Nostalgia to winter break at home 2

Chochanmyei Oo - February 17th, 2012

It was almost New Year Eve Day of 2012 and everyone fell asleep in the silent winter night. Though Myanmar is a tropical country, it gets cool breeze from the sea at night. Suddenly, the loud vibrant voice frightened around 2millions of Yangon. Windows of some houses and flats even cracked because of the huge explosion. It was like an asteroid falling down to the earth.

But, actually, it was explosion of chemicals which were stored in a warehouse. The unfortunate point of this accident is that the warehouse is situated in urban area where many low-income people live. These people are working for warehouses and factories which have been running by the Burmese Government. A dozen of people died, around 80 people got injured and 5 firemen died while they were helping out people to get of the fire explosion. A few thousand of people become homeless, and they had to live at nearby monasteries as emergency places.

Next morning, I passed by the area where the explosion happened. It was so crowded with the police, firemen and helpless people who are roaming where they could stay now. All of their houses were burned because of the intense explosion and fire. Donors were not allowed to give stuffs to people in person in the beginning week. The government did not allow so with the reason of security. I talked about it with my fellow Changemaker Zin Mi Ko, and she brought me to come along with her organization to donate clothing and household things such as cups, spoons, toothbrush and etc. We collected old clothing from friends and relatives, and received some funds to donate them.

I was happy to see that there were some people who donated to feed these homeless people who were living in the monasteries. I felt bad for firemen because they did not even know that it was not a typical fire, but the fire caused by chemical explosion. They sacrifice their lives by saving people’s lives and 4 of them are only around 20 years old.

Then, we finally got the chance to give our donating things to people in person and we could have do some chatting with victims about the explosion and their experiences. The issue is what all these homeless people will do next to establish their lives again. I met with some high school students and ask them about matriculation exams. It is a big deal for Burmese high school students because it is entrance tests to go to college. By the time the explosion occurred, they need only two more months to study for that exam. Some of these students told me that they decided to give up the exam since they did not have any textbooks and they had to help their parents to get a new house or settle in a new place. It is a struggle for them.

I came back from their emergency camp with some many thoughts of empowering their lives and motivating to go back to school. I was planning to recruit some tutors to help them study; however, I did not have enough time to plan it. I was regretful that I got only three weeks of winter break to do community work for my homeland.

Thanks for reading my blog,

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