Many moments in Myanmar…. Part 2
About 3 months ago you saw a blog from me about moments in Myanmar and I guess this is the sequel… I’m going to be writing a blog about once a month over the next year on what I’m doing in Myanmar. Before I go any further I thought it might be a good time to introduce myself, which I neglected to do in my previous blog. My name is Jenny, I have now been working in Myanmar for just over a year. Before I moved to Myanmar I was working for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) in Canberra, before that in a veterinary clinic in Bacchus Marsh and before that I studied vet at Charles Sturt University. Now my job is to manage the ACIAR/ Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) research project for livestock in the dry zone of Myanmar, affectionately known as Dahat Pan. Dahat Pan is a flowering tree that greens the dry zone when sometimes there is little else that is green. I am living in Yangon, attempting to learn some of the Myanmar language and working my way through a masters of veterinary public health at a somewhat slow pace.
Towards the end of 2015 Myanmar plans to hold democratic elections. In our Dahat Pan project in 2015 farmers will be using coops for their chickens, supplementary feeding their chicks and vaccinating against Newcastle disease. We will run a drench trial for deworming of cattle, sheep and goats, farmers may trial growing grasses and trees to cut and carry to their animals for feed. We will continue monitoring health and production of livestock and a number of male goats will be castrated. So there may be a few unhappy goats but hopefully happy farmers who are able to increase their income. 2015 promises to be an interesting year!
In the past year my life experiences feel like they have been accelerated tenfold, there has been rumours, surprises and misunderstandings in our project, like any good day time soap opera really. Misunderstandings and communication became the catch phrase of our annual meeting. The misunderstandings have ranged in scale from the budget, to who has the box of gloves for sample collection, to the look of total panic on our very helpful drivers’ face when I asked him if he was meeting friends for dinner. At least that is what I thought I was asking in Myanmar language but judging by the expression on his face it didn’t sound like that.
Figure 1: Our procession through Ya Thar village to collect samples for worm egg counts (we still had the gloves then).
The past year has also been a steep learning curve for two of my colleagues and friends Nandar & Ei Phyu, who work as junior scientists in the villages where we are doing research. Their jobs are to collect and manage data on production and health of cattle, sheep, goats and chickens, to manage trial plots of grasses, legumes and trees and to work with farmers to be involved with these activities. For every one of the activities they have learnt new skills, which they have applied very effectively. You might be able to tell that I am really proud and privileged to be working with them.
Figure 2: Nandar, Ei Phyu, Tu Tu and I preparing record sheets for collection of data on weights and body condition scores of cattle, sheep and goats.
2014 has been a big year and who knows what will be install for another year in Myanmar in 2015 but I’m in a unique and incredibly lucky position to find out.
Until next month…. Aung myin par say! (be successful/ cheers in Myanmar)