En Route: Four Sets of Numbers

CHT room numbers

Phew! Thanks to generous support from several of you and a week of carving, painting, and finishing, eight pieces of maple, 6″x6″, are on their way to my friend Maung in Cambridge, and then with him to the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh. Each is to be mounted on the door of a classroom in the school he helped to create where, uniquely, indigenous children can learn in their own languages. Each has the number of a grade 1-8 in each of four writing systems: Mro, Marma, Chakma, and Bangla, the official language of the country. In that way, each sign gives validity and authority to the indigenous children and their culture, while acknowledging that learning the national language will also be of value to them.
I must say, I felt a little uneasy as (and this is almost always the case) I’m not an authority on what I’m carving, and consequently rely on other sources. Sure enough, just before I started carving the last plaque I checked once more and discovered that I was about to make a sign that read “8, 8, 8, 9.”