Posted on 14 May, 2013

This post is by Fiona Hyde, Project Coordinator – Mandalay, Myanmar.

Open Heart International has been coming to Myanmar since 2002 and I have done over 10 trips with them. Every year when I walk out of my hotel I am confronted by the many street children selling postcards and books, with their parents overlooking from a distance. I believe that children are better off in school and so I choose not to buy from them.

However, the Myanmese children’s persistence pays off. Now every year, instead of giving them money, I take them to a small street stall and buy them lunch. The feast starts with 5 kids and soon expands to 20 or 30 as the word gets out that the Australian Heart Team are in town and lunch is free for all. For a total of US$10 they have a good feed, all the time practising their English with me to impress the next unsuspecting tourist that passes them by. “Kangaroo, Koala, Sydney Opera House”, they cry with giggles and cheekiness. “You Aussie, me cute”! I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my spare time in Yangon.

This year they are not there. As I depart Yangon I feel a sense of sadness, that I can no longer share this amasing hour with my street friends. Yet, the sadness is short lived. I am told democracy has forced all children back to school.……. and hopefully to a much brighter future. Good luck my little friends.

And to all the other doctors and nurses who have worked tirelessly with us through the week… we thank you for your incredible hospitality and kindness. Your dedication and commitment to your patients and work team should be an example to all cultures, including ours. We have thoroughly enjoyed our time here in Myanmar and the friendships we have developed. We hope we have been of assistance to you and your patients and very much look forward to seeing everybody next year.

Kyi zu tin par te thu nga chin xxxx

Tags:  Myanmar,