Thursday, August 23, 2007

A family of 8

I spent almost my entire day helping Brian move boxes from vans to a storage facility, but was blessed at the end of the day through meeting a family of 8 from Burma (also known as Myanmar). We drove them to the storage facility in a large passenger van. They quietly looked out the windows at the traffic while we drove down 82nd and Powell. They didn't speak a word of English.

When we arrived at the storage facility, they followed us into the building. They spent about 40 minutes picking out clothes, shoes, toys, and other household supplies from the piles of donated items. I helped one of the boys--probably about age 5--find a pair of sandals that fit. He was definitely excited about the new sandals, and promptly left his old, worn-out flip flops somewhere in the pile of shoes. I spent most of that 40 minutes trying to get their tiny baby to smile at me, but all I got was a somewhat surprised stare. The boys liked the toys, while the mom and the girls liked the clothes.

It was a strange experience to be speaking to Brian in front of them, but not have them even slightly understand. We could only communicate through hand motions and smiling. But they did understand one thing: when Brian dropped me off at my house, I turned and waved goodbye. They all smiled at mumbled something that sounded like "bye-bye" back to me. I guess waving goodbye is another universal signal.


  1. Would die doing that down here with the heat.

  2. Matthew-

    Luckily for us, Portland has fairly mild weather (compared to tornados, flooding, hurricanes, or ice storms found elsewhere).