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Sunday, 9 May 2010

Clive, Myanmar (Burma) - Kachin bruised ribs

Clive: “I spent the end of January in Mitkinya (pronounced Michinar) in Kachin province, near the Chinese and Indian borders. The flight was 2hrs 40 minutes including a 20 minute stop in Mandalay, the scenery from the air was fantastic as the flight path followed the Irrawaddy River. I stayed with Renaud the French Coordinator for DOW, in his house (the garden included an incinerator for needles – the work in Kachin is with drug users). Transport was by bike and on the way to work we rode by the side of the Irrawaddy with mountains in the background. Mitkinya was larger and more modern than Pyapon and I liked it as a town. Each morning you could see boats coming down the river with water melons etc to sell at the market.

It was freezing at night but 25 degrees in the day.  Kachin is very Christian and there were churches on every street corner, mainly Baptist, but also some Catholic and Anglican. We went to Ubyit to see the clinic.  I also went to Moeggaung 2 hours away, accompanied by a Government Liaison Officer (as this is required for expatriates), and I visited the clinic there. I had to present the new Human Resources Policy at each site, which was translated for me and as with any new policy there were lots of questions especially on pay. At one heated moment at Moeggaung I broke the ice as the chair I was sat on (a plastic garden chair) collapsed.

The local staff were horrified I just thought it was funny. This was after an hour of holding the meeting.  My only positive was that if I had not lost weight in Myanmar it would have probably collapsed in only 30 minutes.

The picture shows Renaud, Dr Mo Thant and Min Min having a drink in the night market.

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