In Thailand, they have a hell of a lot better excuses than paper-eating dogs. Today at Thai Samakee, my fifth grade did not show up at 2 because they were out with this man, learning to make brooms out of bamboo. I knew well in advance they would not be coming. I was working with my second graders, making name tags with their nicknames (yes, with these guys I only see once a week, that is where I am).
These boys were in charge of the fire. They had a long sharp awl they heated and used to drill/burn holes through a section of bamboo in the handle. It wasn't an all male thing however. I saw girls working the fire later in the afternoon.
These girls were doing a separate sort of stripping of these leaves, the purpose of which I only discovered later. Note the size of the knife at her feet. At some points there was a teacher present, but often she left to tend to other business. Here is a video of the wizened soul teaching broommaking.
He was something to behold. More astonishing was the rapt attention of the students. Although, if American students were allowed to make fires, drill holes, and use sharp, large knives on a regular basis, they would probably be attentive as well. Next door to me was another ongoing lesson:
Here are the two fish I managed to catch!