Staying with a minority


The Karen refer to a number of Sino-Tibetan language speaking ethnic groups which reside primarily in Karen State, southern and southeastern Burma (Myanmar). The Karen make up approximately 7 percent of the total Burmese population of approximately 5 million people. The Karen people live mostly in the hills bordering the eastern mountainous region and Irrawaddy delta of Burma, primarily in Karen State. They are unlike the majority of the Burmese people Christians. To pass the six army checkpoints, I count on this man in the middle, She-bu. We were lucky as the security men at two checkpoints were sleeping. At the other four, She-bu introduced me as a researcher from a NGO to collect information about the water pipelines in the villages and that I do not need any permission. I bought him three bottles of Myanmar beer and he could not believe his luck.


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