Burma

Burma’s War

Since you don’t have a house, or a kitchen, or a pot anymore, you can soak rice in green bamboo stalks for half an hour, then roast the bamboo over a fire until it’s cooked. Or you can soak the rice in your longyi—Burmese sarong—for an hour, bury it a foot under the ground, then build a fire on top, which will steam the rice in about fifteen minutes, and which is really handy when you don’t know how long it will be before you have to start running again. When the rice gets low, you’ll eat rice porridge, and soon, when things get really desperate, rice soup. This, again, is all assuming you’ve got access to that rice. Or fire. Or, for that matter, water. And that it’s nighttime, since cook smoke can be seen by government troops during the day, so it’ll give away your hiding place. You’ll probably have to scavenge, looking for bamboo shoots, mushrooms, trying to eat bark, but it really stresses you out, since you know a lot of people step on landmines this way….

Mac McClelland, For Us Surrender is Out of the Question—A Story from Burma’s Never-Ending War, 2010

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