We had just returned from Myu Jat Aung’s funeral when we met Nang Bauk and her two youngest children: a 19-month-old wrapped on her back and a four-year-old hiding by her legs. She shared her story with us, fighting through tears as she spoke.
Nang Bauk explained that the Burmese army had attacked her village. Amid the gunfire, she and her husband had been forced to flee their home with seven children in tow.
As if the story wasn’t bad enough, her husband—a Baptist minister—had returned to the village get supplies in the aftermath of the violence. He was found by the Burmese army and captured.
Nang Bauk had not heard news of her husband in over a month, but hopes that he is alive and will be released soon. She now cares for their family in an internally displaced persons camp near the Chinese border. Given the close quarters and poor sanitation in the camp, she worries about disease and prays that her children will stay healthy.
Thanks to mothers from the surrounding community, a local humanitarian aid group has been organized to provide food and other services for displaced families like Nang Bauk’s. But, the Burmese government has largely prevented international aid groups from entering the region and the global community is paying very little attention to the attacks on innocent men, women and children in Kachin State.
While we were there, the Burmese army was escalating its troop presence in the area, causing further alarm to those who have already been through so much. However, even amid the fear of Burmese army attacks, the amazing courage and strength of Nang Bauk and the other Kachin mothers was clear. In this time of great turmoil, they are pulling together—for their neighbors, their families and, most of all, their children.
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