Trip to Sein Tone Hlae in November 2009

Trip to Sein Tone Hlae in November 2009

After having discussed all the relevant points regarding the construction of a tube well in Poe Laung Chaung Pyar village the Saydanar team travelled further to Sein Tone Hlae village because there fresh water supply is also desperately needed. Some villages in the vicinity, especially larger ones,  which were badly affected were reached by other donors but this and other smaller  villages have largely been left to fend for themselves.

Sein Tone Hlae is one of the worst hit villages visited by Shwe Cin and the Saydanar team. Of the original 500 inhabitants only roughly 100 remain. Many have died and some of the survivors have moved away. The survivors have lost most of their belongings. The number of orphans is quite high but they were transfered to Bogalay.

The situation is very much the same as in Poe Laung Chaung Pyar. The supply of fresh water has been inhibited because of the storm and the remaining inhabitants have had to rely on the rivers and rain water during the monsoon for drinking water. The construction of a tube well would not only improve the water situation for the inhabitants of this village but also of another three villages in the immediate vicinity.

As mentioned above, the destruction of this village is immense as it is close to the coast. Even the local monastery was destroyed but the tube well can still be constructed on land belonging to the monastery.

This village is the setting for an especially sad story. A new monastery was to be built funded mainly by the donations of a wealthy villager. The storm killed all of his immediate family and left him without anything. He now lives with monks in a make shift shelter provided by a Japanese organisation.

The expedition to this village is further proof of the arduousness of travel in the Irrawaddy Delta. Once night falls travel is practically impossible as only a few boats are equipped with lights. If you are lucky, you might find a larger boat carrying hazardous materials that you can tag along with, for these boats are usually better equiped. If, however, there is no nightly transport of petrol or something alike you are forced to either navigate the rivers of the delta in complete darkness or  stay over night in some small village and continue your journey the next day.