to Kada Village


Dear K,

Sorry we didn't manage to go along to Pyapon.  The reason being, on the morning of the 6th, ThuThu, who is the son of (her husband's friend), came here to our house.

I realised as soon as I got up that morning that my body was not fit for travel. I was on antibiotics and a cough had developed, and a runny nose, and even though I had had a glucose drip to try and fortify myself, no strength had come.  My body was all numb, quite unwell.

ThuThu had come to fetch the stuff.  What he told us was, the village he had in mind to go to on this trip, Kada village, has to be reached by motorboat from Pyapon.  From Pyapon, Kada Village is the last settlement before the sea.  When waves and wind come in from the sea, this village is affected first and foremost.

It was raining then.  All these days, there have been heavy rains in Yangon, it is a time of really bad weather.

I knew that I would not be able to reach that village, that at best I would make it only as far as Pyapon.  ThuThu said he had organised life-jackets.  But I knew I was without strength, that if we met a storm, I would not be able to hang on to anything.  So I decided not to go along.

While ThuThu was here, your little auntie phoned.  I told her that I would not be making it to Pyapon, that if she wished, she could invite a friend to accompany her.  As there had not been enough time to organise in the one day that she had had since she found out about the Pyapon trip, to get stuff together to donate herself, she said she would come along on the next trip.

With ThuThu, I sent 300 mats (used for sitting and sleeping on; she had chosen the size big enough to sleep 4 persons), to the value of 720,000/-; I also sent along 350 aingyi (upper garments), value 150,000.

Only now ThuThu has come back (on the 8th), he phoned at 4.30pm.  He said, "It was a good thing you didn't come along, Auntie, you were right!  Having been caught by waves, wind, and rain, I've returned in really low spirit."

They reached Pyapon at 11am (on Saturday 7th), and from Pyapon had to go in a small boat that carries the paddy.  From Pyapon, they headed towards the sea, along Pyapon River.  When they got near the sea, there was a turning into a small stream, which took them to the village.  If you do not take this little stream and instead continue for 15 minutes, you reach the sea.

After they entered the stream, they saw lots of gulls flying in from the direction of the open sea, they were charmed by the sight.  But the boatman's eyes and face became broken, and he said, "It's because waves and wind are coming, the gulls are fleeing inland."  So ThuThu and friends got caught in the waves and wind.

Kada Village is quite big.  On one side, the plots of land and paddyfields, and the huts, are damaged or destroyed. The people living on this side are the impoverished.  On this side of the stream, many lives were lost, and homes fallen down.  The fields here have tall grasses growing, instead of paddy.

To each household in this part of the village were given 2 htamein (woman's lower garment), 2 longyi (man's lower garment), cooking vessels, upper garments, the mats, sheets to use for covering roof or sides of huts.  Quite a lot of stuff was given in this part of the village.  What was left was divided amongst the villagers on the other side.

ThuThu said, "From the stink of rotting waterbuffalos, plus the rough waves, I felt so nauseated that I still can't eat a thing, Auntie."

The other side of the village is not impoverished, so they can already repair their homes.  The poor side needs to build new dwellings.

From what he saw, ThuThu says that what is needed is roofing materials, the stuff to make shelter.  Also a machine to cut grass, as all the cattle and waterbuffalos were killed.  And propagation seeds for the paddy.  The time for planting is from now until the middle of July.

He said that he can't go again to this village.  He seems to have been really exhausted by this trip. (He has been making trips to the Delta every week since the cyclone.)

There was another thing, why I didn't make the trip to Pyapon.  A friend told me that since I was in such a weakened state, that I should not go on this trip.  Skin disease and intestinal infections are occurring, and at a time when my resistance is so low, these infections can come in, she said.

Even if I could not give from my own hands, all the stuff for donating had been bought with full generosity, and it was all sent on the trip.  I told myself that I had not had the strength to go myself, and so I had to loosen my resolve.