PART 3: A PERSONAL JOURNEY FROM YANGON TO MATUPI, CHIN
The author traveled to Matupi, Chin state (native land) from Yangon on January 1, 2022. It was not safe to travel across the country since the coup 2021. Yangon and Matupi, Chin state was only a one night. two-day journey before the coup. But after the coup, it was a 3-4 days journey.
“It was because of my father’s sickness. He was not keeping well since 2020 and after the coup seized power, he did not take any medical treatment. On the day of the coup, February 1, 2021, he was in Yangon for medical treatment. I went to more than five different private hospitals for his medication but not for a cure. But in the following days, he was afraid to live in Yangon because of the disturbances and went back to Matupi in the Chin state.
By March 2021, he was back in his native place in Matupi, Chin State. He felt the pain of gout and on November 4, 2021, we siblings decided to ask for a blessing from our father according to the Chin traditional way called “imtui tul”. Only our youngest sister stayed with dad and took care of him in Matupi. We asked for a blessing from dad by killing two minthun and two pigs. All the others are not able to stay with him because of insecurity and travel restriction to Matupi, Chin state.
After asking for a blessing (Imtui-Tul) on November 4 2021, he contracted the Covid-19 disease on November 8, 2021, and my elder brother came from Aizawl, Mizoram, India to stay and care for my dad from December. On February 2, 2022, he went back to Aizawl, Mizoram. And I started my journey on January 1, 2022, from Yangon to Chin State to care for him, although it was not safe to travel to Matupi. I arrived there on January 5. 2022.
After a five-day stay in Matupi, I had to continue my journey to Dad’s village but all the roads were blocked by the junta. No one could come and go out from Matupi to other villages and from villages to townships across the Chin state. So, on January 10, I went to one of the SAC military checkpoints in Matupi. There were two soldiers at the gate. They told me that people were not allowed to go out and come in from villages and from towns to villages. I said to them, “Yes, I know that but I have come from Yangon to care for my dad because he was seriously sick. I asked their permission to go from Matupi to my dad’s village. Fortunately, the military junta allowed me to go out from Matupi and see my dad in his village. At the checkpoint, the soldiers asked me to donate some amount of money and I gave them $5000 kyats at the gate.
After reaching home, dad was on the bed and he looked at me emotionally and cried. On January 6-7, 2022, the military junta killed 10 civilians living near my dad’s village.
The situation in the whole village was not safe and the villagers ran away. Some ran to the next village, some slept in the forest and others went to the Indian border. Even my youngest sister had already left my dad and had run to Aizawl, Mizoram for safety. After a 3-day stay with my father, my dad called me and said that the situation may be worse because the soldiers were roaming here and there. They may also come into our village. He said, “You have to out from our village and run to Aizawl, Mizoram, India. You have a future, a daughter and wife, and I do not want them to be without a father.” He said, “You need to run for your safety, do not worry about me, I will die or live.”
Many villagers had already run away and even from my dad’s village, most had already run to India border. I had seen many old people carried by their relatives and grandsons, on the backsides of the motorbikes. Afraid and terrified, they closed their eyes throughout the journey.
I told him, “Daddy I do not want to run from you because I came here to take care of you.” Again and again, Daddy forced me to run to Aizawl, Mizoram. With sadness, I left and went to Aizawl, Mizoram in January.
On 5 February 2022 afternoon at 12:00 PM, I called home and they told me that my father’s situation was not good and they were just waiting for his departure. After a few minutes, they told me my father was gone.
Even I had not seen his last breath and could not do anything for him. Now Mom is alone at home. We seven siblings, grandsons and daughters are without a father whom we dearly miss.
About the author:
PEN is the pseudonym of a writer who hails from Burma, and who has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree.