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  Yangon  |  05.06.2008
 
 

Still sick. Today Lesh and Manuel went out and bought the water tank for the school. They decided that the more expensive fibre glass tank was better and they went out to the first shop to try and negotiate a good deal on transport. In the end they got a good price for a truck to take the 250 gallon tank and the 2 of them to the school. I stayed behind and did some work on the website to try and get some donations in for the school. I met up with the boys at 5pm with them full of stories for the day. They were going to meet up with Joseph for a beer at the beer station down the road to talk about the days events. Although I was tired and weak from having eaten nothing but a tin of lychees all day, I got up too and joined them at the beer station.

The boys drank beers and ordered some bbq food while they drank, which I also ate a little bit even though I knew it was probably not a good idea. Then finally I got to hear the stories for the day. The major news was that lesh and Manuel had met with an accident while transporting the tank to the school. Luckily neither of them were hurt, in fact nobody was hurt from either truck. The main reason no body was hurt is because neither truck was going fast enough over the potholed bridge to cause any damage. It was the other drivers fault. He made a late decision to pull out of his lane and pulled out right infront of their truck. After a bit of argy bargy, they settled things amicably with the other driver agreeing to pay the costs of the repair work. They made it to the school without further incident and delivered the tank safely. They were going to get the truck drivers to drop them back off by the flat but the drivers were a bit reluctant as there was a new checkpoint on the bridge and they didn't want to answer any questions on why they had foreigner s in the truck once there was not tank in the back. Of course Lesh and Manuel totally agreed, as th e y didn't want to get anyone into trouble so they caught a bus back. Meanwhile this same new checkpoint was causing trouble for Jyotish coming to the school today. He usually travels by bus to the school but today he had a few people with him who were also donating some funds and who wanted to see the village and the school th e y were donating to. Because it was a large group the y went in 2 taxi's. When they got to the check point the first car with 3 foreigners and one local woman was turned back as the local woman had spilled the beans that they were going to a school and going to look round a devasted cyclone area. Well if you are going to tell the officials the truth then of course you are going to get turned away from the checkpoint. Jyotish was a bit cleverer and had told the officials he was going to paint the pagoda nearby...but since the other car had already blown their cover he was turned away and sent back. Instead what jyotish did was jump on a bus which passed through the check point no problems. So the new rule is, no tourists allowed in the Thanylin area...which seems bizarre to me. Actions like this only hurt 1 group of people..those in desperate need. So what if tourists are go ing to help...isnt that a good thing??? We are not trying to start a revolution round here, we are just installing a water tank and getting a school back on trac k ...where is the harm in that? Anyways, Jyotish doesn't seem to think it will hamper thing s because we can still get to the school by bus. He would never have taken a taxi only that these posh donators didn't want to sweat it out with the locals on the bus.

So....after the bbq dinner we make our way back to the flat to meet Jyotish as he has managed to find a contact for transfering money from KL. As we make our way back we pass the Hindu temple and we can here drums and music coming from inside. Joseph and Manuel are interested and want to have a look so we go inside. There is some temple celebration going on for the reincarnation of some god or other. Apparently this celebration only happens every 75 years due to the alignment of the stars so the last time this celebration took place was in 1933! All the women were in saree and looking beautiful. One man came up to us and talked to u s for a while explaining about festival. His english was very good as he is of the older generation who were around during the colonial days. He was interested to hear that Lesh was from malaysia as his father was born in Penang! When his father was little he had moved from Penang back to Madras and then to Rangoon. So his son (the man we were talking to) had been born in Rangoon and was 1st generation Burmese but of Tamil decent. We left Joseph and Manuel to enjoy the festivities while we went back to meet Jyotish. When he came he gave us details of a shop down by the docks that has been used before to transfer money from Kl to here. So my task tomorrow will be to fathom out this process and to get the ball rolling while the boys go and plumb in the water tank.

 

 
 
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