An Update from Burma: March 2024

An Update from Burma: March 2024

We were in Yangon last week to catch up with our team and makers. I took Jenny, our new Operations Lead, who had never been to Burma before. It’s always fun going somewhere familiar with somebody who has never seen it - you look at everything with fresh eyes, hear new things and notice different details. 

That said, Yangon is a place which always surprises, delights and confuses even its longest-standing citizens. Every day you see things which you haven’t seen before: a spiky coriander plant which smells like coriander but looks like holly, a child fast asleep on a pile of bricks, heavy builder’s concrete spades with bamboo handles rather than wood, shoeless children in Dolce & Gabbana t-shirts.  

Going for a week is extremely surreal. It’s a bit like being in a dark, empty theatre where the curtains are closed, then poking your head through the curtains into a wild, dissonant blur of trishaws and traffic, of dragon-fruit and rainbow feather dusters, of fermented tea leaves and screeching crows, of searing heat and honking buses. You dart in and out of taxis, eat noodles with Quavers on top, scribble jet lag-born thoughts at 3am, then like a VHS on rewind you’re on the plane and back in your quiet, empty theatre, curtains closed, your hair rather wild but otherwise as if you never left.  

There is nowhere I feel more alive. Nowhere I feel calmer. Nowhere I yearn for more when I’m away. Nowhere I feel sadder for when things go wrong. Nowhere that gives me a healthier dose of perspective. Nowhere I’d rather be with a lime soda, watching the bougainvillea quietly bob their shadows across crumbly walls, oblivious to the mania.

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