Our “5,000-star hotel” in Zatual. When guests need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, they can see at least 5,000 stars in the sky!
After my rousing sermon at Zatual’s Baptist church last night, everyone was in the mood to go to sleep, so we retired fairly early, around 8:30. Beds were prepared for us by our hosts who laid woven mats and blankets on the second-story wooden floor of the house in the photo above. I slept very well except for the 20 times that I awoke in pain. From 3:30AM onward I patiently waited for the sunrise, lying among four sporadically-snoring teammates. When anyone would turn over, the entire house swayed.
At the crack of dawn, the citizens of Zatual were up and about. So I grabbed my camera to document Zatual’s morning life, a sample of which is below, with captions. After breakfast we headed deeper into Chin State’s mountains to visit another village, the subject of my next blog. — David
Our hotel room. If you look closely in this photo, you can see four sleeping heads.
This is a daily ritual in all the poor villages in Myanmar. Mother and son are sifting through rice to remove small rocks and the feces of resident mice and rats.
An impromptu morning meeting around a public faucet to gather the day’s water, made possible by a grant from Heaven’s Family.
She is carrying the trunk of a banana tree, which is very moist, and which she will slice into small pieces with a machete to feed to her pigs
Two tiny street urchins whom I met on my morning walk. There is no traffic on Zatual’s only street except an occasional motor scooter.
A boy and his pet monkey that he caught in the nearby jungle
There are 10 public faucets in Zatual, and this is one of them. Residents previously hiked two miles to fetch their daily water.
These Zatual children were playing a game something akin to “monkey in the middle,” although I couldn’t figure out all the rules. The kid in the middle had two paddles that he used to try to intercept the ball being thrown between the two girls on either end, and he would periodically stack in stages the boards that are scattered around his feet.
This is the ball that the children in the above photo were using, made of crumpled paper wrapped with a rubber band
I surmised that folks came outside in the morning just to warm themselves in the sun, as it is quite cold this time of year at 3,000 feet above sea level. Because poor people often don’t have chairs, just about everyone in the developing world can squat for long periods of time like the men in this photo.
These folks sang us to sleep last night in an adjacent house, as they practiced for a regional choir competition. They gathered to practice again early this morning when I took this photo. Notice the fluorescent light on the ceiling, powered by a small hydro-electric generator, courtesy of a loan and grant. 80% of all households in Myanmar do not have electricity.
A new little walker and his dad, with mother and big brother in the background, sitting before a small fire inside their house where they are cooking their breakfast. The wooden planks which the Zatualians use to build their houses are all sawn from logs by hand.
A little Zatualian beauty