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From: nsowards@juno.com (Neil P Sowards) Date: Thu, Apr 18, 2002, 8:54am (EDT-1) To: echristian@webtv.net Subject: Re: Your letter.

Dear Elizabeth,

It was great to hear of your response to the website and interest in supporting a child. But let's talk about it.

The Internet is banned in Burma so no one can get it. So all the help that is available on it is not available to the Burmese. Stupid military junta!!!! We send general interest books to four community libraries, lay level theological books to about six Bible schools and college-seminary level theological books to Myanmar Institute of Theology (MIT)--the highest level Protestant seminary in Burma (Myanmar). It appears to me that you are in the position to send good books to MIT. They can be sent by M-Bag which is a big bag weighing more than 15 pounds and less than 65 and cost $1 per pound. The post office furnishes the bag.

If so then your donation could be used for postage. I can rewrite you a receipt so you can deduct it from your taxes.

They are just now offering library courses in Burma so the librarians do not have a lot of skill and knowledge. The four community libraries are less than three years old as they were not permited before then.

The two best community libraries were started by Christians. One has over 700 members and the other about 500. Sometimes there is a waiting line for those who want to get in to use it. They have to wait until someone leaves before they can be admitted! I have visited Burma fourteen times in the last sixteen years.

There are virtually no public libaries and usually no libraries in the schools or universities. So the librarians are just learning their work. Incidentally there is an interesting typo error in your letter. Maybe we could send some of the librarians the ministers are donating!!!!! Just joking.

Most of my friends in Burma make less than $200 per year and so do not own a computer. MIT has five computers for 467 students. The municipal electric power is off half the time making the computer useless. I bought them a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) which has a large battery and will carry two computers for five hours. We are hoping to get a computer for the library at Taunggyi. MIT teaches in English and so the students are able to read English books.

Other Bible schools taught in Burmese or an ethnic language such as Karen. They are now moving towards teaching in English and explaining in Burmese. So they have just started to develop their libraries. So if God calls you to go, you should think in terms of working with them to broaden their understanding of library science. Some CD-ROMS might be helpful to them.

Seriously, if you wanted to do volunteer work in Burma, it is easy for 28 days. But it is not inexpensive to do volunteer work in Burma. It is illegal to stay in a national's home. MIT has a guest room with no air conditioning and a student cooked for me. But the government has restrictions on that too. I think a business visa is required ($75) to stay at MIT. Hotels are cheap. Ruby Inn, which we like very much, is $15 for a single per night and includes breakfast and laundry and air conditioning. Taxi to MIT is about $1 each way. So it is easy to live on $25 per day.

Round trip airfare to Burma is $850 to $1050. Fort Wayne being off the beaten track means I paid $1054. But Burma is unlike any other country and the people are very appreciative and eager to improve their education. The government education is incredibly bad. I am working to develop secular education which is only recently permitted. My wife and I loved New Zealand and it is one place we would love to go back to.

If you go, I will even tell you where the shop with the dolls was! Well it is something for you to consider and pray about.

In Christ's Service,

Neil

On Wed, 17 Apr 2002 19:53:58 -0400 (EDT) echristian@webtv.net (Elizabeth Christian) writes: I can certainly pledge $100.00 for one child. Don't know if I can condinue if every year. Can I send you the money ?

Great page and terrific information. Also, I am a librarian at a Baptist University. We have a fairly new theology school and have gotten a lot of donated librarians from retired ministers. There are now shelves of dupicates. These are not especially good for general church libraries, for for a theology school.

We have sent some duplicates to a church in Liberia. I wonder if you all would have any interest in anything we might be able to do for your seminary. What would be needed would be money for postage, but we could work on that.

I am also looking for retirement projects relating to librarianship, and while (I have done two job exchanges ...so have an informed opionion) I doubt if American librarians are really any better than librarians overseas at what we do...the Internet is very leveling, you know....I had thought perhaps I could relieve a librarian at nuts and bolts day to day work so that librarian could take further training, a sabbatical, or something. In any case, the dolls take on an increased significance.....and as a new to the doll world doll fancier, I wish I knew more about the kind of material the dolls are made from, and something about the makers themselves.

    I do go on....but will get a check to you shortly for support.

Best wishes, Elizabeth. (I still have your address.)

E-mail message

From: nsowards@juno.com (Neil P Sowards) Date: Wed, Apr 17, 2002, 7:41am (EDT-1) To: echristian@webtv.net Subject: Re: eBay - Item # 1342188141 (Pair Kayah dolls from Burma) Dear Elizabeth,

If you want to see why I go to Burma check out my website at: www.student.ipfw.edu/~moel01/fob Note that is moeL Zero One. I look for things to buy and sell here to support my work there. I do collect Burmese coins.

Neil

On Wed, 17 Apr 2002 05:02:41 -0400 (EDT) echristian@webtv.net (Elizabeth Christian) writes:

Have posted positive feedback. I am building a webpage with my dolls and this is the URL for the Burma dolls http://members.tripod.com/~atlantaga10/dollsburma.html

Sounded from your description that you collected these yourself. Is there a travel story that goes with the dolls ? Elizabeth ____________________________________________________________________