La Salle Center in Yangon, Myanmar focuses on providing poor and disadvantaged young people training in computers and English language.
It is a challenge to teach especially since we were given no syllabus, no lesson plans and no textbook. But I (we are) making the best of the circumstances and doing all that I can to get them to understand basic accounting in the computerized world. The students are eager to learn and work very well collaboratively.
Yangon is clearly a city that is trying to play catch-up with the Western world. The traffic is terrible, there are advertisements all over the place, and there’s a lot of city dirt. Juxtaposed against all the shiny new things are clear signs of poverty. In these ways, it’s a lot like we never left San Francisco, but the poverty is on another level here. On a drive to the nearby city of Bago (about an hour and a half away), I saw huts made out of discarded advertisements situated in what was practically a swamp.
Due to the city atmosphere and the driving habits of our taxi drivers, I expected many people to be in the “Me first, do things quickly” mindset of Western society, but I am happy to say that that part of Western culture hasn’t appeared here. The people are all very kind.
The people of Myanmar are truly “one” of a kind. They are the most giving, loving, friendly, hardworking, devoted, kind, and genuine people. Despite not having much, they make the most of what they have, take joy in the simple things, form close connections with everyone and have a positive outlook about the present and the future.
We arrived to Myanmar thinking we would be teaching students, but they taught us more than we could ever teach them.
You can always look in a dictionary for the definition of a word or search online about the basics of accounting, but you can’t study how to be a genuine person- that comes from the heart.
It truly is amazing how much you can learn from one another because we all come from different walks of life. Stepping out of our own cultures and comfort zones and learning about others can bring humanity that much closer.