Maureen, an Open House volunteer, today shared stories of a recent visit to Myanmar (Burma under colonial rule), where her daughter serves as an aid worker. Her narrative ranged over a wide scope of urban and rural life in the nation, where careful steps are being negotiated to improve conditions for the population that has suffered much under a repressive approach to government. Recent by-elections in which Aung San Suu Kyi won a seat following release from 20 years house arrest have cautiously lifted the mood of the people.
Aid agencies work closely with one other and the Australian diplomatic corps, holding each other accountable for fair distribution and the kind of help that encourages self-development with better agricultural methods and micro-economic enterprises. There is much that challenges this rich ancient culture that is finding its way through contemporary democratic processes against a very recent history of brutal oppression. Maureen’s story conveyed realistic hope and opened the hearts and minds of the regular Open House audience and visitors to the future possibilities for this near neighbour to our north.