Gratitude for the Sparks Flying

We get lots of wonderful messages from people affected by Primitive Pursuits and from the recipients of over 100 scholarships we make available each year. We want to share just one example, printed in its entirety, by permission here:


Dear Primitive Pursuits Staff,

My husband Otto and I are privileged to sponsor a family who has immigrated to the US from Burma.

Here’s a little story about them. 

Eh Htee Kaw’s dad played in the jungle when he was a kid. He learned how to use a slingshot with remarkable accuracy. As a young man, he worked in muddy rice fields. When soldiers threatened his village, he ran with his young wife and several family members through the jungle to a refugee camp in Thailand. They lived in the camp for 11 years. Sometimes he found work as a carpenter, working with bamboo. Eh Htee Kaw and his brother and sister were born in the camp.

Eh Htee Kaw (say “Tiko”) had his third birthday two days after his family arrived in Ithaca, June of 2011. They adjusted to the very different life here quite well; Eh Htee Kaw and his brother and sister did well in school, his dad found work on farms and at Emmy’s Organics. His mom learned English, and cooked. She cooked and cooked….fed her family, and her neighbors, and her neighbors’ kids too, in the public housing apartment complex.

Then, one morning last June, just before Eh Htee Kaw’s 9th birthday, his mom went to wake his dad up to get ready for church, but he wouldn’t wake up. He had died in his sleep. (As it happens, the people most likely to die of sudden unexplained nocturnal death syndrome are 36-42 year old men from southeast Asia who have immigrated to the US).

Eh Htee Kaw’s mom is struggling to pick up the pieces.

I wanted to give you this background information so you might fully understand the depth of appreciation I have for the people who make it possible for Eh Htee Kaw to play in the jungle…to make sparks fly, to hold delicate creatures in his hands, and to drink the purest of pure water, dripping from a grapevine. Eh Htee Kaw glows when he talks about his adventures at Primitive Pursuits. He loves it! And I do love to see him shine.

Sincere BIG THANKS to those who contribute to the Primitive Pursuits Scholarship Fund!

Graham Ottoson