A Younger Version of My Granddaughters
I can’t think of a more transformative moment in my life when I met Ti Ti nearly a decade ago in Inle Lake. It radically changed my Weltanschauung. I went to Myanmar to interview Aung San Suu Kyi, often called the Lady. While there, I visited many tourist destinations, one of which was Inle Lake. Moh Moh, my tour guide, had to pick my itinerary at her home about my next tour guide and the hotel I would stay after leaving Inle Lake. She said it would only take a couple minutes. We were greeted by Ti Ti, who was nine at that time. We wanted to play some games with me.
I failed to interview the Lady, but I met a young lady, which tied my American family to my Myanmar family. It doesn’t get better than that. I returned several years later, and Ko Ko was my tour guide. My family and I went on our first family tour together on that third trip. I wanted Moh Moh and Ko Ko to plan the trip with just a couple of caveats, like returning to Mt. Popa and Bagan. The rest of the tour was theirs to plan.
One of the destinations was a small village called Set Set Yo. In reality, any place that they chose would have been perfect. I didn’t ask why we would stop there. I was there to enjoy the moment. Moh Moh and Ko Ko had a reason but never mentioned it.
We all got out of the minivan. If you put me anywhere with young children, I’m in my heyday. It wasn’t long before I was flipping kids. I didn’t know what my adult children were doing, but I was having fun. We had been there for nearly an hour because I noticed what Ko Ko and Moh Moh were doing. They were given notebooks and pencils to all the children. This is a photo of some of the children.
I have written dozens of articles about how meeting Ti Ti changed me. I can understand how playing Scrabble with her was fun and engaging. That statement is not hyperbolic. Nonetheless, I happened to pick up A Nyal Lay from an old child. She would soon be having her first birthday. Someone had my camera and was taking pictures and videos. Either Ti Ti or her uncle, who was a part of our family tour, took the picture.
Look at this moment in time captured in the photo. It might have been a minute but no more than that. A picture is worth a thousand words.
So, I discovered my great-granddaughter. Moh Moh emailed me the other day and mentioned A Ngal Lay and her family.
Also, today I can send $$ to A Ngal Lay’s family. They said they would like to see you and thank you. Also, we were talking over the phone for half an hour. They invited to us visit there. So, may be, next month or so we will visit them. If you were here, how happy I am.
Moh Moh’s comment about being happy if I were there for their visit brought me to tears. I wish that I could be there to see A Ngal Lay again. This time longer than a few seconds.
I will be back for Ti Ti’s graduation in a couple of years. I miss my family, which includes A Ngal Lay. I am sitting here in America thinking about my family while I watch and listen to the insanity the Ukrainian people are facing. Russians have killed several hundred incident Ukrainians during their bombing of cities. Over 1.5 million refugees have gotten to safety in neighboring countries. Tragically, the worst killings and causalities are still to come in the next weeks and months. The world has set sanctions in motion, which will take months to become fully effective.
My family in Myanmar is facing a civil war. Reuters estimates that 1,500 civilians have been killed by the military, with nearly 10,000 having been arrested. I can worry and be concerned about many people that I don’t know. Can you imagine how worried I am about my family in Myanmar?