And a River Runs Through it.


Aug 10th

Sitting in Pokhara Nepal realizing I left out a ton of interesting events in Myanmar. If you have seen the pictures on the facebook page you can see the devastation Myanmar is in the midst of. If you needed more proof Angelina Jolie showed up for a week and stole two babies to add to her collection of South East Asian babies. Not sure about the second part but she did show up. There are 14 states in Myanmar and the flood hit 11 of them hard. Chin state (where I hunkered down) was one of the hardest hit. During this flood Kalay became an island. Of the 5 main bridges connecting Kalay to India, 4 are gone. They still haven’t been able to get cars through and this will be the case for another few weeks (hopefully, need to get the car out at some point). Backtracking towards Mandalay there is another bigger bridge out that will take the same amount of time to fix.

After a few days of donating food and other essentials we drove up the mountain side and noticed massive land slides had turned small creeks into muddy rivers of floating trees and pieces of bridges that never stood a chance. When we went down to check it out we ran into a local actor and a hip hop artist that were helping get food to villages that had been cut off by the floating debris. Once we linked up with them, the real work started. At first we thought the locals were nuts filling tiny rafts with rice and people trying to get them across, then we noticed it was a necessary risk and jumped in to help. It was one of those instances when you look back because you know you’re safe now and think that was fun, but it had such a good chance of going wrong. It didn’t take long to notice how grateful the locals were that we were there risking our safety, alongside theirs to help out. If people had a camera/phone, they wanted to take a picture with us, if not they wanted to shake our hands and give us hugs showing their gratitude. On the 2nd day a few people that spoke English told us the locals were all talking about the two while folk that had come to their rescue. It was endearing but at the same time we wanted to do more for them. We went back to that river 3 days in a row to show support and do what we could.

Once the river was low enough we started carrying rice on our backs across the river. I had told them I was an Olympic swimmer (no clue why, just felt right) so was a nut up or shut up situation I had put myself in. Swimming across the river dodging floating log cabins was challenge, but doing the same while carrying rice a 80lb sack of rice, nearly impossible. Key word is nearly. We accessed the village cut off from civilization (well civilization is strong) and visited a camp for the displaced families. Neither of us have ever had a celebrity moment, but this was probably what it would be like. Again, everyone wanted to take pictures, moms were nearly hurling babies at us to hold, and a 100yr old lady (deaf and blind) came out from her abode to sing us a song. Looking at the video by itself it’s a little creepy but with the background story….not so creepy.

A few nights passed and we sat around wondering how international aid hadn’t made it to Myanmar and why it wasn’t in the news. I believe the press has just started to pick it up. It wasn’t until we talked to more locals we found out that international aid was trying to get in and were mobilized to help Myanmar, but the government had blocked them. Obviously the Government is clown college, that’s not right, should give the clown college more respect actually. How you can cut off organizations that specialize in these sorts of situations and are asking nothing in return baffles my mind. Aug 10th Sitting in Pokhara Nepal realizing I left out a ton of interesting events in Myanmar. If you have seen the pictures on the facebook page you can see the devastation Myanmar is in the midst of. If you needed more proof Angelina Jolie showed up for a week and stole two babies to add to her collection of South East Asian babies. Not sure about the second part but she did show up. There are 14 states in Myanmar and the flood hit 11 of them hard. Chin state (where I hunkered down) was one of the hardest hit. During this flood Kalay became an island. Of the 5 main bridges connecting Kalay to India, 4 are gone. They still haven’t been able to get cars through and this will be the case for another few weeks (hopefully, need to get the car out at some point). Backtracking towards Mandalay there is another bigger bridge out that will take the same amount of time to fix. After a few days of donating food and other essentials we drove up the mountain side and noticed massive land slides had turned small creeks into muddy rivers of floating trees and pieces of bridges that never stood a chance. When we went down to check it out we ran into a local actor and a hip hop artist that were helping get food to villages that had been cut off by the floating debris. Once we linked up with them, the real work started. At first we thought the locals were nuts filling tiny rafts with rice and people trying to get them across, then we noticed it was a necessary risk and jumped in to help. It was one of those instances when you look back because you know you’re safe now and think that was fun, but it had such a good chance of going wrong. It didn’t take long to notice how grateful the locals were that we were there risking our safety, alongside theirs to help out. If people had a camera/phone, they wanted to take a picture with us, if not they wanted to shake our hands and give us hugs showing their gratitude. On the 2nd day a few people that spoke English told us the locals were all talking about the two while folk that had come to their rescue. It was endearing but at the same time we wanted to do more for them. We went back to that river 3 days in a row to show support and do what we could. Once the river was low enough we started carrying rice on our backs across the river. I had told them I was an Olympic swimmer (no clue why, just felt right) so was a nut up or shut up situation I had put myself in. Swimming across the river dodging floating log cabins was challenge, but doing the same while carrying rice a 80lb sack of rice, nearly impossible. Key word is nearly. We accessed the village cut off from civilization (well civilization is strong) and visited a camp for the displaced families. Neither of us have ever had a celebrity moment, but this was probably what it would be like. Again, everyone wanted to take pictures, moms were nearly hurling babies at us to hold, and a 100yr old lady (deaf and blind) came out from her abode to sing us a song. Looking at the video by itself it’s a little creepy but with the background story….not so creepy. A few nights passed and we sat around wondering how international aid hadn’t made it to Myanmar and why it wasn’t in the news. I believe the press has just started to pick it up. It wasn’t until we talked to more locals we found out that international aid was trying to get in and were mobilized to help Myanmar, but the government had blocked them. Obviously the Government is clown college, that’s not right, should give the clown college more respect actually. How you can cut off organizations that specialize in these sorts of situations and are asking nothing in return baffles my mind.


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