July 27, 2008

Letpadaw (လက္ပန္ေတာ in official Burmese spelling) is a small village of about 200-households, as you can see over from the Google satellite image below. Letpadaw, letbadaw, or Letpandaw, whatever the Englishing spellings varies, it is a small farming village beautifully situated in Yinmabin Township, Sagaing Division. It is 7 miles away from Yinmabin, about 20 miles away from Monywa.

Yama Chaung, or Yama stream, or river, as it can be seen in the image, circles the place and its farm in U-shape, creating massive fertile sand and soil land along the riverbanks for us to grow every crop or vegetable during the all seasons. During the raining season, from June to September, it swells waters reaching the hard banks of both sites with massive waves. Taking its current and flow, forestery department in upriver areas used to transport big teak logs along the river to Kyaukmyet, a village at the meet with Chindwin river, opposite of Monywa.

My parents and their ancestors came from large traditional farming families living in this place for unknown generations. My dad and mon, now at their early 60s, still live in one of a small teak houses in the village.

People in Letpadaw generally are farmers who grow beans, pulses, peanuts, onions and sometimes wheat. A few make their living by trading, cow-farming, palm-sugar production or fishing in the river. We have a monestery and 13 white pagodas of early Konbaung era on a hill in the middle of the village. It is just a typical upper Burmese village. But we do not have an elementary school, a health clinic or good sanitation. We drink water from the stream by hand-make wells on the riverbank. Electricity and telecommunications are things in heaven.

Letpadaw in British Governemt's Upper Burma Gazetteer (1901)

Letpadaw in British Governemt’s Upper Burma Gazetteer (1901)

I was born and raised in this village, and I lived here until I was 18 years. I moved to Mandalay in 1991 when I was at final grade in high school. Since then, Letpadaw was just a summar vacation place. But the place and childhood life are so pressed in my memory in detail.

I hope to write some stories of my childhood and post some pictures occasionally in this blog.

Thank you for visiting anyway.