Poetry and Hardships, Myanmar 2009

I am fortunate to have been to Myanmar before this country once again experiences hard times. In 1989, the military governement renamed the country “Myanmar” to replace “Burma”, the English name. 

Myanmar’s natural resources are abundant: oil, stones, teak wood, agricultural products, but its resources are being exported for the profit of a few. It was obvious that the governement put barely any money back into health, education or improvement of the roads. In spite of the hard life most people live, I was astonished by their politness, charm, curiosity and honesty. I cannot remember how many times I had tea in people’s home, even dinner!. 

The practice of Theravada Buddhism is an important part of their life. However can the thousands of Buddha statues I saw really ease their suffering? 

Flying over Bagan or walking in Shan state was magical, but I will never forget the little girl called Mau Kham who I met in a train. She was coming home after working for 10 days in the fields for 30c a day. She was illiterate. This encounter tore my heart apart and stressed out once more how education and specially girls’ education is essential for our world to strive.

As I spent my last night on the poetic Inle lake, I noticed kids playing kites from their boats during the sunset, which I wish is an image hoping for a better future.