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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The McRib Sandwich is back!!!

And the company that creates it, Otto and Sons in West Chicago, needs extra workers. Admit it - you've wondered how the contents of the seasonal sandwich can look like a slab of ribs, albeit a small slab, but yet be boneless! Technology is the answer - meat compression machines that turn out the unnatural product 2 shifts a day. And this happens only 6 miles east of us in the industrial west side of West Chicago. We received word of a job opportunity for Puday to be part of the third shift cleanup crew from Justin at World Relief. It was a crazy afternoon of filling out applications, surviving the maze of roads at the FoxValley Mall to get a drug test done, reading OSHA food safety regulations to Dr. Naw as she translated them to Puday in K'ren. And last night he started work!

His coworkers are primarily Mexican/Hispanic workers, maybe a few Russians too. His shift is 9:30PM to 6:00 AM but he says that their work is finished by 4AM. He wears a hairnet and earplugs and a red hardhat. Also red fireman style calf length rubber boots.

It is a good start - he gets $11/hour and he seems OK with the work - "much water - cold and hot" is his description of the work. He also said "No Karen people at work!" He will be working every night until Thanksgiving Day and then they get 3 days off. He is happy to be working and starting to provide for his family. The real issue is how is he going to get any sleep with the mighty twins at play around the house!

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Home Village of U CHEE

Puday has expressed sorrow over being away from his mother U Chee. I asked Puday what was the home village of U Chee. Imagine my surprise as he responded in very crisp English, "Elizabeth, New Jersey!" It turns out that the family was separated from U Chee and 3 grandchildren she was taking care of. It happened at the Bangkok airport as Puday and his family were directed to Chicago and U Chee and her charges to NJ.

They have been in contact by phone. I told Puday to be patient - they will be able to see each other again and both groups are safe.

Sarah G. took Paw Kree and the 3 youngest to the Well Child Clinic held at Holy Cross church in Batavia. They were very caring to the family as they checked over the kids.

Ginny and Vic took the twins over to Bethlehem Preschool today and got them registered. They will start on Friday. We will need some roadrunners starting Monday to get the to the preschool and back - pick up at the house at noon and pick up to return at 2:45 PM.

The family is happy to have some Thai videos brought by their Wheaton friends. At first I thought it was Mexican soap operas! Also Zolo and Nali were playing a Spiderman videogame
on the TV - not sure where they got it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

To the Library

Puday has received the all important medical card from DHS today. All medical expenses incurred for Paw Kree's strep throat and the various trips to CDH CCC are covered. Delnor and CDH have been given the information.

I marched with the whole family earlier tonight over to the STC Library. Puday was able to register for a card himself and the kids and mom were greeted by long time libarian Denise in the children's section. She rounded up a selection of puzzles for the twins and some early reader books for ZJN (Zolo, Jackie, Nali). Puday also picked out a few VHS videos. Mu Gay Day was more interested in meeting all the other children in the library!

Ginny has checked into Bethlehem pre-school for the twins - there are openings for a M-W-F afternoon program of 10 kids and 2 teachers. Puday said this would be very good for them.

The older kids seem very interested in roller blades. Also the boys have heard of skatebords.
Does anyone have extras of these (and of course we need to check on foot sizes for the rollerblades). The kids are used to being outside - today after school they were biking around the area north on 3rd Avenue.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Halloween at 217

Where are the
If they don't
come soon, we'll
have to eat all of
this candy!

Puday - a man and his hats.

A cheesehead, a Burmese Black Cat and assorted superheroes.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Family at Church

  • Wasn't it great having the family at church yesterday. Each of the kids were in Sunday School and Mu Gay Day was in the nursery. They were with their friends from Wheaton which was very handy to get the upcoming weeks schedule agreed on by all.
  • Monday, Kerri V. is taking mom and kids to the CDH CCC to have the twins complete their blood tests.
  • Tuesday, Jessica from World Relief is dropping by at 2 or 3PM to check in on them and view the volunteer log. Then at 5PM, Debb and Alexander Murphy are picking up Jeckie,Nali and Zolo for some serious trick-or-treating. Alexander is a piece of cheese while the last report from Debb was that Nali will be a Burmese Black Cat, Jeckie as Spiderman, and Zolo as Superman. Mom and Dad have candy at their house ready for any neighborhood tricksters - if you live close, drop by between 4 and 6PM and scare, I mean, greet them.
  • Wednesday, Sarah and Cindy are working together to get Mom & the 3 school kids to CDH CCC after school in order to have special followup tests done. Also Zolo needs a CBC. CDH CCC has all thwork orders with doctor's directions. They will use translation services as needed at CDH CCC.
BTW on Tues night there is a segment on PBS Frontline, channel 11, regarding the military control of Burma. Thanks to Dan Starr for pointing this out. If you miss it you can watch it on the web at after Tuesday.

When you visit make sure you check the thermostat - keep it at 68 or 70. When I saw them one morning, they had all slept downstairs because the upstairs was too cold - turns out the thermostat was set to 50!

On a more sensitive topic, the ladies at the church nursery mentioned that Mu Gay Day's diaper was very wet and he was not very tidy - can some ladies give Paw Kree a quick review of baby hygiene - I'll leave it at that.

All for now - how do you say Happy Halloween in K'ren?


Monday, October 23, 2006

Monday, October 23, 2006

My first attempt at a direct post - hope this is right...
I was there today and shared a battery-operated alphabet toy with the younngest kids. PawCree, HayBluPaw, HayBluDay, and MuGayDay all sat with me and my girls around their coffee table and we worked on some letter names and a game of finding the letter when we said the name. [Editorial comment: I want to do some work with their names and I'm not sure what the spelling is and where to put capitals and spaces. Could someone let me know the right way? I keep seeing them presented differently.]
When they press the letter, the toy says the letter name so it is instant reinforcement for them. PawCree is doing a GREAT job! She is really encouraging the twins to try as well. I think I know how to say "say it"or "try it" in Karen now because I heard her telling the girls that again and again. We are all learning!!

I'm wondering if we really have their ages correct - are they 4 years old? They just seem more like 3's to me. I'm sure a lot of that is because I can't talk with them.

We also worked with pictures from Jewel and Aldi advertisements in the paper. We named lots of things in the flyers starting with me pointing to a few things and giving the names, but then they caught on and pointed to what they wanted to know the names for - shampoo was a little tricky to explain. :)

Lastly I showed them a picture of grapes from the flyer, then wrote the word grapes and then we shared some grapes together. One of the twins then went into the kitchen and brought back an apple and I showed her the photo of that in the flyer. I think that was her was of saying she got the concept.

All in all, I think it went well. And I have to say, Puday is doing an outstanding job - I said, "How are you?" and he answered, "Fine. Thank you." Perfectly!! Everyone's pronounciation is very clear and I think they really have a good ear for the subtle differences.

We are going to try some simple songs with body parts on our next visit. We will also review names for foods.

What do you think team? I'd love to hear any and all suggestions.

Some Good News on Mu Day Gay

We were able to get Mu Gay Day's blood work done at the CDH Convenient Care Center on Foxfield Drive. The results will be sent to the KC Heath Department.
It maybe the case that we can get the other follow on medical work for the rest of the family there as well - we are waiting for some confirmation of this. This would be much easier than using Aunt Martha's in Aurora.

Old fashioned rabbit ears were hooked up to the TV and Channels 7, 9, and 11 came in respectably. Also Puday was given a wireless doorbell with 2 buttons which he will install at the house.

The children are not used to wearing socks - maybe the colder weather will force the issue.

Puday mentioned that the family went to an Asian food store in Chicago over the weekend with Yo Poe's family. They stocked up on their favorites and were able to use the Link Card.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Puday Bay & Paw Kree & children

Puday Bay Weather Report

Debb Murphy and Ben Adams shuttled the family today to the KC Health Dept.
The family received care from a caring and professional group - RN Kathy Swedburg
was so good with the family and new doctor Jennifer Kurka practiced true famly medicine. They linked up with a language translation service via telephone that provided English-to-Burmese translation - no translation was available in the family's native K'ren. Puday seemed to understand enough Burmese and conveyed it to Paw Kree so that they knew exactly what was being done and why.

All in the family were brave in the wave of inoculations that followed. There were some tears, quickly dried by parents and siblings.

On the way back, we realized it would be too late to get the kids back to school, so we stopped off at White Castle. As the kids started to poke at and analyze the bun, meat and pickle square set in front of them, I realized perhaps they are not
yet ready for the slider experience. I began to question my own feelings towards the unnatural shape before us.

When we returned to the house, Puday and I picked up another dryer, hauled it downstairs, and lo and behold - it would cycle but did not generate heat. We left it running for 20 minutes - but still only cool air in exhaust and no heat in the drum! We'll keep trying - fifth time is charm.

We then repaired some rotting steps of the back deck. We cut the new boards and nailed them in and realized we needed some sort of reinforcement for the center of the bottom step. Puday cut and appropriate sized board and when I started to nail it in, he stopped me and made a hand motion that indicated the board would split if I used the same nails as we used on the decking. He grabbed two pairs of pliers, and snapped the top of of one of the nails, popped the headless remnant in a drill, and used it to drill pilot holes - from there driving the nails did not split the board! He's a problem solver and has that can-do attitude.

We heard from Hailey at World Relief that another Burmese-Karen family is headed to our area around 11/7. WR has been in contact with Christ Community Church about possible church involvement with this new family of 4 - mother, older son and 2 younger children. Perhaps our friends at Batavia or Geneva UMC might be interested as well.

The family will be with their friends in Joliet over tonight and tomorrow celebrating a birthday - which reminds me, Paw Kree's is 11/5. They will be at church at the 10:30 service.

All for now, peace


Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Hi All,
Just testing to see if I can really post.

To the KC Health Office in Aurora

Cindy Schalk and Sarah Giachino took the whole family this morning to the KC Health Dept office in Aurora.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What I've heard from yesterday

Vic Temple took Puday on the Pace 802 bus route and went with him to the ESL class
at the Eglesia Baptiste in Aurora. Puday's teacher is Ruth, the same one that Sandra had in the lowest level class. Mauricio was in level 2 or 3.

Vic reports that Puday seems comfortable with the layout of the route and the 8 block walk from the Aurora Bus terminal on Rt. 25 to the church. He goes on his own today (Tuesday) but Vic will be with him when he gets on the bus right in front of Baker church and Vic will
meet up with him when he gets off at the STC Library. From now on, he should be independently travelling to ESL and back, Monday through Thursday.
The only wrinkle would be if he get off
early - the earliest bus coming back STC leaves at 2:40PM.

Kerri V. said that Paw Kree is doing much better and the kids were fine. No sign of others with sore throats. Kerri is checking on what it would take to get mom and young ones involved in STC Library programs. She has the letter from Pastor Ronni that acts like a "lease" - that and their I-94 refugee IDs should suffice. BTW church
member Carolyn Jones is involved with the library and may be able to help.

Our school district is providing some real TLC for Jeckie - there was a student assigned to Jeckie when he caught his bus and a student ambassador met him at school.
And Mrs. McPeak was to be with him all day! I have not heard how his day at school went.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A Saturday morning emergency

On Saturday morning, Paw Kree awoke with a headache and sore throat and possibly coughing up blood. She called
Tau, the daughter of Yo Poe in Joliet.
Tau, in turn, called me to ask for help. Our first instinct was to get her to the Delnor ER, but Kathy and I were about to head out to Wisconsin for a family wedding.

We called Cathie Ruth,and although she had work committments, she was able to take Paw Kree to Delnor. She was diagnosed with strep throat.
Cathie had to get to work, so Meg Bingham was able to stay with Paw Kree, pick up the prescription, and show her how to protect herself and her family from transmission of the infection.

A big thanks for Cathie and Meg and Sarah Giachino, who was on call if needed. I saw Paw Kree briefly this morning and she seems fine. I dropped off some liquid hand soap for each sink.