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February Update at BK Kee Patient House

February was quite an eventful month of activity for the Burma Children Medical Fund's B.K. Kee Patient House. Due to travel restrictions related to Covid-19 and the political situation in Myanmar there have been no new patients arriving for the past several months and patients who have completed their treatments are not permitted to return to Mae Sot. Our normal practice of social visits and bringing of supplies is gradually transforming into more of a skill-developing focus. The patients and caregivers will be remaining at the house for quite some time and BCMF’s director, Kanchana Thornton would like to see these folks develop some helpful skills that they can take back to their community when that time comes. The two areas of focus we have identified are English Language Instruction and Sewing. (Including how to cut out a pattern, making face coverings, pillows, blankets, etc.) We have identified a woman from BEAM Education Foundation who has a sewing curriculum and has agreed to act as our instructor. She will be visiting the house on March 1st to see the existing setup and figure out how to organize a teaching area where multiple patients can learn and practice simultaneously. Thank you kindly to those members of our club who have graciously donated fabric and unused clothing/material for this project. We may be calling on members for more contributions in the upcoming months.

February was also the month when we had the opportunity to welcome students from Chiang Mai International School's (CMIS) Interact Club, who were searching for a community service project. On February 7th, their club’s President and Vice President (left) joined us at the House. They had the opportunity to join us in preparing the remaining Teddy Trekker bears for a future journey to the Mae Tao Clinic in Mae Sot. Each patient and caregiver had painted one or two bags on a prior visit and we brought tissue paper and ribbon to complete wrapping the gift to give to a needy child at the clinic, at the first opportunity when travel to Mae Sot can resume.

Our English Language Learning program started on our previous visit on February 20th. We had five students from CMIS join us and they brought with them a matching (colors) game they made by hand. (One set of colors and one set of corresponding words with the word underlined with the color they had to match.) We split the patients and caregivers into two groups of four to allow multiple turns. After each participant made a match, the groups practiced naming the color so there were many opportunities for practice. After a few rounds we then switched so all of the color cards were face up and we went around and the patients and caregivers were asked to locate a specific color. The last activity was quite fun. A color was shouted out and then everyone had to find an object that corresponded to that particular color within the room. Overall, it was quite a wonderful experience. Everyone was having fun, engaged and most of all, learning!

We also brought everyone a binder and a set of English Language learning worksheets to help supplement their understanding of the vocabulary we introduced. There was enough time for everyone to do a couple of pages and the remaining work they can do at their leisure throughout the week. Our next category will be animals and we also plan to introduce some simple conversational phrases in the coming weeks ahead.

If any Rotarians are interested in joining us on our every other Sunday visits, please reach out to Bill Pierce - B.K. Kee Patient House Champion. Temperature screening is done when we arrive and we are required to wear face coverings during the entire visit. We leave Shell station on Huay Kaew Road at 11:00 and usually complete our visit around 12:45.


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