My Photography Journey to Myanmar (remember to click on the image link to view all the beautiful pictures)
22 days, 5245km, 14 Cities, 2 States & 4 Divisions. We drove through thousands of turns and corners, up the hills and down the valleys.. Conquered 4 mountains, 2 waterfalls, 2 beaches from one border to another. Travelled on 4 wheels, 2 wheels, 2 legs and a pair of broken shoes. From sleeping in the van to hotel and a monastery, dinning at the hotel to eating by the road side and even cooked at a fisherman’s home and ate with them. We did it all.
This trip to Myanmar is an eye opener for me. I have managed to capture the beauty of the people, the culture and the landscape. It is not just a photography trip, it is also a taste of life in Myanmar. I have tried go fishing with the fisherman on a boat at 3am in the morning for 7 hours in the sea, eating their gift of monkey meat, wildcat meat to squirrel meats and dining with locals and also pastors…etc and even saving the life of a girl. The story goes like this… together in my team were 4 other friends who are local and have decided to follow me for the morning shoot at Kywegyaung, Delta Division right at the end, bottom of the coast of Indian Ocean. We have decided to shoot a rocky Island and we will need to travel on bike by the beach at 3am for about few miles and than transfer to a boat (a big boat I was told) for another two hours boat ride in order to catch the sun rise there. The journey started at 3am and you know how dark it was at the point? It was almost like a scene from the movie “Mission Impossible”! With the camera and full equipment on me on a motorbike you can imagine how I looked. The bike stopped at one point when we realised that the water is too high that we have to get down to carry our motorcycles and ourselves across the river in the dark. To our shock we noticed a few people stuck there waiting in the dark for help. What! At 3.30am in the middle of nowhere? A girl who was so sick and completely unconscious, her dad had to carry her sitting on a bike with another guy riding it. It is a emergency, he was desperately rushing this girl to the nearest hospital but they are stuck there in the dark and at a loss for what to do. We quickly rushed to help them cross the river and to carry their bike across. We got onto our motorcycles again and then met another river in front! We helped them again and again at another river ahead. In total, we helped them cross 3 rivers. I could see that they were so desperate at that point. By God’s grace, that girl and her father are able to continue on their way to the hospital. Watch the video which I captured that dark morning:
We continued our mission to the boat ride to find out later that the boat is actually a very small boat. Without thinking much, we all boarded it and made our way out into the sea at 3.45am. It was six adults, a little boy (the boatman’s son) and a little makeshift boat engine on a little boat. After 10 minutes of leaving the shore, 100 metres on my right I saw a white line coming towards us and I wonder what was that? To my shock it is a huge wave, 2 metres higher than us coming towards our boat!!! I thought we were going down at that point and if only you could see the look on my face at that time :-). The first wave hit us, we went up and came down, water got into our boat and 2nd wave was coming in the next 30 seconds. “What shall I do?”, I asked God. First thoughts to my mind were, 1st my camera will be covered with saltwater! 2nd We will have to throw our gear if the boat goes down and we will need to swim in the dark! 3rd I have a family waiting for me at home. These are the 3 things that flash across my mind. I take a look at everyone and being responsible for this mission I have decided to call off the shoot and turn the boat around. We made a turn and we are in between two big waves that follow us all the way to the shore. The moment we reached land again I thank God we did not continue the mission which will take us two hours on that boat ride and I did not have the faith that we could even reach there at all. We have no one to contact now because there is no mobile network and it is too early to call anyone else than so we have stay around the shore and shoot the sunrise from there instead. It is a beautiful sunrise by the shore actually, I later found out from the people in that fishing valley in that place that the village is known for fishermen’s widows! Many men did not return from their fishing trips. Life has become so cheap there and I have a chance to testify to it myself. I thought did not accomplish my mission but then I remember that morning, we did accomplish something really great! It is to save the life of that young girl who is so sick and desperately needed our help that pitch dark morning. Everything is in God’s hand isn’t it? God hears our cry and we could hear his voice if we paid a little attention to Him. What an exciting and a beautiful glorious morning. 2 November 2012.
I hope you will enjoy these beautiful pictures as you journey with me. Praise be to God for His provision and the beauty of His creation.