The rainy season in the dry zone…


Ananda Pagoda.

Ananda Pagoda.

The rainy season….

 Well it is dry when it should be wet and the temperatures are souring above 40 degrees. The trees look parched, the land is brown and some of the river beds are dry. Where there is water, it is a mammoth engineering task to transport it to the famers. Who incidentally are often the women.

I have valued meeting the people and listening to their stories as they meet these challenges together. We all laugh when one of the women says this rainy season is already better than the last one… it has rained twice… That was yesterday and today.

We have sat for many hours today listening to several communities speak about the issues in their villages. And like it or not the biggest issue is water; sustainable access, quality and storage. As we sit under the roof cover of the communal meeting spaces the temperature soars. It is climate change at its most brutal, yet somehow we laugh, we listen compassionately, as we hear of strategies to engage with various developmental stakeholders. We hear stories of wonder and success as the people come together to meet the needs of survival. The trees are greener because people are protecting them and wells and dams are being built and refurbished. Some village people are replanting the trees as time is freed up from carrying water.

Riny season in the Dry zone. The villages are showing their 100 year old well. But we are 8 weeks into the rainy season and this stream is still dry.

In Yaung village and their 100 year old well.


We have also spend time with several groups of women who are coming together to create shared livelihoods for their families. They are working hard to develop skills and produce saleable textiles. Again it is the lack of water that means that extra income is required away from the land.

Village Book Mothers and Women's group sharing progress on water projects. Action aid Dry Zone.

Village Book Mothers and Women’s group sharing progress on water projects. Action aid Dry Zone.

Actually there is so much laughter when I share our purpose of meeting with them. One woman suggests that it would be helpful if I was a water medium. We all laugh and it is an interesting and unexpected ice breaker. I think, now is not the time to say that one of my cousins has great skills as a water diviner!

I am attracted to a four month old baby who happily snuggles into my arms for a cuddle. It is highlight to hold this baby and commune with his loving aunties as his mum worked.

Of course the Bagan area is breath-taking with over 2500 Buddhist Pagodas found by UNESCO and dating from the 9th Century. The people say that there are 500,000 Pagoda’s and therefore more to find. I am awestruck by the Ananda Pagoda, the oldest and most ‘significant’. The four Buddha’s are enormous in height and the alcoves where they are contained are repositories of peace and coolness. My heart is grateful and happy as we sit quietly in this ancient sacred space. A respite from the relentless dry.

2014-06-18 16.45.43

Su Li Pan Vkillage



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