Just three days before I left Yangon I was hawled into a restaurant by Asjar and his two sons. Asjar, a talkative man in his thirties, was released from prison in the beginning of April, just two months before I met him. His crime: writing a report on human rights abuses in Burma and giving it to the American embassy, where he worked as a driver, as well as some foreign NGOs. Like most political prisoners, the police knocked on his door in the middle of the night and he had no time to take anything with him or tell anyone where he was going. Neither had he any idea of how long he would be away. This happened in 2005, he spent seven years in prison. A lot changes in seven years.
These photos, I took when I …
While visiting the town Kyaukme I decided to go and have a look in the villages around town. After getting lost a couple of times and feeling like I was about to drop dead from heat stroke, I walked in to this small Shan village where I was asked to stay the night. My limited thai proved useful and I had a great evening. Many, if not most, adults in the village had at least during one period in their lives worked in Thailand, usually for about 5-10 years, without returning home. While these journeys pay for things like generators and some brick houses, the absence of family members is understandably very taxing on everybody involved.
On a happier note! Thingyan is a water festival held to celebrate the Buddhist new year (similar to Songkran in Thailand). I was told it lasted for four days but that wasn’t true. I counted to eight or nine days of having a bucket of water thrown in my face. It’s crazy. Whole families stand by the road (or railway tracks) and throw water at everyone and everything that passes. A very joyful celebration. Little children are completely ecstatic!
This family, like most, was standing outside their restaurant. I played with them and their somewhat intoxicated father for a couple of hours. It felt good to get some revenge after a week of constantly being a target for girls with buckets of ice water.
The school in Huay Tong, where i teach English, closed at the end of march for holidays. So after some persuasion from Burmese here in Thailand, I took the opportunity to go to Myanmar (or Burma). And I’m glad I did.
Myanmar is one of the poorest countries on the planet and is ruled by one of the strictest military regimes in the world. Criticizing the regime is punishable and media is heavily censored. But despite these hardships, the people I have met has been incredible and surprisingly vocal about their opinions.
Traveling is slow to say the least and as a foreigner your movement is limited. This photo is from my first train journey in the country, from Myitkyina in the north to Mandalay. 500 km in 24 hours is excruciatingly slow but being the only foreigner in the carriage, I drew …
Nikorn giving a boy in the village a hair cut in his garage. He’s a mechanic/hairdresser. It’s five baht.
Simiri is eight years old. He lives in the room next to mine with five other boys. The family I live with takes care of all of them, and a couple more. Some because their villages doesn’t have school, some because they have no home to go to.
This is Simiri showing me around a temple not far from the village.
I’m in Thailand. I live in a village called Huay Tong, in northern Thailand, with some of the kindest people I have ever met. I teach English at the school in the day and give lessons to anyone who’s interested in the evening. I couldn’t be happier.
This is from an afternoon playing football with some of my students. Will post more photos in the weeks to come. Don’t know for how long I’ll stay. I guess I’ll go home when I’m ready.
A piece of film that I liked but never published and now it’s winter. I’m going somewhere warm soon I think.
I don’t remember if they were the first ones up or last standing. But I like to see people having fun just by themselves. It’s from my uncles birthday party.
I was on my way to work last week and walked by Circus Scott around six o’clock in the morning.