(Song-Song family and I in Bagan)
“Copied from a part of my diary, 01-08-2017, Bagan, Burma/Myanmar”
On January 8th, in Bagan, I was trying to find my way to a quiet pagoda so I could watch sunrise and balloons. It was so dark so I got lost ( like always). I was off the road for a while until I saw a little house. I came there to get help. Song-Song, a 13 years old girl who speaks English pretty well offered to take me to a pagoda. It turned out we were the only two watching the sunset at that beautiful spot. While watching the sunset, Song-Song and I were able to have a great conversation in English. Song-Song, she looks a little older and matures for her age. She is a third child in a Burmese family with 5 other sisters and brothers.
Me: How do you learn English Song-Song? You are very young, and your English is pretty well for stoping school at grade 5th.
Song Song: I learn English from my sister. She moved to Yangon to make a living. She bought me books and taught me English when I visit her or when she comes back to town. I also learn from some classes. People pay to sit in the class. I can not pay, so I stand at the windows or the corridor to listen. My English is not very good. I think
Me: – Wow, I am impressed. Your English is good. I understand you. What do your parents do?
Song-Song: They can not work. My dad used to build houses for other people. He got bitten by a snake couple years ago. We did not have money to go the hospital, so one of his eyes is blind now. One day, he was building houses and fell down. He hurt his back. Now, he takes care of some pagodas at nights for 2000kyats night (less than $2)
Me: (I listened quietly, not sure what to say, I see her eyes turn red)
– How about your mother?
Song-Song: She has a heart disease, It is hard for her to breathe sometimes.
Me: – Is that why you stop going to school at grade 5th, to take care of your family?
Song-Song: -Yes, I love learning, but I need to cook for them and take care of my little brother and sister. I wish I could finish at least high school, but I think it is hard.
Me: -I did not see your family selling anything for tourists like postcards and souvenirs like most people go in Bagan.
Song-Song: – my dad did not want to, and he does not want me to work in the tourism industry either. My grandpa lost his land and animals when the government found out they can make good money with Bagan. They forced my grandpa family to relocate. My dad was a kid back then.
( All the tears start dropping from her eyes, She cries).
Me: I was torn. Her face and the landscape became blurred to me. I guess I cry, just like her.
– Can I give you a hug? Please
We hug each other. It was quiet for few seconds.
Me: – “Che su ba” ( Thank you in Burmese). Thank for taking me here. It was beautiful, I mean your story and of course the sunrise. What does your name mean by the way? Like my name, Lupin is a wolf and a type of flower, basically.
Song-Song: – You are welcome. My mom says my full name means snow, but they call me Song-Song. It is so hot in Bagan, so she wants me to be snow to cool down. I think it is funny.
Me: I want to help you, mm, in any way, and I don’t know how yet. But I will, I need to go, see you later Song-Song.
(… Song Song after the conversation, the sunrise and the family)
(The English of Song-Song in the conversation has been edited due to my understanding of her speaking)
“Hello friends, If you already read up till here, I want to help Song-Song and her family by raising some money so she can go back to school. I have belief, this girl, a truly inspiration by her way to learning English and the way she tells me her story, will make a different when she receives the education that she needs. Or at least, with the money, the family will not be starving for the next few days.
All the money will be given to Song-Song directly with a promise that She uses it for education at first. I also will write a card with the names of all the donators and where you come from. Thank for helping Song-Song and her family. Thank for doing it all together.” – quote from my Facebook post, the time has passed.
Update: In less then two day, up to the time we went to the bank, we have raised a total amount of $660 for Song-Song . ❤️ People still wanted to send money but I could not take it. I helped her set up a Saving Account and sent her a card with all the words from the donators. She says thanks to everyone for helping her😊❤️. Thanks so much for caring 😊. All for One 🌎😊
Packing and Traveling have taught me so much about the world and the people. One of the lesson is that: We Are One. 🌎