Huay Hak Mai Nuea School, located in the remote Pa Pae area, must be the hardest to access of all the schools we have visited in the Northern Thailand so far. We have been helping the schools in Mae Hong Son for a couple of years now, and this was our second time meeting the lovely kids and teachers in this particular school. It was a special visit as we were invited to stay overnight!
Delivering donations to the village
We took a chance and decided to visit this school despite the fact that some of the last rains of the wet season were still lingering in the area. Rain in the mountains means, with no exceptions; very muddy and challenging roads. We had our two cars filled with fans, picnic beds, cups, vegetable seeds and of course donations brought from our guests visiting Elephant Hills. Our amazing guests had donated warm clothes, toys, stationery and other essential items listed on our “Pack with a purpose” list.
After a long drive and dozens of curves, we finally reached Huay Hak Mai Nuea school in the late afternoon. This school is located literally on top of a mountain, and we couldn’t help taking a moment to admire the spectacular 360° view. The children, all part of the Karen hilltribe, were instantly there to welcome us, and it was wonderful to see many familiar faces. Many of the children also recognized us from our previous visit about one year ago and were wearing the widest smiles of the group.
Prior to our visit we had spoken with the teachers to find out what the school was mostly lacking. The fans were going to be placed in the classrooms. Although especially in the night time it gets rather chilly up in the mountains, the days can be hot and uncomfortable at times. In addition to fans, the picnic beds will bring comfort for the kindergarten students’ nap time. The teachers had also requested for cups for the kids for tooth brushing.
Night at the school dormitory
The late afternoon started to turn into a cool evening, which we spent around a bonfire chatting with the kids. The children, whose houses are even further away in the mountains, stay at the dormitory throughout the school terms. They were excited to interact with us and after conquering their shyness, some even impressed us with their beautiful singing!
There are 3 teachers also regularly staying at the dormitory to supervise the children. They had prepared the most delicious Karen style dinner for us. The kids were feasting with fish that we had brought from the town. This was a very rare treat for them and some would not leave the table, determined to finish every last piece. Then it was bed time, and we all slept very well under several blankets in the cool mountain air.
In the morning it was sadly time to say goodbye. The teachers and children expressed their gratitude to Elephant Hills Children’s Project and all the guests who had seen the effort to bring donations. They said they rarely get visitors, and we were indeed the first ones in several months. They thanked us for not forgetting them, although their school is not easy to reach.
Thank you for your donation!