She was with her children when she first heard mortar fire, in the distance, coming from a neighboring village. Soon afterward she began to hear people in her village yelling "Run!" She didn't know where her husband was, he had been on patrol, looking out for the Burma Army. She told us she wasn't ready to run, nothing in her home was ready…but she heard people in her village yelling and saw them running….and then she heard him, her husband, yelling also, "Run! Run! Run!"
And so she, and all of the villagers, ran, in different directions, with whatever they could grab and carry on their backs. Women, children, men...all ran into the jungle to flee the Burma Army who were firing into their village. She ran with 5 of her children. She didn't know where her husband was, or one of her daughters, and she was very worried, she told us "she felt very empty," but she ran...and kept running until they couldn't run anymore.
It was quite awhile before they got word, the Burma Army had shot her husband.
He had been in the jungle when he saw them coming and he tried to fire a shot into the air but his gun had jammed (they are using antiquated WWII weapons, if they have any at all). A neighboring village heard him and sent up the mortar fire to alert the other village. He ran back to his village, grabbed his wife's sewing machine and hid it, to try to save it from the incoming raid, and then ran back for rice. They killed him as he was trying to get to the rice storage. One of his daughters was with him, but they missed her as she ran into the jungle and found her mother.
She survived. You can see that in her face, she is a survivor. She has survived attacks like this since she was a little girl, in this nameless, unspoken war...just like her beautiful little daughter who she carried with her to see us.
She wonders, I am sure, will my daughter live this war? Will this be her whole life, running, being afraid? I hope not. And I hope to give her a voice.
There is more to say...