Before we arrived in Myanmar we were reading a few other blogs on living here and had read that you sometimes experienced random acts of kindness from the local Burmese people.
One in particular that I remember was a woman who flagged down a local taxi that she knew only to then have to wait for him to go into a shop before coming to pick her up. He then promptly gave her a bag of eggs (that’s what eggs come in here). The reason was because she had accidentally left a bag of eggs in his taxi the last time she used it so this was him replacing the eggs.
Today I experienced one of these acts and it reminded me of a few others so here are a few examples. One time I left my wallet with quite a lot of cash in it, in a taxi. Fortunately, as we’d used ‘Grab’ (Asian equivalent of Uber) we had his number and I was able to call him. It took quite a while but he duly came back insisting I count the money. Another time I stopped in a local mini hardware shop to ask if they had a bicycle pump. They didn’t have one to buy but they then rummaged around to find an old one. There was some confusion over the valve type so about three people were all desperately trying to get my tyres pumped up. In the end to no avail but it was the thought and acts that counted. The other day I was walking to school a little late and the taxi driver that we normally use and know stopped by and asked if I wanted a ride. As I was running late I did take the offer and jumped in. I understood that he was on his way to pick someone else up so he dropped me just near school. I duly got my 2,000 Ks ready (1 GBP) but he refused to take it as he was on his way anyway – this from a taxi driver! Lindsey once lost her diamond earring at school. She had given up on finding it but had casually mentioned it to the custodial staff on the off-chance they might see it. Those staff then scoured one of the potential rooms it could have been left in and actually found it!
In Lindsey posts ‘Hot and Cold‘ she told you about some very amateurish ice carving that we did. What she didn’t emphasise is that the owner of the ice factory, who had never done this before, not only didn’t charge us for the activity but, on hearing that it was a birthday present, produced a cake! (The Burmese love a good birthday cake). This woman I should point out was totally unknown to anyone at school.
I have been recently trying to attract birds into our garden. For those of you not on facebook I should mention that I have also recently built one of my patented bird boxes complete with a camera. This one I call the Birdmaster 1,000 ‘Casa blanca’ as it’s made out of terrible chipboard with one surface already coated with a white veneer. At first I cut open a coconut (don’t try it without some kind of vice or clamp) and hung it up using the standard coat hanger method. Living in a country where coconuts grow I assumed the birds would be fairly used to this kind of food source but it remained untouched. I had seen that sparrows are fed with ears of corn hanging down in clumps from trees but until recently had yet to find where I could buy these ears of corn. Last weekend I discovered a whole load of these hanging up on a tree that we pass on our way back from our Sunday morning dog walk. I attempted to ask in Burmese where I could buy some of these. They didn’t speak back to me in Burmese but must have understood as a man produced a sack of them and promptly fished out a massive bunch for me. I then asked for just a few ears (around 5) as I wanted to test it first. He untied a few of them for me but when I asked him how much he wanted, he refused to accept any money. The test has been extremely successful in that I have attracted the birds to the food source which is near my bird box but unsuccessful in that I still have no takers inside the bird box.
This morning we went on the same walk and on the way back I duly stopped at the same spot hoping to find some more. I had been there about 10 seconds when a different man from last week came up and once again fished out a massive bunch of corn ears. This time I was prepared and had some money in my hand ready to pay. This man absolutely refused to take any money from me at all. This particular street is very poor. There are shacks along it where people live. I don’t know if this man lived there or whether he was indeed there last week and saw me ask for some corn last time. I put it down to another random act of kindness all of which makes living here all the more pleasant.