to Mavis' village


Dear K, I'm going to tell you about our trip on 29 June.

The week before, MaH's group (doctors and friends) had gone to TaWa village near Twante, the village that is situated on each side of a bridge.  They had not taken enough supplies and so had been able to give only to the poorer half of the village.  The other half was also in need, no one had come to help, so we decided to go back.

In organising for this trip, your little aunt, a relative of hers and a friend decided to join us. One friend of mine, whose daughter's birthday was on the 30th, wanted to offer donations for the occasion; their family got a car, so we were two cars on the trip.

Everyone has been going further into the Delta and this village that we were heading for, not so far from Yangon, had been passed over, no one else had been there after the cyclone.

MaH had estimated there to be 150 households that had been left out on her previous trip, so we gathered enough provisions for this number.

Your little aunt's group had purchased plates, water purifiers, and Burmese medicine, they had prepared parcels for 150 houses.

A friend had got 100 bottles of cooking oil, I added 50 more. Rita for her daughter's birthday wanted to feed all of us on the trip and brought along biryani. She had bought 100 cooking pots; you know this cost around Kyats 300,000. I added 50 more pots.

Then I got 150 blankets, the nice big ones from India.  Also chana dhal (yellow lentils, Indian) sacks, 150 peit-tha. Then upper garments for men and women, quite a lot of them.

We were altogether 10 in our car, and 8 in Rita's.  We left home at 7am and picked up friends here and there, leaving your aunt's house around 8am.

When we got to TaWa, we found out that this time we had overestimated; there were only 95 households who had been left out on the previous trip.  The headman called one person from each household, and we all assembled at the school. We put all the stuff there, and like for the offering of alms to monks, we organised ourselves.

When a name was called, the person representing her household came up to where we were all lined up.  First it was your AuntyLay with her parcel of plate, purifier and medicine.  Then, the oil.  Then the cooking pot. Everyone who got a pot was delighted.

I had placed myself at the spot where the pots were being handed out, so to each person who came up, I asked how many cooking pots they had, most of them answered that they had two, which means one for the rice, and the other for the curry.

Into the pot went the lentils.  One pyee of lentils is about 8 tins, enough for 8 times.  Then they got blanket, clothes - it was like offering alms to the monks, lots of fun!  I took a video and can send to you, but you don't have a video player!

As we had stuff left over, our friend who had come along, Mavis, told us that a place she knows, in the area of KawHmu,  DaguPoneKyay village, had only 16 houses left after Nargis, they were in great need. Mavis had been head of the school in this village for 20 years.  We then decided to go on to this village. We asked the drivers to take us further than planned; we would be returning later, and we said we would pay more.

The little doctors wrapped up their "movable clinic" and we left, visiting a pagoda in Twante on the way.  Then at ShweSanDaw Phaya (Golden Hair Pagoda), we all enjoyed the biryani for lunch.  Then we headed for KawHmu, it was raining heavily, we could hardly see the way.  Luckily, the rain lightened as we reached KawHmu.  At the market we bought rice, ten sacks.  Then we headed for Mavis' village.

It was a dirt track to the village, and with the puddles and heavy mud, the cars couldn't continue. If they had got stuck, we would have been stuck too!  There were little vehicles around, cycles (?!), "carrys" (?!).  Mavis having been the Sayamagyi (the lady guru), everyone knew her, of course.

She climbed on the back of one cycle and went ahead to the village.  We had to wait.  The way was through a bamboo thicket.

Mavis returned with a tractor and 8 cycles (!!!). Putting the stuff on the ploughing machine, we climbed onto the backs of the cycles - the boy driving the cycle in front, and in the back, two thin people or one fat person.  We headed into the bamboo thicket.  Where the bamboo twigs came down low, we had to duck our heads.  Whenever we went through muddy patches, we got drenched.  There were hollows and dips, so with bamboos above, mud below, and holes and dips everywhere, we were like James Bond on the back of the cyles.  And the rain was pouring down. We were soaked. We had so much fun!

When we reached the village, while the little doctors did their thing, we handed the stuff to the headman and the head teacher, asking them to distribute later.

With all the rain, everything would have got soaked as we handed it out, plus the villagers would have had a drenching.  The rice would have got wet!

We left about 5pm, reaching home around 8 o'clock.  This time, although we visited those in trouble and in poverty, for us it was a really fun trip. Everyone who came along enjoyed themselves.

Your little aunty's relative who accompanied us said, this trip was as enjoyable as it was satisfying.

K, on behalf of the villagers, I thank your friends who have given help.

I have received the money you just sent.  11 July 08, 21.00