While on a relief mission in Toungoo District, Northern Karen State, Mya Win, FBR team video man and reporter, died of malaria as he helped his people flee the attacking Burma Army. He stayed behind with the people even as he was sick. At the height of the rainy season, with no good shelter, little food and giving his all to care for the displaced families, Mya Win lost his life on 27 May, 2006.
|P’Saw Paw at the FBR training camp in Oct 2009
I was walking through a village in Papun district further south but heard the news from the radio right away. I was shocked. Mya Win was a very tough, active and sharp young man. With a dry sense of humor and quick wit, he was a favorite among all the Rangers. I stood under a cattle shed in the driving rain and wrote a letter to his wife. I told her how sorry we were, how wonderful her husband was, what he meant to us and how we felt for her. I wrote that we would help take care of her and her new baby and sent her some money. The letter was carried by runner two weeks to her home in a different part of the district. The next month I got a reply and when I saw who the letter was from I thought,”This is from Mya Win’s wife, she will be very unhappy.” Instead, when I opened the letter, this is what it said,
“Dear Free Burma Rangers,
First, I want to thank all of you because you let me know about my husband’s passing away. Until now, I did not know where my husband died or the disease that he died from. I was very sad, but when I saw and got your letter and your encouragement, I was happy. If not, I did not know nothing. Please do not find a replacement for him, I will replace him on the FBR team. My husband has died, but I won’t give up, just as my husband tried for his people while he was alive. So, I will try and do something for my people, too. Please do not replace him. I will replace him. Please excuse me for one year and I will prepare, right now I am quite busy, I( have a baby) but for the coming years I will find and do something for my people.
And to Tha U Wa A Pa
“Dear Tha-U-Wa-A-Pa (“Father of the White Monkey”)
I need your help to have two or three men help me to go back to do a memorial service for my husband. I would like to request you to send my husband Mya Win and his daughter’s photo that he took before he died. Please, if you see it and send it back to me. I will keep it for a remembrance. If Mya Win’s photos are with any of you, please send it back to me too please. I wish for all of you, that you will pray for Mya Win’s family always.”
I was humbled as I read her letter and was inspired by her dedication.
We helped to support her and her daughter a little each year as she lived with her mother and father in law. Two years ago she brought her daughter to see our family and said, “Please excuse me, my daughter is not yet old enough for me to be away for a few months but next year I will come to the training.”
This year as we prepared to start the training for 14 new multi-ethnic teams, P’Saw Paw walked into the camp smiling. “My daughter, Moon Moon Win, is fine with my in-laws for a while and I can train and go on some missions with you. I will be a part-time Ranger, is that ok?”
We hugged her and thanked her for coming. She looked at us radiantly, with eyes shining and a big smile as she told us, “My husband died for his people, I will take his place on the FBR team. I am still young and have come to learn skills with which I can help my people.”
We prayed together and after she graduates she will go with us on a mission to help her people.
Thank you all for being part of ours and her life and may God bless you,
an FBR Team Leader
Free Burma Rangers
|P’Saw Paw and daughter Moon Moon Win 2007
|Mya Win with his daughter before he died in May 2006
|Mya Win on a mission