Daniel Susott at Myanmar
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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Daniel Goring to Burma

Dearest Lauryn,

Thanks for your email and warmth and offer of aide through your pal Daniel. I have one cousin left in Burma and she seems to be OK. Her father, my uncle died several years back and most of her relatives had to leave Burma due to their support of Aung San Suu Kyi and the demonstrations that they were a part of. Laura M who is there and holding down the fort had the roof blown off but is on her way to getting it replaced. Lucky for all, right before the cyclone had struck we had managed to get her some $ (thanks Mom) through the Burmese network of friends and relatives in the States and Burma. We are grateful that all our friends and relatives in the country are ok and accounted for. I'll include an email from another cousin. It shows how the networking is making progress. It is a huge job praying for the delta people. I find that my meditations are helped by creating portals of light for the "lost" souls to head to. It seems that telling them their loved ones are waiting on the other side for them help take away the fear of moving on. So many are in shock! I'm glad you will have a trip to Wash. Have a wonderful time with your mother. I hope that her new digs are pleasing and she makes nice friends. And have a good time with the Karmapa! You have a grand sense of timing! Love to you and thanks for thinking of my family. Good luck to Daniel. I wish I could have given him some help but I think that the best thing is for him to go through the channels that be and therefore not put anyone there in a suspicious light. So sad to see what that country has been reduced to by the junta. Tell him that medicine is what's needed...there seems to be lots of Doctors on the ground but not enough medicine. Blessings dear one and know that I love you so very much! OXO Lisa Lemuria

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PS> A letter from my Burmese cousin in Italy....

Dear friends ~

Cyclone Nargis devastated the Irrawaddy Delta and hit other areas including Yangon (Rangoon) on from the night of Friday 2 May until Saturday 3 midday. With telephone and electricity lines cut, people dashing all over Rangoon looking for water and supplies, my friend Ohmmar managed to send out an email with news. At that stage, the first days after the cyclone, she like everyone else was totally preoccupied with the devastation in their immediate vicinity.

Gradually the city people learned the extent of the destruction in the Delta, where lie Burma's paddy fields which feed the entire country, and in the days of the British, from where rice was exported all over the world.

On 12 May I received a second email from Ohmmar, I will send out the translation in a separate post.

I will add to this site the news that she manages to send out. I have just received this morning, Saturday 17 May, an email from her (in Burmese, which she scans and sends from an internet cafe) while watching her son set out in the cab of a truck loaded with clothes, rice and other provisions; the truck is part of a convoy, with 3 others, one a pickup with more provisions, and 2 vehicles with 20-30 men. They should now be, insh'Allah (the Authorities), in the Delta.

A portion of the $1000, consisting of contributions from many of you, that I sent on Wednesday 13th, has put some of the provisions on that truck which set out this morning from Ohmmar's neighbourhood in Yangon.

It is part of her community's effort. The rest of our money will be used for next week's delivery. The help has to go in small amounts to the Delta, in order to pass the gauntlet.

If you look around on the net, there are many Burmese from abroad acting in tandem with relatives and friends in Burma, and some have gone themselves. MoeGyo is one such group, it is worth keeping an eye on what they are doing:

http://blog.moegyo.org/

Ohmmar's son and daughter-in-law are both doctors. Her daughter-in-law specialises in infectious diseases. Ohmmar worked for years with a very strong charity in Yangon which has a free medical clinic attached to a lively service providing free funerals, I visited the place last autumn.

Part of the money we send will be used for food, the other for medicines; Ohmmar's daughter-in-law, together with her close associates, are organising themselves to go to the Delta, to give medical help and innoculations.

Update, Monday 19 May : Ohmmar emailed another telephone number this morning; I got through immediately. I had been trying in vain to reach friends and family in Yangon since the 4th.

She and husband found that of all the wires pulled off by the enormous tree felled in front of their house by the cyclone, there was one line still intact, one of their building's telephone lines still working, it was an unused line loaned to a neighbour's house.

As she put it when I got through on this number this morning, "We can't wait for them to connect us, we did it ourselves!". Well, still no water, no electricity from the authorities, and this is very central Rangoon, next to the Royal Lake.

Rangoon is DIY (Do It Yourself) zone. It has been for a long while, in fact, that is how people now are so much on the ball.

Money is being given and collected locally, at shops and internet cafes too are collection-points. People are donating their own clothes, their rice, what money they can spare.

Ohmmar told me of the Saturday 17th trip, her son's group made it as far as Pyapon, the road on from there to Bogalay was too bad for this trip. But there was plenty to do in the Pyapon area. A driver delivering supplies, after giving the 3 spare shirts he had with him, took the shirt off his back and gave that too. Some people are not able to come to queue for food, because they have no clothes.

One of the many stricken people there is a man who sits immobile all day long. Only if he is prodded to eat, he eats. He is in shock. During the cyclone, he held on to his two children, one in each hand. He himself was wrapped around a tree. He held on to them all night, and by morning he knew he could no longer hold on to both. He had to decide which one to let go. As he reached his decision, he lost both.

This coming Saturday 24 May, a group formed by Ohmmar's daughter-in-law (a doctor specialising in infectious diseases) and her close associates are heading for the Delta. They were called there last week by their hospital, but when they got there, there were no medical supplies to work with. Now they are organising themselves. The rest of the money I sent last week (largely from the Catalan taiji friends, together with Swiss and Italian friends who offered unsolicited donations) is now being used to buy medical supplies.

Dear friends, please know that my Yangon friend and her family, together with people in their community, are only a few of many many individuals and groups in Burma gathering what they themselves have and getting it to the survivors of the cyclone. Foodstuffs are being donated from all over the country. People are aware that soon there will be rice shortage all over the country, and while they still can, they are doing all that is in their power.

Later this week, I will send through another direct route (Burmese have relatives all over the world!) a second contribution. Some money is already collected; I have been waiting to see what happened to the first lot before organising more to be sent.

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Name: Daniel Susott
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