Commentary: Longing for my home

hnin-pan-eain

(Mizzima) – On the 14th Waxing of Kasone, the moon looks down on our refugee camp and splashes its light upon us. The breeze blowing from Noe Boe Mountain just after the rain brings the scented smell of earth. I recollect Myoma Nyein’s ‘Let’s stay two of us alone under the moonlight’, thinking of the Maha Myaing forest and the reflection of moonlight in the Irrawaddy.

But there’s no chit-chat under the moonlight here. There’s no spacious ground for us to freely enjoy. There’s no one roaming after 9 o’clock in the night as a standing curfew is imposed. Everybody in the refugee camp has to stay in their huts. Some try to fall asleep, while some who cannot sleep try to interpret the lyrics of Myoma Nyein’s ‘Two of us alone’. In this way, the entire refugee camp is silent and quiet and eventually falls asleep as the full moon slowly rises.

Under such moonlight my son and I once slept on a riverboat on the Chindwin after visiting Kalemyo prison to meet my imprisoned husband. The waves on the river rocked the boat which lulled to sleep my son. Though my son fell asleep I could not sleep on that night because of worrying about my beloved husband languishing in jail and our future. I cried silently. The thought of being unable to look at the moon and my husband from the same roof deeply hurt me. The full moon of Tazaungmone (November) only worsened my pining and longing.

Small huts lined the banks of the Chindwin in the reed forest; the lanterns on fishing boats flickering in the dark. Zats (theatrical companies) were performing their dances and drama so the boatmen informed us that we would make a stopover to enjoy the festival. Passengers heartily welcomed the news. But the deeply wearied mother and son could not enjoy the Zats. I stayed to spend the night on the boat along with the old women.

In the monsoon season, travelling the Chindwin is perilous because of the notorious whirlpools. Boatmen run their engines slowly when they reach these whirlpools and passengers pray to gods and deities for their lives, feeding all the water creatures inhabiting the depths to insure safe passage. Continue reading “Commentary: Longing for my home”