I laid my pen down gently a few weeks ago, not from sadness or grief, or of my father, but I laid it down at the altar of the country that is Burma, to breathe, to watch, to listen, to meet, to learn here, to be present.

Burma is hopelessly beautiful, deeply tragic and the home of a calm wonderful strong people, for whom fifty years of depravation and horror somehow never shook their belief in themselves and the world.


This is a country that was stopped in time, and now, the light starts to peek in and what does it see, a country of immense wealth and of the deepest of poverty.


It is a country in love, in awe of one strong woman whom you might be tempted to describe as frail from a distance but she is an angel of steel. On her shoulders rest not just the legacy of her father but the hopes and dreams of millions, for a mortal, it would be too much to bear.

It is a country that builds golden Buddhas and the most beautiful temples, let still climbs the steps to worship nats and spirits.


It is a place where a young girl lives with her family in a priceless seemingly abandoned colonial mansion on a hill, a princess and yet, her grandmother cooks outside over an open fire for the house has no electricity or water.


It is a country where two brothers, incredibly smart and personable, missed their chance to go to college and to lead and instead, have built their own homes with bricks, smiling and laughing and somehow not bitter at all.

It is a country of her people, and above all, it is a country of her children. In their faces, there is light, and hope and beauty and grace and strength.


When it comes to this country, as the world helps it to its feet, I hope we are their equal.

One thought on “Present.

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