Two Countries
Living in One World

Where do I begin? Probably the easiest way to begin is to start over two years ago. I wanted to return to see my family near Inle Lake. My daughter, Moh Moh, was my tour guide on my first trip, and my son, Ko Ko, was my guide on my second journey. They have three children, Ti Ti, Snow, and Fatty. Ti Ti was nine when we first met. Her two younger sisters were in a preschool daycare. I met them on my first trip, but they were too young to remember me.

When we were making plans for our family excursion, we told Moh and Ko Ko that I had only a couple of stipulations. They would set the itinerary. I just wanted to visit Moh Moh’s mother and Than, my artist friend, in Yangon. Additionally, I wanted to return to Bagan and go in a hot-air balloon ride over acres of pagodas. Mt. Popa was the only other place that I wanted to revisit. Moh Moh and Ko Ko would pick all the other destinations.

Moh Moh sent me an email with a suggested list of places a couple of weeks later. I looked at the list, and I didn’t even know any of the locations even existed. One was Set Set Yo. I didn’t care where we went; any place would qualify as far as I was concerned. While we were at Set Set Yo, I enjoyed that small village. I met my great-granddaughter, A Ngal Lay, there.

While I enjoyed A Ngal Lay, Moh Moh and Ko Ko several notebooks and pencils to the children in the village.

Another place was Loikaw. Moh Moh knew that I would love the city and the Taung Kwe Pagoda, which means broken mountain. Years ago, there was a legend that a ship had docked between the broken mountains.

Taung Kwe Pagoda

When we visited Taung Kwe Pagoda, Ti Ti, Snow, and Fatty impersonated the scene from the movie, Titanic.

Last week, I emailed Moh Moh about an article from Frontier Fridays, which addressed the civil war in Myanmar. The online magazine wrote about 60% of the population of Loikaw fled the city due to the military seizing the town. Interestingly, Moh Moh replied, “As for moving residents from Loikaw was still happening. Some are also moving near Inle lake, Taunggyi, and nearby us for temporary place to stay, etc..We also try to help them in various way.”

A couple of days later, Moh Moh emailed me about providing the refugees hundreds of face masks. They were reaching out to the refugees in the same way they helped several dozen children with notebooks and pencils.

What fascinates me about my family is that Myanmar is a developing country. Whether it is notebooks and pencils or face masks, they will provide help to the less fortunate. The poorest Americans have more of what we call necessities in their home than 95% of people in Myanmar. Our necessities are refrigerators, stoves, washing machines, and dryers. Yet people in Myanmar give far more to those in extreme need than what Americans give relative to their financial situation.

One other note. Strangely enough, many ignorant Americans diss masks and vaccines as protecting Americans from the coronavirus. America has 4% of the world’s population with 20% of the world’s population of cases and deaths. When looking at death totals recently, 98-99% of all COVID deaths are among unvaccinated people, many of whom didn’t wear masks.

However, Myanmar is more rational and better informed than many Americans. We are approximating a banana republic. Beyond the obvious fact that not getting vaccinated and wearing masks is killing Americans, it also spreads COVID.

________________________________________________________________________________________ This is the Johns Hopkins interactive COVID website.