Congressman Jim Himes joined New Canaan Country School 8th grade World Cultures students Tuesday, May 4, during a Zoom in which the students spoke with a family living in Myanmar (formerly Burma).
Congressman Himes provided an overview of how the U.S. government is responding to the unfolding political situation in the Southeast Asian country and the family (whose identities must remain confidential for their safety) detailed the ways in which daily life has changed and what it feels like to live in the middle of a military coup.
“The military is now in charge and has declared a year-long state of emergency. It seized control on Feb. 1, following a general election,” said the mother. The children went on to add that literally overnight, their entire life changed. Wi-fi was turned off country-wide. No one could communicate, get information or perform daily necessities such as pay bills online. Food markets and other stores now have limited hours of operation and just being on the streets could lead to military harassment, confiscation of personal property or even arrest. Schools have been closed for a year and everyone remains indoors indefinitely.
As a means of protest, the family shared that people bang on pots and pans city-wide at a certain hour every day, often risking gunfire to their dwellings and apartment buildings.
The zoom was organized by NCCS past-parent Emily Kelting who had met the family in her prior travels to the region. Knowing that the eighth grade World Cultures curriculum explores the culture, history and current events of Asia, she facilitated the opportunity for the students.
New Canaan Country School is a co-ed, independent day school for students in Pre-K (ages 3 & 4) through Grade 9 living in Westchester and Fairfield counties. Graduates excel at top day, boarding and public secondary schools and go on to lead lives of impact and purpose. For more information, please visit countryschool.net.