A Day in the Life of a MEDA Intern - Myanmar
This is the view outside of my bedroom window. To the right is the “Myanmar Plaza”; the largest shopping complex in Myanmar that opened just this year. To the left is Inya lake; a manmade reservoir built by the British when they colonized Yangon and named it “Rangoon”.
This little joint is a quick walk from my office and only set up from 6-11am in the mornings. For 700 kyat ($0.7CAD) you can get a full breakfast!
Mohinga is the most popular Burmese breakfast dish. Consisting of fish soup, rice noodles, deep fried chick pea crackers, coriander, mysterious crunch vegetables and a handful of chili flakes; it’s definitely one of my favorites.
On most days I take a cab to work (as the government made bikes, scooters, and motorcycles are illegal in Yangon to clear up the traffic). There are no meters though so one must learn Burmese numbers fairly quickly to negotiate prices.
This is my swanky little cubicle. Across from me is Kyaw Lin Oo – our agriculture specialist.
Here’s a typical meeting at the office. This meeting was about the pros and cons of cultivating rice in Kayin state.
Friday’s my favorite day of the week because it’s longyi (traditional Burmese skirt) day AND we get delicious free Burmese meals right at the office.
Burmese meals are usually 90% rice, but I’m cheating a bit here and having a lot more fish curry, potato & rice noodles, fish paste, tomato paste, boiled watercress and traditional sour soup. Mhmm.
This is Nant Dwe Mel – the office’s lovely cook and cleaner. Here she is preparing some potatoes for lunch. Without her help, our Friday feasts would not exist!
Snacks here are practically meals – here I’m having a ginger and tomato salad, an assortment of beans, tea leaf salad and some Thai chilies and garlic to go with. The flavours are as strong as they sound, but delicious nevertheless.
This is MEDA Myanmar’s office complex – painted red like our MEDA logo and engulfed by a tropical forest of green.
Roughly 3% of Myanmar’s population is Chinese and this has really influenced their cuisine. Here I’m having Chinese fried noodles with an assortment of tropical fruits finished off with a dragon fruit smoothie. The benefit of having richest soil in South East Asia is that there is almost never a shortage of new fruits to try!
A perk of living in a foreign country is that I’ve gotten to make friends with people from all around the world. On Friday nights, my friends and I like to take overnight buses to nearby cities and States to make the most out of our experiences in Myanmar. Here’s a crowd comprised of five nationalities on a “pickup-taxi” en route to the bus station.
To relax, I like to read “Burmese Days” – George Orwell’s first novel. It’s set in Myanmar’s colonial days and talks about the injustices experienced by the Burmese under British rule. In fact, the famous “Nineteen Eighty-Four” writer spent five years in Myanmar as a British guard. Burmese Days was loosely based on his life there.