Interview With Wan Na

Why did you move here?

The SPDC soldiers (Burmese military) confiscated all my property, I lost everything. Also my domestic animals. I had no way to survive there, that's why I left to come here.

Did they take the animals, or kill them?

They shot the animals and took the meat for themselves and for selling in the market. The owner of the animals cannot go and catch them (the animals) by themselves. If we are seen by the SPDC (catching our animals), the SPDC soldiers will shoot us.

Did the SPDC do the same thing to the rest of your village?

They caught everybody's animals.

Did they also take other possessions besides animals from the other people?

Not just animals, also property like money, clothes.

How many people lived in that village?

300 houses.

Where did you decide to go, and how did you get there?

We left without anything, just clothes and some food to eat on the way. On the way we were starving, so we had to ask the SPDC soldiers for food.

Did they give you any?

They gave us rice, not enough, a little rice.

Who did you come with?

When I left my village, I came with only my family. On the way I met so many villagers from other villages (fleeing).

Tell me a little bit about your family, your wife and children, how many children...

I have a wife and three children; one child died on the way (four children originally).

Do you know what your child died from?

On the way my child felt so sick and I had no money to treat my child.

How old are your children and how old was that child?

The child who died on the way was 11. The others are 22, 20, and 18.

Was the youngest a boy or a girl?

Boy.

How long did the trip take? Did you walk?

We walked. It took one month.

When you came over here, you went into Thailand to look for work?

We did not intend to go to Thailand. I know very well about Thailand for a person who does not have an identity card. I came to where the soldiers are to depend on them.

Now I understand you originally set up a village in Thailand that got moved?

When we came here we had 200 people, then we went and set up in Thailand (by the border).

How long did you live in Thailand before you got moved? How did the Thais move you?

17 days. After that the Thais pushed us back.

Did they just tell you you had to leave, or burn you out? I mean when they have guns you go anyway...

After 17 days the Thai soldiers came and warned us to leave Thai soil. They asked us to come back and stay in Burma soil. On the second day they came back with the troops, asked us to leave immediately, and then burned down the houses.

This whole IDP village has only been here 4 months?

[Sai Sem: Yes, 4 months.]

Do you know where the other villagers in your old village went?

I have no idea where they went, but there are none here.

Since you are the assistant headman of the village, what do you see for this village in the future?

Because the living is unstable, I cannot say what will happen to us.

Is there anything you'd like to ask me?

Right now are in a difficult situation. We will be so happy if there is someone to support us and give us security. We would like support of civilian clothes to wear, we have to depend on the army clothes since we have no one else to give us clothes.


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Page Revised 5/30/00