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The Road to Khua Hrang [David’s 2nd Blog from Myanmar]

06 Jan

The Road to Khua Hrang [David’s 2nd Blog from Myanmar]


This was just the beginning…

Yesterday we only had to drive 90 miles in our rented van, from Hakha, Chin State’s capital, to Khua Hrang (pronounced Qwaw-rawng), a remote village of 260 families. I knew we were in for trouble when, thirty miles from the village, eight-or-so young men met us on motor scooters to escort us the rest of the way. It was not long after that we came to the first of many muddy, rutted sections of the road. Every time our van got stuck, those young guys went to work. Thirteen hours later, in the darkness, we arrived at our destination.

To our surprise, at least 1,000 villagers were waiting in a long line to greet us. 99% of them had never seen a person with white skin, so I suppose we were worth waiting for! After the welcome, we bedded down in the parsonage of the local Assemblies of God pastor. To our delight, we had beds to sleep in, although they were hard on the hip bones of side-sleepers.


The J-Team: Collin Harris, orphanage director and micro-banker Andrew Ngu Nkhar, HF national missionary and interpreter Khamh Lian Thang, Bruce & Patty Harris, micro-banker and interpreter Lalchhuan Mawia, and our driver, Lal Din Lian

This morning, many of Khua Hrang’s 1,800 residents gathered at the village’s large Baptist church, and our team members all briefly shared. As always the case, I reminded them of the foundational facts of the gospel of our Lord Jesus. We never neglect such opportunities.


At left: Two translators were needed when Bruce Harris greeted the congregation: English-to-Chin and then Chin-to-Khuarang, a unique language shared by a few villages in the region. At right, HF representative Lalchhuan Mawia, standing at the location of our Rice Bank in Khua Hrang.

Khua Hrang’s residents are like so many of Chin State’s subsistence farmers. Every year they cut down nearby forests, remove wood that can be used for cooking and heating, burn the brush that remains, and plant corn. The soil only sustains one crop, so each year, the cycle is repeated. I was blessed to spend some time with the gracious village elders sharing what I know about Farming God’s Way, and suggesting some ways that they can feed their soil so that it will better feed them. I hope I can talk Dick Samuels, who directs our Farming God’s Way Fund, to come here next year and teach. Supplementing Khua Hrang’s income at any given time are 200-300 of their residents who work as laborers in India or Malaysia making a dollar a day.


One of the younger citizens of Khua Hrang, at left, and its oldest citizen, who I think is 95, at right

Heaven’s Family has also provided a loan for a rice bank, by which large quantities of rice are purchased and transported to the village and sold to the villagers at a profit (but for less than what they could otherwise purchase it), profit which is then used to fund the salaries of several village school teachers. This is the kind of project that we love to do with donations to our Food Fund, directed by Diane Scott.


This afternoon, the entire village gathered on their soccer field for a celebration of our visit, at which a number of their traditional dances were performed for us. After the dancing, I introduced something they had never seen before—a frisbee.

In January of this year, the elders of Khua Hrang requested the help of Heaven’s Family for a 50 watt transformer that would distribute their hydro-electric power to all 260 of the village’s humble homes. A $7,000 loan via our Micro-Loan Fund that has since been fully repaid did the trick, and this evening, I visited a number of houses in order to photograph folks enjoying indoor lighting for the first time in their lives. Some of those photos are below.


David


Now, every home has at least one energy-efficient light, but for heat, residents still huddle around indoor cooking fires at night


At left: Khua Hrang also has street lighting now, which occasionally needs maintenance by the village lineman. In the background behind him is another distant hilltop village. At right: It had to happen sooner or later…someone hung a string of Christmas lights that you can faintly see in this photo.


Upon their departure, honored guests are always given the head and thigh of a bull slaughtered in their honor. To make it easier for us to transport, the meat was stripped from those choice parts (at right) and smoked all night (at left).


At left: A partial view of Khua Hrang. In the distance beyond the village, you can see a mountain side that has recently been cleared of its forest. Soon what remains will be burned and corn will be planted. At right: I took this photo of the simple grave of Abraham, who lived three days, at Khua Hrang’s graveyard. There is no medical care in the village, but we’ve offered to fund some medical training for two young women and provide start-up funds for a village pharmacy.

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