Kommentar. I morse fick jag beskedet att Myint i går 26.4 avled på ett sjukhus i Yangon efter att ha genomgått en hjärtoperation. Han efterlämnar fru, två barn samt ett nybyggt hus i Mandalay. Hans familjs rötter fanns i två byar som båda besöktes av Läs och Res grupper. De besöken blev alltid resans höjdpunkt. Höjdpunkter för både gäster och de som tog emot oss. Han gjorde hela tiden sitt bästa för att stödja byarna och skapade bl a ett bibliotek som fylldes med böcker skänkta av svenska resenärer. Där hittar du barnböcker med den svenska texten överklistrad med burmesisk text. Byns barn kan allt om Pettson och katten Findus!
Comment. It came to me as a chock to know that Myint deceased yesterday on 26.4 after undergoing a heart surgery in Yangon. Myint got 48 years old and leaves a wife and two children. It is my strong recommendation to the new management to accept the other tourleader Myo as a replacement for Myint. A very strong replacement.
Letter from Myint, written exactly one month ago.
In 2007, I got contact with Study and Travel. Got an agreement with Chris who invited me to join a meeting for tour leaders from South Asia. We met in Nepal. There I met with both Chris and Eric, who is now a manager of Study and Travel. However I could not have any tour in 2007 because of the political crisis. First tour was in 2008 February. Since then I have taken responsibility for over 30 groups.
I have worked as a guide all my life and am able to compare Study and Travel with other tour operators. Most of our group members are physically strong enough for biking and trekking. Also Study and Travel encourage the participants to study about the country to prepare them for the tour. Other tour operators only arrange to see pagodas and monasteries. Study and Travel arrange to see more of the ways of life and to get personal contact with local people. This is more a lot more interesting than normal tours.
I am myself an active Buddhist and the Swedish people are much interested in learning our philosophy. Many people are also interested in the social, economical and political situation in my country. I am happy we do not need to stay in luxury hotels. They can manage to stay even in a village with a family. Other tourists always complain about the hotels.
The earlier military government did not want tourists to meet local people. It was forbidden for tourists to stay in villages as they did not want to show the poverty of the country and the people of Myanmar. I always try my best to show my group the real situation, although this is not easy in my country. For me it is still a risk to show a village, even a village school. Still today it is not allowed to stay in a village overnight.
Still I did this a few times. I arranged to stay in my home village with the group. I went to the District Immigration Office to explain my aim and reasons. I really want to do to develop village people. If I can arrange this, my group members can spend their money directly to the local people. They get paid by the visitors not only for accommodation, but also for cooking, washing clothes, renting bicycles and ox carts. I explained well and the gentleman agreed and gave me permission. I was very happy. My group stayed two days and one night in my home village. This was unique and both locals and participants were happy.
I really appreciate Study and Travel giving me a chance to create new ideas for tourism and the philosophy of travelling. More people are coming and visiting in our country now. My country has also changed a lot in positive direction during the last years. Hope I could do still more interesting tours in the future.