New Rangers Complete Relief Mission in Karen State, Burma15 January 2015 Karen State, Burma
Mission At A Glance
- Good Life Club – children served: over 1100
- Medical – patients treated: 438
- Burma Army Activity: Two recons conducted. Burma battalion violates cease-fire agreement, patrolling into Karen territory.
- Extra Mission Training: Horse, Mule and Pack animals care and Junior Ranger training
Thank you for all for prayers and encouragement! Your support helps enable FBR to serve and work alongside the ethnic groups of Burma.
This year, after completing their training, 12 new multi ethnic relief teams divided into three groups and completed missions in Mu Traw, Kler Lwe Htoo and Toungoo districts. This report details the Mu Traw mission to Butho Township, which included Karen, Shan, and Ta’ang teams.
Good Life Club
The teams did four programs serving, teaching and playing with the local children from the various villages visited. By the end of the mission, over 1100 children had been served by the Good Life Club, where they had opportunities to meet with newly trained rangers from all over Burma. The rangers sang with them, taught basic healthcare and also junior ranger skills for the older students. These included basic introductions to leadership, medicine/first aid, land navigation and reporting and camera use. “Fun” packs and clothing were given out at the end of each program. Once again, high school students from the New Generation School joined us on the mission to help and learn more during their winter break. They enthusiastically joined our mission and helped lead many parts of the program.
Help for Churches destroyed by Burma Army attacks
With the help from a special donor and friends around the world we were able to contribute funds to help rebuild two churches destroyed by Burma Army attacks. We are very thankful to be able to help and the villagers told us that this was an answer to prayer. It seemed there was no way help would come but it did. These are people in a remote area with little connection to the outside world. But they have a connection to God and we thank God and you all and the special donors who made this possible.
Children and teachers from 29 different schools attended the programs. The teachers we interviewed reported that things are better since the ceasefire, as travel is easier and the families they are serving are more stable. It is easier to have a consistent supply of school material for the children. However, as the Burma Army continues to build up camps in the Karen State, they still feel insecure and worried for their safety. Also, the proximity of the enemy soldiers, who fire on villagers at will and with impunity, inhibits free travel in the areas surrounding Burma Army camps. Most teachers earn $100-200USD a year and receive a rice ration from the village. Because of challenges of transportation and funding, there are rarely enough supplies for the year.
The teams treated a total of 438 patients. Issues ranged from the common cold and joint pain, to anemia, eye disease, malaria, beri-beri, and worms. The locals were appreciative of the Ranger medics and live a little more comfortably after receiving treatment.
Burma Army Activity
Two reconnaissance missions were conducted to survey two Burma Army camps, which control a local supply road. During the recons we learned that there was a firefight the week before between the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA – ethnic pro-democracy resistance) and Burma Army battalion. Information gathered indicates it was instigated because the military battalion conducted a patrol in an area they agreed not to visit. One Burma soldier was killed during the exchange. Though there are many cease-fire agreements throughout Burma, it is often the case that they’re violated on a regular basis, this being just one example.
Throughout the mission specialized training was offered to the rangers.
Horse and Mule Training: Horses and mules are an important part of moving large amounts of relief supplies, medicine and food. A pre-vet student from the US came and trained our pack animals team as well as team medics in the care of the horses and mules. We are thankful to her and to all of you who help provide the pack animals we need to do these missions.
Thank you for being in this with us, and for your care for the people of Burma. You make a difference here and we are grateful.
God bless you,
The Free Burma Rangers
The following is an excerpt from a report sent out earlier about the first program, in Tha Da Der. The complete Tha Da Der Village Report can be found here.
First Stop of the Mission
Tha Da Der Village, Karen State: Here was the first stop for 12 new teams of rangers as they began their first mission after graduation. They organized a Run for Relief and Good Life Club program for 5 local schools and treated patients at a field clinic during the program. They also did a reconnaissance of the Maw Pu Burma Army camp from where the Burma Army has launched numerous attacks against the villagers including burning Tha Dah Der three times. Nearly every year, this has been the first stop for the new Ranger teams; this year it also included a tribute to one of FBR’s first and biggest friends and supporters: Pu Maw La.
Memorial for An Old Ranger
In September, Pu Maw La died at the age of 80. He was a hero to us and had spent a lifetime fighting for his people, first as a boy against the Japanese with Major Hugh Seagrim and his father, Saw Digay. When civil war broke out, he became one of the most feared fighters against the Burma Army. Famous as a hunter, a fighter, and a leader, he was also a supporter of FBR and his sons became some of our best leaders. On Sunday, 14 December, we paid tribute to his life, posthumously awarding him FBR’s medal of honor and star of valor. These were given to his wife, Naw True Lei, and his son, Saw Digay Lwe. Naw True Lei was also awarded the star of valor for her years of support of Maw La and her willingly risking everything for the sake of freedom for her people. We greatly miss Maw La and Tha Da Der was not the same without him. We are grateful to have known and loved him.