Interview With Nange Shwe

Why did you leave your village?

The SPDC (Burmese military) moved our village and we were not allowed to make a living.

What do you mean by 'moved your village?'

They moved all the people to another location.

How many people were in your village?

I don't know because I am not a leader, but there were 150 houses.

Why did the SPDC move your village?

I do not know, they just told us all to leave.

Did they burn the village or leave it?

They did not burn down the village, but they did ask us to move.

How long did it take you to get here?

It took us 10 days, because we came by car.

Did anyone else from your village come with you?

No one else from my original village came here, but some people from other nearby villages came to this place.

Is that because those other villages were moved as well?

Yes.

How did you hear about this IDP camp? How did you know to come here?

First we intended to come and work in Thailand. When we got to the border we heard about this camp.

So you originally came to Thailand to find work...

[Sai Sem: Yes, when her village was moved by the SPDC, there was no place for her to stay (work), and so she had to find a new living.]

How big is your family? Do you have a husband or children?

I have a husband and two children, both boys.

What are their ages?

4 and 8.

The 8 year old, did he go to school in your old village?

No.

I'm curious what it's like to live in this (IDP) village. Do you like living here, or would you rather be able to go back home?

In my village (where it was moved by the SPDC) there is nothing to do for a living. [Sai Sem: Where her village was moved, the SPDC will not allow them to do any work in that area, so she came to Thailand to find work.]

If the SPDC would allow you to go back to your original village to work, would you stay here, or go back?

No, even if the SPDC would allow us to go back to our original village, I would not go.

Is that because you like it better here, or because you do not trust the SPDC?

I do not trust the SPDC. Before, in my experience, I stayed with the SPDC soldiers for a long time; they do not keep promises. Sometimes they allow us to work and later they don't allow us- no promises.

Now that you're here, how do you get food, do you have any way to make money, and how do you buy supplies and clothes for your family?

We get some rice given to us by the Shan Relief Committee (a Shan organization) . For clothes, I have to ask from neighbors. Because we came from a long distance, we could not bring much. Now I cannot make any income in here; no money. I have rice to eat, but no clothes and no income.

Have you thought about moving on, or do you plan to stay here and farm?

I am happy to stay here, if I get enough food and work.

Since it's fair to turn it around, do you have any questions you'd like to ask me?

I would like you to support us with clothes, food, and income. In here we only have rice to eat; no clothes, and no work.


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Page Revised 5/30/00