Vaute ni cu lin tuk kaw chun lincing ahcun express bus pawl khual tlawng an i thawh tuk lo. Yangon-Magwe bus zong zaanlei sang ninem deuh in thawh aa tim ve. Ann mission field kal ding in Saya Kyaw Htun, Saya Thein Tin, Saya Maung Thing le kei mah tiah minung pali bus cung ahcun kan thil cu kan khin cuahmah hna. (Ka hawi le saya pathum hi Ann khua mi an si le Yangon ah thla 6 training a rak kai tami an si). Tlawmpal a rauh ah mawtaw sparer nih minung kan tling le tling lo a check le kan mawtaw cu Magwe lei hoih in a choi riangmang ai. Ni cu sen dirhderh tein van tawdeng ah liam aa timh khi coconut-kung par zawn khin ka hei hmuh khawh. Cu ni sen mem nihcun, Kan pawngkam nelrawn, coconut-kung hna le tum kung hna khi a dawhter khun. Ahodah ka ngaih tiawk thei lem loin ka lung cu a hei leng ve. Pathian rian caah pei kaa thawh hi timi theihnak te khi ka lungkil ah a van lut le ka tong bal lomi lunghmuihnak in ka khat; ka thinlung aa lawm, ka thlarau a laam. Ni sen te cu ka zoh pah in “Um…rili kam khuasa pawl nih ni cu rili ah a tla an ti, kanmah tlangcung mi nih tlang par in a liam kan hei ti le nelrawn khuasa pawl nih cun coconut-kung par in a liam an hei ti ve hnga mu. Ann khua minung pawl nih, Sertu Pathian le Jesuh khamhnak hi zeitindah an hei hmuh ve hnga” tiah khua cu ka van ruat pah hluarmar.
A thaizing zinglei suimilam 5 hrawng ah Magwe cu kan lut. Seik-kaa tamaa (rickshaw men) pawl nih cun passengers cu a cuh in an i cuh hna. Kanmah lak ah saya Kyaw Htun cu bus in ttum hmasa kaw, “Saya ra..mahka ah hin rah, kan i dong hi, na kal duhnak poh ah kan mah nih kan i thlah lai…” tiah seikkaa tamaa pawl nih an rak lem len. Saya Kyaw Htun cu, “hi hna hi zeitin dah an ka rak theih ee, saya ka simi zong an ka theih ko hi tah…”tiah i lunghmuih ngai in le i uah ngai in a luggage cu a cawiter hna le a zulh virmar hna ai. (Ka nautetnak si loin, a dik tein ka chim ahcun, saya Kyaw Htun cu ca cawng lo a rak si le, a upat hnu ah “Ah-tung-lung” cawnnak in ca ttial/rel a rak thiammi a si. Evangelist ttuan ding in thla 6 training a rak kai tami a si). “Ee kha! Lohdeih!” ka ti le ka van dawi zohzoh hna. Um rih u kal rih hlah u ka ti hna le kan thilri vialte cu bus in kan lak dih hnu ah, “Dr. Van Duh (Chief Veterinarian Doctor of Magwe division) inn ah kan tlung lai, zeizat dah naa kan lak lai” tiah ka hal hna. Kan pali in kan thilri he 1500 Kyats aa kan hauh. (Phaisa man a rak ngei ngai rih). Keimah nih “minung pakhat 100 hrawng in dakaw an kal tawn ko cu” ka ti hna. A sau nawn kan i el hnu ah kan zapi caah 500/-ks in aa kan phorh. Dr. Van Duh inn ah kalpi colh loin, motel pakhat ah aa kan luhpi diam ai. Ziah mah ti cun? Ka ti hna le chikhat in i ding ta rih u, khua dei deuh rih seh aa kan ti le toilet a kal bantuk in aa kan loh tak. Motel rian ttuan tu nih cun minung pakhat ah 1500/-ks ka pe u law a khaan kan pek hna lai aa kan ti ko. Aho nih dah khaan kan i hlang le mah ticun naa kan ti, seikkaa tamaa pawl tah? kan chuak tthan lai ka ti le kan thilri cu kan cawi le kan chuak tthan. Seikkaa tamaa pawl cu aa kan dawi le, khua a dei deuh rih lo caah pei i din ta u kan i ti hna cu tiin aa kan lem pah. Officer in ah dakaw kan tlung lai hi khoi nan seikaa number kaa chingchiah lai ka ti le an van lau deuh ngai. An tthihphang pah caah, tluang tein aa kan phorh tthan.
Inn ngeitu Dr. Van Duh te chung cu kan hmuh balmi an si lo nain, kan cung ah an ttha tuk. Rawl thaw taktak special in aa kan dangh. Ar tampi an zua le arti zong tam taktak aa kan rawnh hoi. Cu chun cu, Magwe dor ah kan i chawk hna. Saya kyaw Htun nih circle 3 a cawk, zung in circle cawknak an pekmi phaisa cu a dih cikcek (phorh man a zawh tilo caah ka bawmh ve). Zaanlei ninem ah Minbu ah va riah in ticket hna cawk chung in Ann ah lanh belh ding in kan i thawh hna. Rangleng in Irrawaddy tiva kam tiang kan kal. Tiva kam cu mepe, pe, chi le cinthlak a phunphun in a khat. Kawlram chiti vialte hi Magwe in hlah maw a chuah tiawk in dum hmunhma a ngan. Irrawaddy tiva cu ferry in kan tan hna le Minbu khua cu kan va lut. Mawtaw ticket kan cawk hnu ah khual tlawng pawl an ei tawnnak rawldor ah kan va lut ve hna. Rawl kan hei cah pah in, Saya Thein Tin nih Sy Kyaw Htun cu Asho holh in aw ding nawn in bia a chimh leng. Zeihdah na chimh ti hal duh ah ka mit tlang ka cawi pah khin ka rengh pah nawn. Sy Thien Tin nih a theihthiam le “Sy Van, kan chim lai. Kan rat lei ah khan, mah rawldor ahhin rawl kan ei le, kan khim khawh in Sy Kyaw Htun a kheng ttawl aa thawh. Ttawl hlah chia ko kan ti nain a duh lo, Krifa a simi nih cun zohchun awk nun kan ngeih ding si a ti le, kheng a ttawl nak ah a khuai sual le an liamter. A tu hi na kheng ma ttawl ti lai cih ka ti” aa ka ti le kan ni dih. Kan mawtaw cu zingka deihlan in chuah aa timh caah motel ah riah tilo in kaa tamaa pawl ihnak baangla ah kan riak ve. Khiangthawng loin fikfa nih aa kan zelh tuk caah, I hngilh kho loin khua a phunphun ka ruat. Yangon ka ngai rua tiawk in ka um, nain Ann khua van phanh lai zong kaa ngeih tuk tthiam…(Part 2 kan peh tthan te lai).
It was in 1997 at the second week of March, my age was around 19, that we had a mission trip to Ann Town in Rakhine State under the supervision of the Myanmar Christian Mission during summer vacation. The weather temperature in summer was too high that no express bus used to move under such a hot weather. It was same to the bus—Yangon to Magwe which we were taking for. There were four members in our group—Sy Kyaw Htun, Sy Thein Tin, Sy Maung Hting and I. After we had finished loading our luggage on the bus, the driver assistant made sure that all the passengers were at their seats and announced the journey’s schedule. No sooner announcement was done, our bus started heading toward Magwe City. As we left behind Yangon City, I could see a red beautiful sun through the peak of coconut trees. The reddish sunshine made the panorama—coconut trees, palm trees, the cattle in the meadow, the vulnerable huts in the midst of the farm etc. more beautiful as we passed by. Those beautiful scenes made me feel something missing or longing in my heart. But, immediately my heart was overwhelmed by a perfect joy which I never had experienced before in my life as a thought came into my heart— the thought that I was moving forward for God’s mission. While I was gazing at the reddish sun, “Um…the sun sets into the sea for the coastal residents; and it is set at the mountain’s peak for the mountain dwellers and at the top of the coconut-tree for those who settled in plain regions. How would the Ann native people perceive the Creator and the Gospel of Jesus?” I thought right through the way to Magwe.
At the dawn of the next day about 5 am, we arrived at Magwe City. I could peep through the bus’ window the outside scene which looked muzzy and noisy with the rickshaw men striving to grasp passengers. Among our group members, Saya Kyaw Htun was the first person who got out of the bus since he took a front seat. The standbys-rickshaw men crowded at the exiting door of the bus and saying to him, “Saya please come here, we are coming to pick you up and we can drop you wherever you want to go to.” Wondering at them, Saya Kyaw Htun thought in his mind, “How do they know me that I am a ‘Saya’?! Probably they know the fact that I just finished 6 months seminar in Yangon and became an honorable ‘Saya’ that is why they come to pick me up.” Having thought in this way, he just handed his bag to them and followed them where they led to. Seeing them from the bus’ door I murmured in my mind, “Oh my!!! And I shouted at them, “Hey you guys wait, stop there.” As soon as we unloaded our baggage from the bus, we rushed to the rickshaw group. I asked to them that how much it would charge to go to the house of Dr. Van Duh, the chief veterinarian doctor of Magwe Division. They planned slyly to overcharge us in one way or another. First, they demanded 1,500 Kyats, but we could come to a final decision to charge only 500 Kyats for our group’s transportation after a certain negotiation. (500 Kyats had a certain value at that time: equivalent to almost 5,000 kyats of present day). We were taken to a motel as they preplanned to overcharge us saying that we needed to take rest until the daylight broke. Then, they tried to be disappeared from our sight before we could talk anything to them. Immediately, the motel’s steward came and charged 1500 Kyats for each of us in order to get rooms. But, by pretending with an angry face, I raised my voice a little higher than usual saying that, “Who hire your rooms, and why do you treat us like this? We are going to stay at the chief officer’s house; shall I notice to the officer what the rickshaw men and you do to us? Where are they?” Then, we all picked up our own bags and moved out of the motel. Before we got off the motel, all the three rickshaw men suddenly appeared to us form their hiding place and alluring us to feel ease. But, I warned them that I would mark their rickshaw-number if they tried again to plan any crafty acts. Only then, we could safely arrive at Dr. Van Duh’s house.
We enjoyed a lot the hospitality of Dr. Van Duh’s family being kind to us even though we had never seen each other before. After we enjoyed a big table of lunch, the house-hosts also gave us a dozen of eggs as they raised a large chicken farm. Having taken a heavy lunch, we visited around the market and Saya Kyaw Htun bought three bicycles. We could arrange a couple of hours for sightseeing of the city. At the evening we moved to Mibu Town to buy tickets there and to arrange all necessity to continue our journey to Ann Town. We moved by horse-cart to the brim of Irrawaddy River and there we crossed it by ferry. We can see from the ferry along the river banks a vast plentiful cultivation of crops—groundnuts, sunflowers, sesame, benne, soybean, bean etc. Exaggeratedly speaking, it seemed almost the whole county’s cooking oils were produced from this region. We arrived at Minbu Town and bought truck-tickets to Ann (bus was available only once a week and truck was available 3 or 4 time a week at that time). After buying the tickets, we had a dinner at a restaurant nearby the express bus station. While we ordered the food menus, Saya Thein Tin uttered something in a low voice closing to Saya Kyaw Htun’s ear in Asho language. As a sign of asking question, “What do you whisper to him?” I lifted up my eyelids with a sudden glance at Saya Thein Tin. He understood the meaning of my eye’s gesture by looking at me and said, “Saya Van, I will tell you: we had had meal here on our way to Yangon. You know what! Saya Kyaw Htun tended to wash his dishes after having his meal. We stopped him, but he denied our advice saying that a Christian should set a good example in every aspect of life. Unfortunately, he broke the dishes and was demanded compensation by the owner.” At the end of Saya Thein Tin’s word we all laughed uncontrollably which led us to a closer relationship among us. All these memories often make me chuckle alone as they still are alive and often refreshed in my mind. (Part 2 to be continued)