From crouching in a smuggler boat going up the Salween River, to carrying a tripod up the side of a Nepalese mountain, to elbowing my way through a press-pack outside of a Yangon courtroom... August was quite a month.
In July myself and two Frontier coworkers investigated the murder of six female Ta'ang National Liberation Army medics. The Burmese military says the six were killed in battle, while the TNLA says the women were taken hostage, raped, and tortured before being murdered. The case is one of countless examples of continued impunity by both the Burmese military and armed ethnic groups operating in the country, and I'm grateful the story was published this month.
You can also listen to a podcast version of the story, done by Frontier's Doh Athan. Fair warning: you have to listen to my voice for a little over ten minutes.
August brought me my first experience in a Karen refugee camp, visiting Ei Htu Hta camp for their International Day of World's Indigenous People celebrations. I initially went to learn about the release of an orchid report done by Karen women but found myself asking questions about countless other topics such as forced migration, natural resources, Thai military hostilities, the Karen National Liberation Army and beyond.
I've been stringing (for non-journalism folk: "stringing" is like being an on-call person commonly used by a publication) for Associated Press since May. Over the past month I found myself covering everything from the heartbreaking Reuters trial, to Facebook banning some of Myanmar's top generals, to human rights reports accusing Myanmar authorities of war crimes and several things in-between.
There might be moment when I find myself reading the Geneva Conventions four times in a row at 2am on a Tuesday just to make sure I have everything right for the next day... but it's been an absolute pleasure and fantastic learning experience. I have eternal gratitude for the AP team for taking me on and under their wings.
A podcast that I worked on for New Naratif went live at the start of the month, taking a look at the child labor issue in Myanmar, as well as some of the groups working to solve it. Take a listen above, finding my story at the 00:45 mark.
National Public Radio (NPR) picked me up for a quick Newscast spot, talking about the dam failure that cause major flooding in central Myanmar. Find me above at the 3:36 mark.
Between Myanmar news I found myself in Nepal, photographing and filming rural family planning clinics in various parts of the country. I was amazed to see how incredibly easy it is to access family-planning an abortion services in the country- bravo Nepal!
I think I was home in Yangon a total of ten days in August- and somehow I still don't feel like I did enough work. But thanks to lovely friends I was able to cram a month of moments into a few late nights and early mornings. I'm off to America this month, visiting my friends and family for the first and only time of the year.
Until then upwards and onwards.
"Faults, flaws, wishes, all of it, it doesn't matter. We're not going to get it all. None of us gets it all. Okay? But what we do have, we can polish. We can polish it, honey, till it blinds them." -Duchess Milan, 69. From the The New Yorker series on transgender/gender-nonconforming older adults.