giving Back in Burma

Posted on 11/14/2017 12:00:00 AM in The Buzz

Renovating Nyaung Oo Primary School was a bigger job than they expected, but fortunately our team in Burma had help from local villagers.

By Frankie N., Country Manager, Burma

On July 3rd, Grand Circle country managers, regional associates, and 18 Trip Leaders arrived at the Nyaung Oo Primary School for a community service day. Joining us were a few partners in Bagan as well as a number of the villagers.

By the time we arrived, all students were at the assembly area and singing the national anthem. When we heard the national anthem, we all stopped, saluted, and sang along with the students. In this short moment, we remembered our childhoods when we were at school. All the sweet memories came back to us. And then the headmaster of the school made a speech to thank Grand Circle and to also explain to all the students that O.A.T. was going to paint the school building as their community service. Then all of students and teachers thanked us and wished us the best. It was very moving and made us proud of what we could do for the people.

Then we all split into small groups, breaking up the job. The villagers joined us and helped prepare the paint and all the brushes. All of our team members shared different roles: cleaning the ceiling, rubbing the old paint on the wall, filling up the small containers with paint, etc.

A team of associates took on the painting of the school’s exterior.

It was not as easy as we thought. Some of us made a mess on our clothes with paint, but then some of the villagers showed us the proper way to paint. Finally, all of us did a great job. In roughly an hour and a half, we finished the ground floor. While we were working, one woman who is the officer from the regional educational department came to me and asked us about our organization. We explained to her about our annual community service event during which we give back to the regions where we take our travelers. She was so impressed and thanked us for doing this for her region, and then she joined us. She also took some of our photos. We felt so proud of ourselves and also of the company.

Then there came the break time for the students. Some of us played games with the children, while some others told stories to the kids. While we were playing together with the children, we all felt very happy like we were kids again. Likewise, the children were also happy and we could see it in their eyes. We prepared some small prizes to encourage the children when they won the games. One of us shared a magic trick and they loved it. We built a great connection with the children, and opened our hearts to each other.

When the hard work was complete, the team joined the local children for fun and games.

The kids surely learned from us about community service and how to contribute to the community. From the event, they learned that they should take care of their school. We believe they learned how to communicate with visitors, especially with foreign visitors, and that this was a good chance for them to improve their socializing skills too.

For all of us, we feel very impressed and proud to have participated in a community service event for a place where we travel. We can educate the children who will become the leaders of the country. Moreover, we were very happy at the end because we could make some changes, even if they were very small, for the community. Before we left, the children held our hands and took us to the entrance to say goodbye. It is quite a memorable moment.

See the difference Grand Circle Foundation is making throughout Southeast Asia when you join O.A.T. for Ancient Kingdoms: Thailand, Laos, Cambodia & Vietnam and our pre-trip extension: Burma & the Irrawaddy River.

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