Moments in Myanmar…. Part 3
In the past couple of months my Mum has been to visit. So as with any visitor I wanted to show her what is unique and special about Myanmar… in short there is a lot. Here are some of the things I find really fascinating, I’m not sure if these are covered in the lonely planet for Myanmar!
- The Myanmar longyi- women where long skirts in a huge array of colours and designs and so do the men. The style for men tends to be checked and tied in a knot at the front which if you have a good technique can also serve as a pocket. I have never had so many compliments of beautiful “Hla deh”, as when I am wearing a longyi. The women and children also wear thanika on their cheeks. It is a type of traditional sunscreen and makeup made from powdering wood from the thanika tree.
- Pickled tea leaf salad. It is commonly eaten with fried nuts and beans, tomato and cabbage. Sound kind of strange I know, but really delicious. Probably one of those things you just need to try!
- Kind and generous people, not necessarily unique to one country. But Myanmar must have a high percentage of them. My neighbour continues to pay my bills for me because I can’t read the bills (I reimburse him). My colleagues continue to be patient with my terrible pronunciation and asking multiple times how do you say… in Myanmar.
Picture 1. My colleagues showing how to wear a longyi and work in one too.
A highlight of the visit with my Mum was spending time in the village. One of many friendly farmers wanted to know how old she was from what I could understand and wanted to know how many children she had. He seemed to be complementing her on how young she looked. It really reinforced how much I wish I could communicate with the farmers I work with directly.
I continued as a tour guide after my Mum left with Sarah, a vet student from Massey University coming to stay with me. She had booked into a guesthouse only to discover after swapping rooms three times that all the beds had bed bugs and so arrived at my place at midnight on her first night. She came here to see what kind of roles vets can have in interesting places and to see the farming systems in Myanmar. She had her 15 minutes of Myanmar fame at the livestock show with a TV interview for the farmer channel, visited farms around Yangon and in Shan State and helped with vaccination of chickens against Newcastle Disease with our ACIAR Dahat Pan project team.
This month I have been working more with masters students from the University of Veterinary Science to finalise their proposals for the short research projects they are going to be doing linked with our project. The results are going to be used to help build up the bigger picture about livestock farming systems in the Dry Zone of Myanmar and the types of changes which have potential for increasing production and profits.
The cuckoo bird started to sing outside my office window a little while ago meaning summer was coming and now it is well and truly here.
Until the next month or two…. Aung myin par say! (be successful/ cheers in Myanmar)
Picture 2: After a hard day preparing the fields, undoubtedly this friendly farmer from Kyauk Aoe village was working harder than me.