The three members of the Harris family, Bruce, Patty and Collin, left in our rented van yesterday, along with one of our translators, Khamh Lian Thang, for another region of Myanmar, to check up on Khamh’s work there. That left me and Lalchhuan Mawia on our own to travel by motorcycle to our next destination, which, incidentally, could only be reached by motorcycle via mountain trails.
We arrived six hours later covered with dust at the remote village of Tlang Kua (pronounced Tlenqaw). The entire population of 800 people, none of whom had ever seen someone with white skin, was waiting for us in a long line. Young women dressed in traditional Chin clothing placed flower garlands around our necks and then took us by our arms to escort us down the line, pausing at predetermined points as the village chief prayed, an old shot gun was fired twice, a choir sang a special song written for the occasion, elderly people pulled us into a circle to join them in a traditional dance, and young people performed a more modern dance. Needless to say, we felt welcome!
As the sun was setting not long after our arrival, we began visiting the weathered wooden homes of the first seven people in the village who’ve received Opportunity Loans of $200 to $500, thanks to gifts to our Micro-Loan Fund. All of them seemed destined to succeed, as they are using their loans to expand existing small businesses. They will serve as business trainers when we roll out a second set of loans next year that will assist 25 more village families.
Last evening, after speaking to most of the villagers at a special church service, I bedded down in the second story of the village chief’s rustic home in the center of town. The good people of Tlang Kua have a winter tradition of public Bible readings, from Genesis to Revelation, that are broadcast to the entire village via a loudspeaker—all night long. Residents take shifts through the night doing the readings. If that wasn’t enough to keep me awake, one of my roommates was a world-class snorer, and another one was a runner up. Add roosters crowing all night long, occasional dog fights on the street, and an indoor temperature that hovered around 40 degrees (fahrenheit). And when anyone rolled over in bed, the entire house swayed. Other than those things, it was a pretty good night.
This morning we visited a few more borrowers and then road off on our motorcycles into the mountains. We’ve got two more villages to visit where Heaven’s Family is working before we head back to semi-civilization. Below are a few more photos of the good people of Tlang Kua. Thanks again for joining me on this journey.