As we floated up towards Sin Kyun Village, Myanmar we were met with smiles and waves despite the stifling heat and the fact that they were busy building river defences to save their village from the annual Irrawaddy floods.
Their work was done by hand, heaving heavy rocks, moving bags of cement on their heads and clearing silt without the aid of mechanisation or technology. This resilience is typical with the Burmese who simply go about their chores with a grin and sheer grit.
The same villagers were happy for us to wander and explore their village, watch a wedding party celebrate and take photos of their children giggling and screeching. Many had the traditional tree bark smeared on their cheeks to ‘beautify’ their skin and safeguard from the sun.
The river is also a workplace and recreational area for the Burmese people, they ply their trade, shift their cargo, collect animal feed and ferry visitors and locals from one side to the other. Their boats are laden and the diesel smoky but the smiles are still wide and cheery.
In the towns the grit is still there wether it be hand making parasols, handling pots in a lacquerware factory or casting iron. Happy for us to stand and stare and happy to answer questions. Most have at least a little English and indeed our taxi driver learned most of our language from watching you tube clips.
These people humbled me, I have a lot to be thankful for and I thank Khin Nyein Thu – our fantastic Myanmar guide who took me to all these places and shared stories about these people.