Enote 46 – The Killer FruitJuly 26, 2008
Oppression of the Refugees Continues:
About two weeks ago we got this cryptic message from our son, Chris. 'This looks like Do Moo's village. He's not back yet.' We looked up the reference and found a report by the Free Burma Rangers. The report was a summary of three incidents committed by the Burmese Army entitled Woman looses Leg, Man Dies, as Burma Army systematically lays landmines and attacks villages. It included this picture on the right taken by the Burma Free Rangers, and said it was from Ta Mu Der.
We checked our records, and yes indeed, Ta Mu Der is a village in the Papun district of Burma in which we support a school through Do Moo, a young refugee with whom we work. We continue to hope for the best for our school, and Do Moo and his people, but however it turns out, we remain confident that these resolute people will once again find a way to continue the education of their children. And we expect to be there to help.
The Killer Fruit:
Some species of bamboo live for fifty years, and before they die the plants grow a large seed pod shown in the picture. This fruit is eaten by wild rats, and because it is so prevalent and nutritious, the population of rats rises rapidly to enormous numbers. They soon eat all the bamboo seed pods, and then start to eat the rice on which the people depend. Destruction of rice is aggravated by the regime's confiscation of land, thus removing it from agricultural use, and forced labor practices leaving farmers unable to properly attend their fields that remain. These forces have combined this year so food is very scarce and many Chin are starving. They are migrating in ever larger numbers to Mizoram. You can read the report given by the Chin Human Rights Organization here. It is a 'pdf' file which can be read by Adobe Reader, a free program. You can also go to the Chin websitewww.chro.org.
Liz recently got an email from Zei, a Chin woman from Aizawl who we know. She says in part: 'To speak about the people of Chin state, we got the report that in southern Chin state many people already moved in to Mizoram just like shifting their village and were helped by the people in Mizoram. The Young Mizo Association also helped as much as they can especially in Southern Mizoram as Famine is affecting more compare to Northern. In three villages (Tlangpi, Tlanglo and nearby villages of Thantlang township) rats are increased enormously in number recently. The village leaders decided to collect money for buying poisons for rats of 4000.00 Kyats (equivalent to $2.92) worth one package from each family, only half numbers of families (about 200 families) can contribute and the rest could not afford for it. ... Therefore Ma'am, we will be appreciating you very much if you help them through our organization. As we visited we saw more about their miserable lives by our own eyes and that made us think more on how to help them.'
We became aware of the bamboo cycle a few years ago when the problem began to affect the hill-tribe people we were helping in Maw Kwee. We hope to do a little on our own and we plan to extend our education program further into the southern regions of Mizoram state, where many of the refugees are now coming.
Can you help us?
We all know the economy is bad, and some are very hard hit by the crisis in home loans, but we also know that most of us are very much better off than refugees who don't have a single human right, who don't even have a country they can call their own. We are concerned this year that the bad economy will affect our ability to raise funds, so we are asking any of you who have not donated to our work to give us your post address so that you may receive our brochure and appeal for support this September. Also we wish to reach more people with enotes like this one. If they interest you, it is likely they will interest your friends. We hope than you can mention our work to some of your friends, and, if some are interested, send us their email address with their permission. We will be happy to add them to our distribution list.
As you recall from the previous enote, Dianne accompanied us and made a DVD documentary of our work. This one is similar to the original, which you can see on YouTube, but shows our recent work in India as well as more of our work in Thailand. Those who would like to have one, but have not yet donated are asked to email email@example.com and request a copy. We will be happy to send one when they become available.
June 1 to present: Met with several donors to give them a private report on our work.
June 3: Gave a talk and video presentation on the Fund's work.
June 12: Met with local TReps. to review the last Asia trip.
June 12 to June 22: Did research on private foundations through Foundation Center and sent out 55 letters inquiring about grants.
June 25: Met with designer and writer to prepare the next brochure. This one will contain a gift copy of our video for all donors.
June 26: Gave a party for local volunteers and local supporters.
July 1 to Present: Learned and evaluated 'ebase' a relational database that purports to be able to capture all of the relationships of our organization.
Thank you for your interest in the oppressed people of Burma, and for supporting our work.