Saturday, September 27, 2014

Back to Burma

Here I am in Burma again so soon. I am back to check on things at Bethel Children’s Home. We left funds for a couple projects, and helped put some new procedures in place to make it run more smoothly, and I had promised to come back soon,
so here I am.

But first I have come to Myaungmya, in the Irrawaddy delta region, far to the west of Yangon, the capitol. There is another orphanage here that I had heard about and I wanted to check it out and see how it is run.
We came to Myaungmya on the 2006 trip to Burma (me, my dad, my aunt and my sister) as it is the place my father went to boarding school after essentially being orphaned himself.  At that time, only certain hotels could take foreigners, and the only game in town was a dilapidated old house being run by some ex-military thugs. The place was (is) filthy, the sheets and towels stank, and you could hear the rodents in the ceiling. Lots of guys were laying about, collecting a salary, apparently, but no one was cleaning. Helena and I christened the place “Thug Motel” and it stands out as one of my worst hotel experiences ever (although not hers, I think). So it’s crazy that I am back here again. It’s still the only game in town. They built some new rooms adjacent to the house but they already seem 50 years old (with 50 years of accumulated dirt).  The AC works. Essential, as it is moist out. Not humid, MOIST. And they now have wifi. (Not that this is not the ideal time of year to visit; the best weather is Dec-Feb).

The orphanage is impressive, having between 60 and 80 children at any one time.  They are fully funded by an organization from the U.S. so they don’t need our help, but the director, David, has been graciously hosting me and answering all my questions. On of my father’s old friends, Ba Hla Thein, also lives out here and I was able to spend time with him and his wife. He’s one the who originally founded the orphanage and even late in his life he is still giving back.

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