About Coleen Scott

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So far Coleen Scott has created 39 entries.

Friends For Peace Day – Ottawa

Last year Nancy Maddams was invited to offer a presentation at the Friends for Peace Day on September 27th, 2014.  Nancy is a KLEO board member and a strong supporter of the Ladies of Nong Tao weaving initiative.  Nancy was unable to attend the event as her journey’s around the world continue and asked me to take over. The plan was for me to speak about the ancient technique of back-strap weaving used by the Karen people in Thailand and Burma. The inspiration of the intricate weaving patterns and designs,that have been handed from mother to daughter for centuries come from nature. Members of the Ottawa Karen Youth Club would also perform a fashion show of their colourful unique clothing.

Friends of Peace Day, “Is a day to celebrate the consciousness of peace, social justice and planetary care rather than bemoan their scarcity. Mayor Jim Watson had this to say: Friends for Peace is an outstanding organization that does very important work, promoting, strengthening and maintaining peace, planetary care and social justice within our communities and the environment. ” […]

By |September 21st, 2014||

KLEO at Westfest 2014

It was a chilly, blustery, start to this years West-fest with temperatures between 14 and 17.  The Ladies of Nong Tao’s hand-woven scarves flapped in the wind like flags on a ship.  Everything was weighted down except for the tent. Each time a strong gale flew in Coleen grabbed onto one of the poles so it wouldn’t take flight. 
Three Kleo folks arrived at our old spot beside what used to be Quichua’s World Market but were told that we could no longer set up there. “There is a big play station taking up the whole section, there is no room for you.” No amount of chatter could shake or convince the boss lady in the golf cart. However, she did suggest we approach Shoppers Drugmart as there was no one setting up there.
As Mindy, (the best beggar in the group) flew down to beg for space, Bob and Coleen started to slowly pack up with hopes that they may still be able to squeeze in somewhere.  And then, there was Mindy flying back with a thumbs up in […]

By |June 13th, 2014||

Here and there…

On April 8th Kleo members, volunteers, and others shared a special evening with founder, Coleen Scott and guest, Shar La Lah, a Karen refugee from Mae La Oo camp.
Coleen reviewed Kleo’s past achievements and recent developments at Jen’s House, where a complete new dorm for the boys was built this year. Her personal expression of thanks to the Karen people and the positive ways in which they have enriched her life set the tone for the evening.
“The Karen peoples’ warmth, their empathy and acceptance have certainly been windows of light in my life. They have shared their lives with me and we have grown together finding strength and courage in each other. We have made great strides but there is still a long way to go.”
A review of the changing needs of Karen refugees who have resettled in Ottawa and the educational support for children in remote mountain villages in Thailand was presented.  These on-going projects have built a solid foundation from which the organization is now prepared to venture into new areas. Kleo has now turned to […]

By |May 12th, 2014||

Ban Rai – The Final Leg

As the last of this seasons work unfolds I plan to head to Mai Sariang to meet with Kolohtoo, the man we are working with to repair the Ban Rai dormitory.  Feeling slightly travel weary I procrastinate on when to go but finally put my things together on the 13th and head to the bus station in case I can catch a bus at the last minute. When traveling by bus from Chiang Mai one has to go to the bus station and purchase a ticket in advance or be prepared to wait until there is a free seat. It means two trips to the station and in this hot, dry, smokey season we are all moving at a snails pace and doing things twice is less than desirable. I make my wishes known at the ticket counter and suddenly a man motions me to follow him and runs out to stop the 1:30 large air-con bus just pulling out of the station.  I board an almost empty bus, relieved to see that this will be a more […]

By |March 15th, 2014||

Where Have All the Students Gone?

When I went to visit Mu Au Poo, Mu Aung in Thai, to visit Boowa and his family I had no intention of visiting the village school. I have been to the school many times and the only need they had expressed was for an English teacher. I have been unsuccessful in finding anyone and I’m never there long enough to reaIly be of much value. However, I ended up at the school begging for power to recharge my tablet which was doubling as my camera on the trip. There is no power in most of the homes despite the number of solar cells that are posted out front, another scheme by an ousted Prime Minister to get the votes of villagers who receive so little. Power for a vote seemed like a good idea at the time but the cells have long been outdated and are of no value.

Mu Au Poo has a government school, completely controlled by the Thai Education system. There is no Karen education, that fight long since given up. The teachers all speak […]

By |February 15th, 2014||

Travels with Boowa

Iam bouncing along mountain paths on the back of my friend Boowa’s motorbike when he stops to explain a major, “intersection”. He explains that one path leads to the Mae Wang and the other to the Chom Thong watershed districts. Robert Brownings, “Two Paths”, come to mind, the difference is that there are three diverging paths including the one we are on and they all say the same thing to me, “lost in the jungle, going around in circles for months”. It would certainly be true if you were not in the hands of a local Karen who understands the importance of the crossing. There are no signs distinguishing one from the other and again I feel privileged to experience the beauty of the jungle with my trusted friend.

We are heading from Boowa’s home village of Mu Au Pu where I have spend a couple days reconnecting with the villagers, to Mae Sapok where I will take a yellow songtao back to Chiang Mai. There are five colors of songtaos in Chiangmai, two that I use on a regular […]

By |January 30th, 2014||

Progress

A few photos to update you on the progress of the boys residence and the four new toilets. Doors went on today, shut tight make sure no one steps into the wet concrete floor. Walls and floor of the interior of the boys room.

We’re getting there.

 

By |January 21st, 2014||

Calling Back the K’la

This is the home of a Karen family who allowed me to call their house my home during my early years in the mountains in Thailand. The village priests and elders decide who is allowed to enter the village so perhaps it was decided that I stay at the priests house, just in case my k’la caused trouble in the village. Traditional Karen animists believe that the body has 16 pairs of k’la or spirits and an over soul that directs the others. The family and their ancestors have practised traditional animism for centuries.

 

The man in the photo was the father of this house and a village priest. He was my friend and each time I arrived in his village he would beckon me towards his house with a beautiful toothless smile and clear, kind eyes. Then came the year I heard his k’la wasn’t coming back and he wasn’t there to greet me anymore. The only name I ever knew him by was Pu, as is the custom of addressing a man of respect. I think he […]

By |December 13th, 2013||

Catch Up!

Sorry to have been gone so long, the days and weeks since my last post have flown by; with August fast approaching I want to send out a quick update to ensure you that we have not dropped off the planet. In fact our work seems to be ever increasing. So here’s the catch-up, hopefully, I’ll be able to give individual events the proper attention they deserve now that KESS (Karen/English Summer School) has closed it’s doors for this year.

Kameleon Jewelry
We have received a very generous donation from this Dartmouth, Nova Scotia based organization for which we are extremely grateful. Kameleon Jewelry’s products are manufactured in Thailand. The owner Robert Smith was looking for a way to give back to the country his company has worked with for many years and, at the same time, support a grassroots organization that was also working in Canada. Our work with the Karen community in Ottawa and our projects in Thailand were a match. There is much more to this unexpected joining of giving spirits; I hope to write the full story of this karmic connection as soon as time allows. It is […]

By |July 26th, 2013||

K’nyaw Sie – A Photo Story – Farming in Ontario

This is a story of success, hope and a love of the land that allows the soul to breath. It is the story of one people’s emergence from hell, living under the rule of Burma’s military junta for decades, running from burning villages, seeking basic survival. A story about internally displaced people forced into hiding in Burma’s jungles, to up to 15 years or more in refugee camps along the Thai/Burma border, to re-settlement in a third country.

It is a story of the Karen people’s endless courageous journey. I share my experiences in hopes that through these stories and pictures, we all may come to know the amazing farming Karen. It is said that soil runs through the veins of the Karen and from what I have seen it may be so.  The Karen people’s affinity to the land is unmistakeable.nally displaced people forced into hiding in Burma’s jungles, to up to 15 years or more in refugee camps along the Thai/Burma border, to re-settlement in a third country.

When a Karen farmer picks up a handful of soil and lets […]

By |June 16th, 2013||