As I prepare to leave Burma I’ve realized there’s so much more to my experience than I can simply reflect on in a few post on the blog. The experiences I’ve had go much deeper than simply putting few thoughts into words.
For example, the one very rare time I had no camera with me that was the one time I needed it most.
I walked onto a hotel construction site owned by some International School owners. They have many interests, lot’s of questionable dealings.
We walked up the stairs to see the top floor. The building was still a shell, no roof yet.
I heard some scraping and having worked around construction for much of my life I could tell it was the sound of someone troweling. I turned a corner into a room on the fourth floor and looked into a doorway and saw a boy. His head turned to look at me as I looked into where he was working. His skinny arms were holding a plate full of cement and a big trowel. He was very thin and he looked sad in his dirty tattered clothing.
He must have been surprised at seeing a foreigner. I thought he wanted to step back and hide from me. He stared and I thought he looked hopeless, helpless, no smile.
Inside I was angered got disgusted with the owner. They owned an International with four different schools in Yangon and one in Mandalay.
I smiled to the boy but he didn’t smile. He had no smile to give. I walked away and decided at that time to confront the perpetrators of this disgusting scene.
When we got back on the ground I saw a bunch of barefoot kids in raggy clothes horsing around with unpowered electric tools like sanders and saws. I asked the owner why the kids were on the job site playing with tools.
Her reply to me was, “They’re on their lunch break”.
The owners of this hotel job site in Mandalay, and of a pretty large well known international school, just sent their daughter off to the United States for her undergraduate studies at over $50,000 a year. Of course the daughter is not to blame for her parents criminal and despicable behaviors. She really a nice, kind and wonderful kid and I am sure she doesn’t know a thing about how her parents made their fortune. But her parents, cronies of the military regime are pretty typical of the crony elite class.