I have finally settled back in Chiang Mai after weeks on the road. I enjoyed a couple days rest after my trip to Mae Sariang and the camps, and then set out to visit some of our students’ parents in three Karen villages in the north. The journey included Maw Wah Khee, Ban Mai, Nong Tao, (to visit the “Ladies of Nong Tao”) and Maw Wah Glow. I arrived back in Chiang Mai with thoughts of staying put for a while, only to realize I had to head out to Mu Au Poo for two nights the following day. I’m happy to know that my head will rest on the same pillow for the next week…I hope. It will give me a chance to reflect, catch-up, and share some of my experiences with you.

I would be remiss if I did not begin by sharing the exceptional contributions that Amika Gupta has made during her two month internship with me in Thailand. I first met Amika during a craft/information opportunity set up by another volunteer, Carolyn at her work place more than a year ago. Last summer I received a telephone call from Amika offering to contribute to KLEO as a volunteer; little did I know that the extent of her education, experience and communication abilities would literally, change the face of KLEO. As our communications co-ordinator Amika has donated countless hours working with another talented volunteer, graphic designer Paul DuVernet to create our comprehensive professional KLEO web-site. Amika is also responsible for our facebook page.

Amika has been by my side over the past two months assessing and contributing to many aspects of our work in Thailand, she has been invaluable. Amika has made significant contributions to the organizational structure of “The Ladies of Nong Tao” weaving co-op, pictured above working with the ladies in Nong Tao. She has implemented computerized financial spread sheets for Jen’s House and our university students; she’s currently teaching the students how to use them. Amika has worked me hard; it’s been a job trying to keep up with her, we have achieved so much. I hope you will be able to join us in Ottawa when she shares some of her experiences. You can also follow her on our volunteers’ blog.