Come along for the journey!

Come along for the journey!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

GIVING BACK? (Kalaw to Inle Lake, Myanmar)

Going into the Myanmar countryside was like going back in time two hundred years. There are no shelled roads, there is no electricity in large swathes of the country, the entire landscape is farmed by hand, using hoes, ox ploughs and carts. It is really like pre-industrialised Europe. It is mainly women doing the hard graft, with children running for water, and the men get to chew beetle nut and play with the toys - very rarely you’ll see a tractor coming to collect produce.


It really is incredibly poor. People here are the ones you hear about in charity campaigns who live on less than a dollar a day. Most people live in bamboo huts and share a family bedroom. It’s a cliché but people do seem happy, untouched by the privileges and trappings of modern western life. We live such a privileged life, full of opportunity, able to choose what we do and where we go. We constantly ask ourselves how we can give back instead of just taking.

We’ve undertaken a little project, taking pictures of people in such areas, and giving them copies of the photos. We’ve carried a ‘mini-photo studio’ around with us - a camera, laptop and portable printer, and given people pictures in the middle of fields and forests, rice paddies and bamboo shacks.

 People have been delighted to receive what is typically the only photo they own of themselves or their children. We hope to be distinct from the new swathes of tourists by trying to give something back. Whether we are a being genuinely philanthropic and counter-cultural to most other tourists, or if we’re still part of the problem of imposing western values on people is something we’ll probably not know yet.

 I do know that this fella was very happy and proud to have photos of his grand children for the first time.


A herd of cattle, and a huge ass

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