If you travel to Daw Khuli, Lawplyar Leh, and Daw Po Shay Village located within Kay Lyar Village-tract, you may think it is not that far supposing you look up the map.
In fact, we have to turnaround the mountains by time in order to reach from village to village as the transportation is bad.If you travel by car from Pyidaungsu Highway of Pruhso-Bawlekeh to Daw Khuli Village, you have to pass through mountains, hills, and red dust opposite to highway.In the past, those villages were left behind due to unpeaceful situation.In 1996, the villagers in Kay Lyar region had to left behind their estates and fled from war.They returned to those places after fled for five years.
The villager of Daw Po Shay Village, Daw Pray Mar, told that they fled due to the command given by village-chief and soldier.
“I don’t know. We fled due to their command. If we deny fleeing, they threaten us that they will fire out our village or kill us. Therefore we had to flee.”
The whole villagers had to flee, and some sheltered to Kay Lyar Village and some to Deemawso Town. All the properties left behind were destroyed when they fled from war.
Besides, their lives situation was like they even had to struggle for daily food as they had to leave behind their careers during war.They had to struggle for their living.Daw Pray Mar also said, “We did felt sorrow. They ate our live-stock (buffalo, bull, pig) left behind when we fled from war.”
At that time, they were forced to flee as possible as they can within 3 days.Daw Po Shay Village is located in the border between Pruhso and Bawlekeh Township, and the transportation is poor.
The mother and children from that village also could not access any healthcare as there is no clinic and scarce of fresh water resources.Daw Shay Moe, who lost her son because of the lack access to healthcare, also told like this.
“When I had my first child, a daughter, I delivered her in clinic. I couldn’t go to hospital. Later when my child’s skin turned to yellow, I lost her since we were late to reach hospital. We also didn’t know much about health; poor healthcare knowledge. We don’t have either clinic or doctor in our village. We need to go from Daw Kuli Village and the road is very terrible with roughly stones. It is even worse when it is raining.”
The representative of State Hluttaw U Tel Reh also said that they need to find chance to keep raising their questions to Hluttaw concerned with the poor transportation to clinic and villagers’ difficulties.
He said, “The main problem of this village is healthcare. As they have those kinds of hardship, I would like to encourage the government to consider prior to it and if they have problem to help building a clinic, they may be able to find other solution to construct better road to clinic. As the government only have the authority to manage it, I can raise those issues to Hluttaw.”
Maw Byar Myar Oo from Karenni Women Organization also shared her views that “If the government could not reach to those remote areas, there could be other organizations like non-government organizations or civil society organizations who could reach there. If the government builds strong networking in purpose of helping those areas, I hope it would be very helpful.”
The Hluttaw representative and the Women Organization entered to those villages and surveyed home by home concerned with the challenges of women who had fled from war.When we interviewed Daw Hsu Mar from Lawplyar Leh Village at her home, she responded, “There was nothing when we initially returned to our homeplace. We restarted our life with nut and corn plantation. It was not enough, we purchased rice when we got a little money.”
When U Tel Reh asked the question to her “What career have you been working till now after you returned to the village? Is everything OK?” and Daw Hsu Mar explained her difficulties how she is encountering till now, “My whole year hardworking could support just adequate amount of living for a year. The most difficulty for me till now is plantation for our living. For water, we collect rainwater in raining reason. We use the water from red lake when there is no rain.”
The representative of Hluttaw U Tel Reh responded regarding to those difficulties, “In this situation, I will have to report to the government what difficulties they have and encounter. We may have to consider what support they might be able to provide.”There are some supports that Karenni Women Organization is providing to alleviate the hardship of living and violation which the village women are confronting.
“We manage paddy bank for those women from villages and conduct microfinance subsidiary program to increase their income.” said Maw Byar Myar Oo, Karenni Women Organization.During fled period, they had to make for our living by renting other people’s land.
They had fled and sheltered in other people’s villages making their living by renting other’s lands about 3 years. Then they returned to their destroyed village and restarted their lives from beginning.
“We brought paddy and nut when fled; but not corn. There were also other we couldn’t bring. There are some who could brought more. The military soldier burnt down if we returned those crops to home which we hide in the jungles while fled.” Said Daw Lar Kay Moe, Lawplyar Leh Village.
The women from Lawplyar Leh Village presented their difficulties faced during unstable time at the meeting, in Kay Lyar Village, when Hluttaw Representative had meeting with the women from Kay Lyar Village-tract.
They shared their experiences during the flee from war how they had to find food themselves, no one could care when someone is sick, or some grandparents died from starvation due to the weakness to flee.
“Especially women like us and the children could not run far. Besides, we could not work and eat well as we had to care our children and it was a hard time for us. In case of healthcare, we had no clinic to go when we were sick. We just took traditional medicine whenever we got sick during the flee from war. We would survive if you were lucky. If not, you lose your life. There were also many abortions due to the flee from war.”Maw Soe Myar from Karenni Women Organization explained most of the women encountered with health issue as there were no healthcare provider during war.
The local women also discussed their challenges that although there are clinics in rural villages, some in-charged nurses still have to provide their service by village to village or there is only one nurse and it is inadequate for the village. As a result, the women and children from the villages could not access adequate primary healthcare.
Daw Hsu Mar said, “It is really not OK, and some people missed finding them, the nurses.”
U Tel Reh said, “I wish them to be there day and night.”“Right, I wish them to stay full time. We could understand if they are not in office only sometimes because mostly, they absence when it is emergency.” Said Daw Hsu Mar.
U Tel Reh said, “Does the clinic have sufficient drugs?”Daw Hsu Mar replied, “The nurse sometimes has to find from other places when the medicine is not enough. Sometimes she says it is not enough.”
They also said that the Karenni Back Pack Health Worker Team (KBPHW) sometimes gives treatment to the patients and provide medicines in the villages.There was also an incident of a child born alive but lost mother last year due to the delay to hospital.
“She thought it was no need to go hospital and she didn’t. The nurse however came and checked her and suggested her to go hospital. But she delivered the baby there, and sooner she passed away by sudden heavy flow of blood, postpartum bleeding.” said Daw Hla Kay Moe, the local from Lawplyar Leh Village.
Since local people have suffered from hardship and poverty due to the civil war throughout the country in the previous military government’s control,they don’t want to have those kinds of difficulties and tragedies again.Although Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) have not signed the union level of ceasefire agreement, there is hardly the fight we see.
However, the ethnic people still could not have the true peace and equality, and it is significant evidence if we look to above mentioned rural areas that those local people are left behind from the modernity and development.It brings to question whether the inadequate healthcare and lack of safety for women and children who fled from war are because we still haven’t got the true peace.