See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Inside Chin, Myanmar’s Picturesque but Poorest Province

Tedim town amid clouds. Photo and caption: Pyay Kyaw / The Irrawaddy

Tedim town amid clouds. Photo and caption: Pyay Kyaw / The Irrawaddy

This article by Pyay Kyaw is from The Irrawaddy, an independent news website in Myanmar, and is republished on Global Voices as part of a content-sharing agreement.

Despite its pristine natural beauty, bad transportation is a serious obstacle for the development of Chin State. Anyone who has been there, especially during the rainy season, knows this to be true.

Landslides plague the impoverished state when the rains come. Vehicles frequently hydroplane as they snake around the dirt roads of the mountainous region in northwestern Myanmar. Roads barely wide enough for one car are choked with lines of vehicles for hours until the roads are clear.

At 8,000 feet above sea-level, passersby can see stunning mountains shrouded in clouds but also the scary site of four-wheelers lying turned-over on muddy roads or hills after an accident. For anyone traveling in a small van, pushing the vehicle out of knee-deep mud or being towed is unavoidable.

The distance between Kalay and Tedim is about 60 miles but the trip can take 12 hours thanks to rain, landslides and accidents on the road. The famed, heart-shaped Reed Lake is about 20 miles from Tedim and near the India-Burma border. Stark differences between the two countries can be seen while standing on a bridge that links the two countries for trade. Awash in twilight, India’s Mizoram State is lit up, while in Myanmar’s Rihkhawdar, only a small glimmer of light gathers like fireflies starting their night in the darkness.

The famed heart-shaped Reed Lake. Photo and caption: Pyay Kyaw / The Irrawaddy

The famed heart-shaped Reed Lake. Photo and caption: Pyay Kyaw / The Irrawaddy

A man canoeing on Reed Lake. Photo and caption: Pyay Kyaw / The Irrawaddy

A man canoeing on Reed Lake. Photo and caption: Pyay Kyaw / The Irrawaddy

A jeep on its way from Kalay to Tedim. Photo and caption: Pyay Kyaw / The Irrawaddy

A jeep on its way from Kalay to Tedim. Photo and caption: Pyay Kyaw / The Irrawaddy

A truck carrying goods for the border gate on its way to Rihkhawdar, a Burmese border town near India’s Mizoram State. Photo and caption: Pyay Kyaw / The Irrawaddy

A truck carrying goods for the border gate on its way to Rihkhawdar, a Burmese border town near India’s Mizoram State. Photo and caption: Pyay Kyaw / The Irrawaddy

An overturned lorry on the way to Reed Lake in Tedim Township. Photo and caption: Pyay Kyaw / The Irrawaddy

An overturned lorry on the way to Reed Lake in Tedim Township. Photo and caption: Pyay Kyaw / The Irrawaddy

People wait for a clear road on their way to Rihkhawdar, a Burmese border town near India’s Mizoram State. Photo and caption: Pyay Kyaw / The Irrawaddy

People wait for a clear road on their way to Rihkhawdar, a Burmese border town near India’s Mizoram State. Photo and caption: Pyay Kyaw / The Irrawaddy

Workers push carts carrying goods to Mizoram State in India through the border bridge that links India and Myanmar. Photo and caption: Pyay Kyaw / The Irrawaddy

Workers push carts carrying goods to Mizoram State in India through the border bridge that links India and Myanmar. Photo and caption: Pyay Kyaw / The Irrawaddy

School children go back to Myanmar across the border bridge before it closes. Photo and caption: Pyay Kyaw / The Irrawaddy

School children go back to Myanmar across the border bridge before it closes. Photo and caption: Pyay Kyaw / The Irrawaddy

Our work building bridges across cultures, languages and perspectives is more urgent than ever before.

Learn more about Global Voices »

Donate now

Close