Could you please introduce yourself first?
Sure thing. My name is Nu Nu Aung. I am from Taquin village in Hopin. I am an eighth batch fellow. My operational working group is a community development group known as “Htwe San”. I was assigned the role of a fellow at Kyun Pin Thar village, Hopin town in Moe Nyin district.
Please tell me how you became a fellow.
One of my friends recommended that I should seek some experience by attending the training. That’s how it began and went on.
May I know what you had done before you became a fellow?
I had completed my university education. However, It was a period of uncertainty. I was like “okey I am going to have to do this or do that”. But nothing was put into action. Time went by as I did nothing at home.
After receiving training, I learned that I would be sent to a village to stay there for 2 years. I was not confident as the job was something new to me.
What difficulties did you encounter during these 2 years of your life as a fellow?
Precisely 3 types of difficulties I came across. The first one was my family’s limited understanding about my job. They did not comprehend the value of this job despite a number of explanations I gave. As a result, I did not receive any approbation from them. The second one was the attitude of community members. At the beginning, they did not trust me. Moreover, I was not able to approach community leaders. I had some plans in my mind but was never able to implement them until I witnessed my proven ability. After one year, the government issued a mandatory establishment of community library. I had an opportunity to assist in the process and gained community leaders’ confidence. The third one was my own personal weakness. I had never had close contact with members of another community. I had lived only with my family and got a friend or two. I had never paid attention to anything unless it was related to my family affairs. Family members were only whom I interacted with. Because of this, being a fellow was a challenging task for me.
So how did you overcome these difficulties?
I told myself “If you think you cannot make it, nothing will be accomplished. If you do something, at least there will be work done”. That’s how I motivated myself. When we held a meeting to discuss the formation of community development committee, I was asked to make a presentation about it. Actually I had already anticipated such kind of request. But when I faced it in reality, I was stunned. Despite some anticipation about hardship, you can get sloppy when you deal with it.
What do you think is the difference between your life as a fellow and before?
Well, there is a great difference. I came to know more about people, their family lives, and different values we hold. Before I became a fellow, I used to think that my perception was the only truth. But now, I realize how people perceive differently and diverse views they hold as well as the consequences of an action.
When I was attending fellow training, we took a field trip along with the trainers to Ma Li Kha village. I was not confident to ask questions to community members. My concern was I would accidently poke my nose into someone’s privacy. Therefore, I just took notes of what was answered. Now I know how to ask questions tactfully and delicately.
What do you feel about the end of the project?
We worked together for 2 years. We developed a family relationship between us. We knew ins of outs of each other’s affairs, tastes, and shared a sibling tie. Though I had minor conflicts with some impulsive fellows, thinking that we have no idea when we will see each other again makes us emotional. Now some fellows have planned trading in rice paddy. It is primarily aimed at keeping in touch rather than establishing a business contact.
Did you gain satisfaction from working as a fellow over the past two years?
I gained much knowledge and attended many trainings. I learned that conflict is pervasive and peace has to be kept even within family. I also learned writing styles and the way of pursuing my goals. If there is no “what to achieve”, there will be no “how to do”. Therefore, I am determined to set goals and learn how to achieve them. Discrimination on the grounds of the positions are common in many workplaces. But there was no discrimination in this project. Everybody was treated equally and warmly. All in all, I was satisfied with my life as a fellow.
What message do you want to leave for the future fellows if there will be further projects?
First, I want them to fully understand their roles and responsibilities. It took me the first 6 months to understand what I had to do. It was demotivating for me. Therefore, I want them to understand their jobs, demonstrate knowledge and skills acquired from the trainings, and prepare for their tasks beforehand.
Thank you for answering my questions.