Jungle walk for the Outreach Team
Although we share with you our many successes, it may be interesting to know many of the challenges the DARE Network Staff must overcome, work with, ride through and endure to continue to do their work. Apart from war and trauma that is.
The environment in the refugee camps and inside Karen State is primitive. In many places there is no electricity or running water. Shelter is simple bamboo. There are many insects, snakes and other wildlife with which to contend. People are traumatized. At our office we have frequent power outages and water stoppages.
The climate is harsh. In the rainy season there is flooding and landslides. Increased mold, bacteria and malaria carrying mosquitoes all presenting health dangers. In the dry hot season, there is dust, smoke, pollution, and heat reaching up to 45C or 113 F. This heat makes it very difficult to think and move…to work. The demands of the work increase within the climatic conditions. We have no air conditioning in our office or in our DARE Centres, in the field.
Thailand and Burma, despite their façade of democratic reform are run by dictators. Abuse of power over people with low status is the norm. Arrest, raids, and corruption are rampant on the border. In order to work, we must be careful of for our staff many of whom are stateless people. In Karen State, we must appease 4 or 5 armed groups at all times to provide safe passage for our DARE outreach teams.
Like many countries, Thailand requires are morass of bureaucratic obeisance. Reams of forms and multiple meetings are the norm for every move we need to make. Just a visit to the refugee camps require levels of approval from the local to the provincial to the national level. Sometimes these approvals don’t arrive in time. Camp passes can be denied for unknown reasons. There are at least 10 meetings a month on the border that we are required to attend, which are not all in the same place.
DARE Network staff support and monitor and evaluate all of our activities in Karen State and the Refugee camps. We travel on mountainous roads in all seasons, we cross rivers, ride motorcycles and walk, in order to support our teams. Noting the climate and environmental conditions above it is not easy and the distances are long. Each monitoring trip takes a week and we do these monthly.
- Language barriers
Our staff are required, because of our DARE teams, donors and authorities to speak, read and write in their own language Karen, Burmese, Thai and English. That’s four languages we deal in every day. I would say our DARE Network staff are among the most brilliant people I know.
Client and herbs
DARE Centre in Camp
Don't want to meet this on the way