The girl with the long hair
Arriving in Kawkareik after nightfall was a new experience. We passed by houses lit only with candle light, bigger groups of people eating dinner together in the light of a car, and other people walking with torches through unlit alleys. A thick haze of smoke surrounded us as we made our way to the guesthouse. There we were in for a pleasant surprise as Su su, a Burmese woman I had contacted through warm showers awaited us. She invited us to her house and made a typical Burmese dinner. She had studied English at university and is now happy to practice and improve her language skills with foreigners passing through her village. But the foreigners also share ideas and knowledge with her, which is how she learned about the negative side of plastic and its disposal. In Myanmar only some of the larger cities collect waste to bring it to landfills. And even there it is a common practice to simply throw waste behind the house, into rivers and streams or partially burn it in the evening. In general these practices are due to little to no knowledge about the negative impacts of plastic waste on the environment and human health. Su su finds this as worrying as we do and decided to start an education program. Initially she wanted to give lectures to the children at school, but the principal didn't approve. Instead she will now start an educational program of her own and teach children in workshops during the summer vacation. Her idea is also to involve foreigners, as she thinks they act as role models for the children. Unfortunately we will not be in Myanmar during that time anymore, but for future visitors to Myanmar and especially Kawkareik, you can contact Su su through the warm showers website or contact her via Facebook (smile angel is her fb contact name).