Two more months come and gone. The past 60 or so days have been filled with jungle and mountains rides, medical clinics, rice paddy fields, IDP camps, press conferences and everything in between. As publishing schedules go a lot of what I did the past few weeks will be published just in time to miss this website update.
Having just gotten back from a trip to northern Shan, some of the people I met in the region's IDP camps are fresh on my mind. The Myanmar government announced earlier this year that they would be shutting down all IDP camps across the country. IDPs in northern Shan had mixed feelings — and information — about the announcement.
I spent a lot of the past month going to infectious disease clinics, diving into some of the complexities that exist around HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C. From intravenous drug users to those who seemed tainted blood transfusions, the stories of those impacted all included one thing: the dependence on international organizations for help.
Other days and nights were spent interviewing organizations that are working to help provide informal education to some of Myanmar's more than 1.2 million child workers. One organization is turning old buses into mobile classrooms, picking up children after their long days at work and teaching them skills such as teamwork, basic English, and math. A podcast I made about this can be found here.
And then there were Pa'O children who traveled from their northern town to the outskirts of Yangon, receiving education from a local monk. June, 2018
The sixth anniversary of attacks in Rakhine State was in June. A quick 101 video for Frontier Myanmar for those who may not have a full understanding of the history of recent violence in the region:
I spent countless hours in the mud the past few weeks. Some of it in the rice paddy fields of the Irrawaddy working with Proximity Designs to document how farmers are using their business's services. Ask me about Golden Apple Snails.
I wrote a story for Splice Newsroom about how misinformation is literally killing people in India, and how there have been few efforts to combat fake news in any other language than English — that's a problem, when only a small percentage of over 1 billion people speak languages besides English.
And there were other odds and ends as well. I spent Eid in one of Yangon's mosques and a friend's home, eating endless bowls of rice and sweet desserts.
I wrote a story for New Naratif about the massive lack of women as professional sources in Myanmar's media. The problem isn't exclusive to Myanmar, but the country's statistics are some of the most damning in the region. Use more women as professional sources, people.
International Journalists' Network named me as journalist of the month, giving me a chance to gab on about struggles facing local and foreigner journalists in Myanmar, as well as a moment to gush about my love for Columbia's DART Center.
Care to have a skim-like summary of the week's news in your inbox? You're in luck- my weekly Burma newsletter is still going strong. You can sign up for it here. I am also writing a weekly blurb for New Naratif's Sunday updates that take a look at the week ahead across Southeast Asia.
Otherwise I've been doing my best to climb some trees and take a moment between interviews to kick back and try to put a dent in Foreign Policy Interrupted's summer reading list.
I'm on the road for most of the next two months undertaking some lot of invigorating projects that somehow manage to both get me paid and satisfy my brain. Onward and upward, and talk to you next time.