The village is a 45 minute walk to the nearest road, and so the most convenient transport they have is boats, and any outside life they see is brought to them by whatever boats stop at their river bank. Consequently the arrival of the Pandaw 2 is cause for great excitement and the entire village has turned out to welcome us. Actually it is almost entirely children who are waiting on the river bank, waving and smiling as we arrive.
The village has a population of 1800, and 1000 of them are children. This is the result of a village with very little electricity and only one television.
There must be over a hundred children greeting us and they are delightful. They get an enormous amount of pleasure from having their photo taken and then seeing it reproduced on the screen on the back of the camera.
Most of them are under 10 and obviously have not seen themselves very often, and some don’t recognize themselves. The other kids tell them that it is them they are looking at and there is a huge amount of giggling. There is one boy of about 10 who has a tattered New York Yankees cap, which he is wearing sideways.
Street fashion has reached a village in Burma , that has no streets
We are told not to offer the kids any money. Instead, we are asked to give any candy or money that we have to the school teacher who will distribute it later.
This way they do not learn to beg and so we have a delightful time without any of the begging that we are besieged with in the larger towns. They follow us everywhere and some even hold our hands. We do give the school teacher some money, but it disappears into his pocket and we have a sneaking suspicion that it will stay there and not reach the kids.