So things have taken quite a politically interesting turn here as of late. Sunday mornings, as per usual, involved heading to the beautiful Baptist church in which the programme I’m working with is related. It’s a short walk from SJN School along dusty dirt tracks lined with small holdings and pretty little homes, some strung with long streams of yellow corn.
My secondary students accompanied me along the walk and to the church, even helping me try to sing with the hymns, even though they were all in the local Kachin language of Jingpaw. It was a beautiful service (even though I didn’t understand most of it!)
The pastor even introduced me as a special guest, I couldn’t have been blushing more as my students urged me to stand up infront of the congregation. I gave a smile and a wave to the crowd of onlookers swiftly plonking my traditional longyi clad bottom back on the wooden pew.
We left church in good spirits, laughing, taking pictures & looking forwards to next weeks service for Thankgiving.
Looking forwards to our plans to head into Kutkai for the afternoon, we quickly got changed and met back downstairs ready to leave, when we found out that the political situation here had developed quite literally overnight. It was no longer safe for us to go to Kutkai, especially as a foreigner (too many questions would be asked about my being here). Reminiscing on the previous evenings happiness whilst we had enjoyed a beautiful meal out in Kutkai I realised how lucky we were to have left when we did.
As I sat relaxing in the warm lunchtime sun the news came that there had in fact been a bombing on the road to the Chinese border that we had been travelling along only a week earlier. They weren’t sure who had committed this crime but the Sumlone bridge which was destroyed in the attack was just beyond Nampaka, the village we had visited the previous weekend for a house warming party. It all felt just a little too close to home but then it got worse…
Things had developed a little closer to Kawngka too with opposing local militia forces clashing in frighteningly nearby Kutkai. The targets of the attacks were policemen, soldiers and rebels but sadly some civilians were also caught in the crossfire. Eight people died that day with a further 29 injured during the series of attacks. It’s unclear to me what is actually happening here at the moment but for the time being we are staying put in the safe confines of our village.
So for now, it’s time to lay low, pray a huge amount and hope this this series of attacks subsides before it’s time for me to leave in December.
X x X