My name is Ma Naw Phalaw Dar. I live at Khae Ma Phyu village in Pha Saung Township. My parents are farmers. For the time being, I am working at Ka Thoe Khi village as a rural community development fellow.
Before that, I took a computer training class. I help my parents to do their farming. When I had completed the computer-training course, a member of our mother organization “Hilly Area Development Association” informed me about Nyein’s project called “Nurturing Potential Youths”. I had no notion of the concept of development. When I completed the first round of training, our mother organization assigned me to work at Ka Thoe Khi village. The training was fun as I attended with my friends. I thought everything would be fine at the targeted village. However, I had to seek official approval from KNPP Township and district offices. The process was not smooth. It took (2) days to get approval. The journey to the village was nearly two-day’s walk through a leech-infested area in the constant heavy rain. I was so frazzled that I could hardly move my legs and arms when I arrived there.
Soon after I arrived at the village, I was introduced to the community members at church. For the first two weeks, I was a stranger to them. Since we speak different ethnic languages, they did not communicate with me at first. Therefore, I paid some visits to the villagers’ houses, helped them farm and chop the wood for the fire. Gradually, the relationship between us became stronger. Before I received second round of training, I learned that village elderly were gathering information about me as an attempt to identify me as a good person or a bad one. Some people were suspicious of me while some others thought that I was doing nothing good to their community unlike the other organizations had done. I felt very sad. Sometimes I wanted to give up on being a fellow and run away.
But I look to the issues, realizing that challenges are pervasive. I made up my mind by cheering myself up to overcome those challenges. First I built my confidence. I delivered awareness trainings. I taught songs to the kids at church. I taught them at school. I participated in their social events. I did everything as much as I could and understood. Learning became reciprocal. I noticed that they realized the nature of my work. Their perceptions were altered. The relationship improved little by little until the successful formation of rural community development committee. Although the expectation point was not reached, the communal development became satisfactory. Now they are leading community development works. Community development committee has taken the initiative to build a building for the school. All in all, the life of a fellow incorporates grievance, worry, sense of inferiority, gratification, and pride. It demands both grit and persistence. A fellow is required to do his/her nonprofit work through the dedication of heart and soul.
Finally yet importantly, one’s destiny is not something that goes to him/her. It is where he/she wants to go.