CTF Thailand Myanmar Mission #6 was conducted for the purpose of both monitoring projects previously implemented on behalf of the victims of Cyclone Nargis in Bogolay Township and evaluating the results of completed projects. Three new locations were added to the existing list of villages supported and maintained by CTF Thailand and its collaborators.
Participants from the Camillian team included: Pairat Sripraseret (Vice-Provincial of the Camillians in Thailand); Ms. Marissa Khomin (Volunteer) and Mr. Myo Thein (Local Coordinator in Myanmar).
The team visited 6 locations: Pyisimaryone Monastery, Upper Kyane Lada Village and Kwin Chuang Village in Mawkyun Township; Ngwe Tang Yan Village, Paun Tel Village Tract and Oke Tube Village in Bogolay Township (see CTF Thailand – Myanmar Mission #1 – Part 1)
Medical Services were provided to about 585 patients. Villagers were also provided with rice, cooking oil and medicines. Financial support was provided for the continuance of a housing project in the vicinity of Pyisimaryone Monastery and for the medical clinic in the area. The clinic in Ngwe Tang Yan Village and Upper Kyane Lada Village also received financial support.
The CTF Thailand mission began in Yangon on May 9, 2009 with a meeting at a hotel with Mr. U Maung Maung Soe Tint, the Chairman of the Border Areas Development Association (BDA) and the founder of Civil Society Initiative (CSI), and with Ms. Daw Moe Moe Soe, Livelihood Project Manager.
A progress report reflected that technical and/or administrative challenges necessitated that modifications be made to the locations previously designated for the Big Pond Project. The purpose of this project is to rehabilitate and purify the ponds in the Delta Region so that the water can be used for drinking purposes. Out of 14 ponds initially targeted for rehabilitation, 11 were “relocated” to three different townships [different ones were chosen]. The team arranged to visit the Kawmhu Township and Kungyangon Township where the rehabilitation of ponds had been initiated.
Previous negotiations included the formation of two medical clinics with reserved funds in the amount of US $6,000. Plans for the proposed clinic at Thit Phyu Chaung and Delaye were postponed due to the death of the Abbot.
In lieu of the former agenda, the BDA proposed the “Village Health Clinics Project,” with the goal of servicing the six villages in the Delta Region where CTF Thailand was sponsoring the Big Pond Project. Final decisions are awaiting approval.
The last two days of the mission were set aside for a meeting in Yangon between the CTF Team and the BDA team to discuss future plans for the joint collaborative program, the upcoming mission in July, and plans for a CTF mission in September.
Immediately following the discussion, the CTF team departed from Yangon to Mawkyun Township where they were joined by a team of volunteers and staff organized by the BDA. Volunteer health care staff included Dr. Wai Lwin, Dr. Wai Lynn Aung, Dr. Win Naing Oo, Mr. Min Ko Oo, Mr. Khun Thein Zaw Tun, Ms. Ei Thantay Myint (Sandra) and Ms. Yadano Phyo (Laura). A number of community members also offered their services.
The teams traveled by car and by boat. Traveling through rugged terrain on unfinished roads, they took the express boat to Mawkyun where the missionary activities commenced. Commutes to nearby smaller villages often required travel in small boats, as they are more easily maneuvered. Traveling challenges included low tides, heat, and insects.
The team spent their nights at the villages, at the Pyisimaryone Monastery, and at the Kandawgyi Hotel – when back in Yangon.
In Mawkyun, the team attended to the medical needs of the Pyisimaryone Clinic, a healthcare facility supported by the CTF. Subsequently, they departed for Kungyangon, Kawmhu Township to address the Big Ponds Project with BDA staff and engineer U Than Htay.
In Ngwe Taung Yun Village, Bogolay Township, the Abbot and the president of St. Camillus Foundation visited the housing project supported by the CTF and its collaborators. The project consisted of 10 simple housing units. During a previous inspection, 4 of the units had been completed. The team visited the remainder of the supported houses. Five of these new dwellings housed families consisting of four, six, three, four and four persons, respectively. The remaining new dwelling will be occupied by Mrs. Daw Lone Tin and her daughter, Ms. Lay.
All houses are located within one kilometer of the Monastery. One of the homes is a bit more remote than the others, requiring 10 minutes travel time by boat. The family members of all houses were very pleased and grateful for the support received and for the accommodations.
In Kwin Chaung Village, Mawkyun Township, one of the new sites added to the CTF mission route, the team focused on the lack of medical services in the vicinity. The village is home to about 800 inhabitants (300 families.) The village maintains an existing village committee of 16 members. In addition, there were 6 monks and 11 novices to support community activities. The Chief Abbot of Pyisimaryone had supported the building of a sizable monastery school (300m. x 800 m.) supported by APEF (Asia Peace and Education Foundation.) The Abbot of Kwin Chaung Monastery had placed a request, through the Chief Abbot of Pyisimaryone Monastery, to the St. Camillus Foundation for assistance with the foundation and support of a small medical clinic in the community.
On May 12, 2009 a meeting was held for the purpose of discussing joint collaboration efforts. Notable decision-makers present included: U Cin Tita Likara (Chief Abbot, Pyisimaryone Monastery); U Kari Ya Winta (Abbot of Kwin Chaung Monastery); Pairat Sriprasert (President, St. Camillus Foundation Thailand); Myo Thien (Local Coordinator); Marissa Khomin (Saint Camillus Foundation of Thailand).
The Saint Camillus Foundation of Thailand agreed to provide the foundation for a basic clinic at the Kwin Chaung Village, which would operate under the immediate supervision of Abbots U Kari Yan and U Cin Tita Likara. This included the construction of the clinic on land provided by the local government and funds in the amount of US $1,500 – for the expenses associated with the erection of the clinic as well as operating expenses for one month. Subsequently, the St. Camillus Foundation will provide support in the amount of US $500 each month until December 2009. Prior to the completion of the construction, medical services will be provided within the all-purposes facility of the local monastery.
As in previous negotiations, the chief abbot will arrange for medical personnel and staff to operate the clinics. The chief abbot will submit quarterly reports to the St. Camillus Foundation. The Pyisimaryone Monastery and Saint Camillus Foundation will jointly monitor and evaluate operations periodically.
In addition to other services, farming tools were provided for 100 families in the Kwin Chaung Village locality.
In Ngwe Tang Yan Village, Bogolay Township, Longgi, a type of traditional attire to be worn during the upcoming rainy season, was presented to 148 families – one set per family.
Following the scheduled agenda, the team returned to Yangon on May 14 and departed the following day for Bangkok.
The team participants were greatly inspired by the reception and gratitude they received from the villagers for services, supplies and housing provided. Likewise, the promise of successful future plans and the progress realized within the context of their meetings provided encouragement and hope to all who participated.
by Susan Stefanski – Assistant Editor
The Catholic Catechism Teaches. . . .
An increased sense of God and increased self-awareness are fundamental to any full development of human society. This development multiplies material goods and puts them at the service of the person and his freedom. It reduces dire poverty and economic exploitation. It makes for growth in respect for cultural identities and openness to the transcendent (Catechism, 2441).
The Fourth Camillian Mission Report on the Areas Affected by the Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (May 9, 2009 – May 15, 2009)
Catechism of the Catholic Church. (1997). New York: Doubleday, p. 646.