Friday, March 14, 2003

It's been a week of ups and downs.

Some schools have come back from the extended holidays they took at the beginning of February (and some are due back on the 22nd) to face futures that are much more uncertain than when they sent their teachers and students home. Our school has hung in there and stayed open. Teachers have left in a trickle since the beginning of February and we are now at about 2/3 staff. A few of the teachers that left have come back, having run out of money or faced some other unfortunate consequence of not working.

The staff requested a meeting with the board to talk to them about what plans are in place for evacuating the staff. We met on Monday afternoon. Despite the March 17th deadline, the school continued to take a wait and see attitude. It would not make a prediction about the start of hostilities and cancel school, or extend the holidays. At the meeting, this upset quite a few of the teachers and the director faced quite a few accusations of the school not being concerned about the welfare of its teachers. The director did however show a much better understanding of the staff's feelings by the end of the meeting.

The next day, the UK proposed its extension, and the certainty that the invasion would begin before our vacation that begins on the 19th looked less certain. We all felt more secure, holiday plans began to extend. If an invasion started during the holiday, who knows how long it might last.

Now, with it looks like a vote, if it even happens will take place on Monday. So our Wednesday holiday will go ahead. Our next worry is that will we over having to come back at the end of a holiday. (Is it wrong to hope for the war to start so we can stay in Thailand for a couple extra weeks?) Unfortunately, the board probably won't extend the vacation unless it is fairly definite that an attack will begin.

What we really fear is that the discussions over disarmament will continue over the summer and into the fall. And that when we come back next year, we will just be repeating the same situation all over again. (If it's wrong to hope for a war to stay in Thailand, it's even worse to hope for a war to make life a little easier)