Camp / Home / Christmas


I had a post planned. About Christmas music & homemade chicken noodle soup. The Karen & the familiarity of their dress, song & language. The nostalgia. The way, “Hgaw ler ah hgay, ya mee may Law Eh Paw. Na mee di leh?” came back with ease. I attended the annual Partners & Mission School (No. 1) joint Christmas party in Mae La  & I felt … at home.

& it sounds lovely, but I feel conflicted. I have many places that feel like home & my home-home. & anyway, what exactly does home mean in a refugee camp?

Certainly, I understand the root of my emotions – during my time working alongside Karen in St. Paul – they became family. The nostalgia I felt was real. The love I continue to feel for & from that community is real. The Karen are still the force behind my work in Thailand. But at the end of the day  – the gate was opened & I left Mae La.

Not everyone can do that. To local governments Mae La is no one’s home – it’s temporary shelter. To the elderly & middle aged Mae La is a refuge from the home that became dangerous. & for over 50% of the camp’s residents Mae La is the only place they know.

My first Christmas away from home & the ballads that sing of returning there. A visit to a refugee camp & news of refugee repatriation. Lately, I just – can’t stop thinking about home.



Longyis v1 c0

Over 75% there! We’re doing it! The love, support and enthusiasm pouring into this IndieGoGo campaign has been incredibly encouraging. Thank you.

Khai Soi

In the hidden motorbike drives behind Wat Pa Pao a little piece of Chiang Mai turns into Shan state. Tea leaf salad. Tai snacks. Gossip in Shan. Longyi displays. Noodle shops. Thanaka painted faces.

Shans from all over the city make a point to visit one little shop known for their Khai Soi See Jet. The family makes noodles from scratch & have mastered the combination of pork, spice & lime. The TV is always playing loud Thai pop videos. They’re always busy. I always get two bowls.

Today, while searching for Shan language resources a piece of Internet gold was found. A recipe for a ‘fast-food’ style Khai Soi. So now there’s obviously only one thing to do – turn on the Thai pop, boil & chop, mix & enjoy.

You’ll need:

  • Chicken flavored ramen noodles
  • 3 tablespoons canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Dash of tabasco sauce
  • ½ cup finely chopped cooked chicken (sliced green onion & chopped cilantro as garnish)
  • “Chow Mein” noodles
  • Lime


  1. Prepare chicken-flavored ramen noodles according to the directions on the package. Drain excess liquid.
  2. Mix in the canned unsweetened coconut milk, turmeric, paprika, tabasco sauce and chicken.
  3. Top with green onion, cilantro, and “chow mein” noodles. Serve with a wedge of lime. Just before eating, squeeze the lime wedge over the noodles.

To learn more about Shan culture & find this recipe, click here.

24 Hrs

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24 hours down & I feel so blessed. Thank you for all the kind words, the shares & generous donations. This IndieGoGo Campaign is allowing me to fund my dream & it’s such an honor to have you all along for the ride. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 45 days to go – let’s do this!!

IndieGoGo Launch!

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It’s Launched! 

Jeanna in Thailand: Empowering the Women of Burma 

Above is the link to my IndieGoGo campaign. I created this online fundraiser as a means to support the last third of my volunteer time in Thailand. I see the ways in which my teaching and practical support have changed the lives of women from Burma and their communities. I’d be honored to continue on.

I love my work and want the world to know! Help me spread the word! The easiest way is to share this link on your facebook pages (or Twitter feed, blog, email lists, etc). The campaign will be active for the next 50 days, but these first few days are so important!

I’m hoping to reconnect with those who know my story and many more who don’t. The journey that brought me this far has been rich with beautiful, encouraging, inspiring people. Thank you, for helping me make it this far. Thank you, for taking the time to help me today. Thank you, for supporting me in whatever way you are able.

Join me and spread the word, together we’re building strong communities.

 Happy Holidays & Happy IndieGoGo-HoHoHo! 


Also, shout out to the woman behind the beautiful longyi graphic –  Alexandra Doffing! Isn’t she brilliant?


This is important.

Burma Partnership » Cooperation Needed to End Violence Against Women of Burma.

Yi Peng


The mountain: A starry, starry sky. Frosty breath & winter coats. A shortage of lighters. Headlamps. A Thai drama on TV & a lot of laughing.

The city: Late night walks under lantern filled skies. Trees on fire. Children with explosives. Street vendors. Loud music & fireworks.