Thursday, April 7, 2011


We woke up in the morning to the sounds of the jungle waking up; roosters crowing, babies crying, fires crackling and Tokay's calling for their mates (a large gecko!).  We had a cup of hot Birdy coffee, rolled up our bed mats and mosquito nets, and then the hut started to fill...with newcomers... 

New to the camp, these people had recently found themselves, once again, fleeing from the Burma Army.  They ended up here, at this camp, with their families...trying to make a life, starting over, with nothing...trying to survive.

This woman had traveled with and was caring for her nephew, who had lost both of his parents and his sister, due to the Burma Army's activities.  I wondered what she was thinking about, staring out that doorway...

Oddny was "interviewing" these newcomers to the camp.  Where did they come from?  Do they have families?  Were they run out of their village?  How many times?  When?  Did they lose people in the attacks on their village?  The stories were painful, repetitive, heartbreakingly sad.  To imagine the life they have been living...well, it's unimaginable really. 

She was also inquiring as to their needs, to see what void Partners can help to fill.  Do they need clothing, tarps for shelter, food, medicines, school supplies, training...yes, to all of the above, especially to food.  Many of these newcomers to this camp came because their families were starving, trying to sustain themselves in the jungle.

Appreciative, they were all so appreciative of even the smallest things we could offer. 

And then Oddny asked this man, the one with his face resting in his hand, what he wanted, what he needed.  His answer was heartbreaking...and telling. 

"We just want to be able to go home," he replied. 

I don't know what the future holds for these people, displaced from their homes and their livelihoods.  I wish I could assure them that change will come, in their lifetime, that the oppressive government currently ruling their country would step down or some other entity would step in and stop these human rights abuses...but I can't.  I cannot assure them that they will ever be able to go home.  But what I can do is write these stories, publish these images, talk to people, write to people in power, raise money to help them feed their children, and I can educate people, make them aware of what is going on in Burma.  I can speak up for these oppressed people.  I don't want them to feel forgotten.  I want them to be able to go home.

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