Friday, January 13, 2012

Mother has not seen her daughter in 6 years (Part Two)

Photograph by Robert Swetz

Mother Nu Nu and her daughter Yumi (Cherry) were finally reunited on May 11th. Me and Nu Nu flew to Myanmar (Burma) April 11th for Water Festival (New Years). When we arrived at the airport, over 12 of her relatives were waiting, waving, smiling and some had tears of joy on their faces. Nu Nu has not seen her daughter in six years and it was very exciting to watch them hug and hold each other. It was very exciting for me also because Cherry is my adopted daughter, and it was very strange to hear her call me daddy.

Water Festival (New Years) in Myanmar goes between May 11th to may 16th. All businesses close for 5-7 days to celebrate. Large groups of trucks filled with Burmese drive all over the cities and are sprayed by water hoses from large stages. On some of the stages music bands play music for the festival. We drove around the capital city Myanmar (Yangon) for three days getting drenched with water. On the last day of Water Festival we were on a stage with over 100 hoses, some fire hoses, spraying people all day long. I had so much fun that I will be going next year.

After the festival we headed up to the middle of the country to a city called Bagan. Which has over 7,000 different temples that date back over 1,100 years. Being a photographer I shot over 300 photographs in Bagan and another 800 for the rest of the trip. We spent 4 days in Bagan and were only able to view 25% of the city. Of all the cities in Myanmar that I have visited, Bagan was the most impressive, I was amazed.

From Bagan we went to the city of Mandalay, central Myanmar. Mandalay imports/ exports from China more products then anywhere in the country. We spent 3 days in Mandalay. There were some exciting things to see, but not like Bagan.

After Mandalay we headed to Inlay Lake on a 16 hour bus ride, it was terrible. The only bus driving to Inlay Lake from Bagan was 40-50 years old, no suspension, broken seats, etc. It was the most horrible ride of my life. When we arrived at Inlay Lake we took one of their boats out to the middle of the lake and stayed at a hotel on the water. Inlay Lake is huge and has a city built with in the middle of it, it was amazing. The people grow vegetables, fruit, etc. right in the middle of the lake, there are also many people netting fish.

After our visit at Inlay we headed back to Yangon, were Nu Nu's family lives. We had not television so we didn't hear about any storm. 50 miles before Yangon we stared seeing huge trees that had been ripped right out of the ground. Hundreds of homes that had be destroyed by the Storm, I started to get very scared. When we arrived at the bus station there were hundreds of thousands of homeless people trying to get rides from trucks and other vehicles. I thought I was going to be stuck in the middle of them, but Nu Nu, her mother and brother were able to get us out of there right away.

Once we arrived in the city of Yangon we saw trees laying on top of power lines, power lines laying all over the streets, buildings with the roofs ripped off, bill boards twisted up like paper. I could not believe all the damage that was left from the storm. One day we are playing and having fun at Water Festival and 10 days later and the city is destroyed. You could just feel the sadness and despair of people as you drove around looking and making sure everyone was OK.

I really wanted to blog a happy story on Nu Nu Meeting her daughter Cherry, but what can I say. It still is a wonderful story of them meeting after so many years and I have left you some photos.



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