Mae sot and "the children of the dump"

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May 7th 2010
Published: May 7th 2010
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I recently went to Mae sot and took an unusual tour - of the garbage dump. Mae sot is a border town with Myanmar (Burma) and there are several "refugees" living there; Burmese, Nepalese, Indian .... I heard about a garbage dump near Mae sot where a few refugee families live on the dump and thought it would be interesting to visit them. I drove around for about 3 hours trying to find the dump and by the time I found it the sun was setting. There were a few kids and their parents going through some garbage when I arrived. The situation seemed pretty grim - kids covered in flies eating food they found. In hind sight I should have hired a Burmese speaking guide so I could ask the people at the dump some questions. I took a few shots but there wasn't enough light so I returned the next morning.

The next day I noticed that there was a well at the dump (I believe an Italian Aide agency provided it) so the people there had "clean" water. After spending a few hours taking pictures and "interacting" with the people I stopped at a small "shop" at the dump to get some bottled water. I noticed that there was a school there and there were many kids running around laughing and playing (which was a better sight than the night before). A burmese man, who turned out to be a teacher at the school came out to talk with me. We went in the school and I met the principal and we chatted for awhile. They said that a Burmese organization funded the school. I know that there is a Burmese Dr. in town who provides free medical care to refugees. Here is a link to more photos from the dump as well as some shots from "town"

I wondered what these people would think if they lived on a garbage dump in the US - TVs that worked, refrigerators and stoves that work, bicycles, packaged food, good clothes ...

Im going to keep this blog very short. I'll be hitting the road tomorrow and will leave thailand on Sunday going to China via Laos, I sure will miss having a room with A/C.

Until next time - check out my "updated" website and let me know what you think: f o t o s by D a v i d

Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 23


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A young girl digs through garbage looking for broken glass
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these two little guys were crying for their mother
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this little girl was busy "playing"
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a young worker takes a rest

7th May 2010

Do an in depth story
Hey Dave. Why don't you do an in depth story about the life at the dump and get it published? Seems like a good subject.
7th May 2010

Great destination!
Thanks for sharing this side of Thailand with me. Most people only see protests, beaches and red light district on the magazine and news. Very insightful!
8th May 2010
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awesome and shocking
Yo cuz - gotta say this is some of your most compelling work to date. Man you do cover all in your trek. Here's wishing you a safe passage into China and be safe.!! Our pal "lake' Mike, has a couple future daughter's :) headed u way and they would like to meet up with you in their trek. I'll see your mom Sunday - Moms day and will send a kiss from you. -- Keep up the great work and will touch base soon thru skype -- Cuz Dave
8th May 2010

Thanks for sharing the blog
Those pictures are so heartwarming...I am celebrating Mothers Day with healthy kids and little Grand babies and it breaks my heart for these little ones... As long as they are loved... they will survive... its amazing what you are seeing- and experiencing- I am sure it has changed your life... miss seeing your cute face... be safe!!!
9th May 2010

Hello David, Wow I don’t know what to say, I’m speechless. The photographs of the dump are absolutely captivating. It’s mother’s day and my heart goes out to those mothers. What I also find so moving is that you captured hope in what looks like such a hopeless situation that most of us couldn’t fathom. I would never expect there to be smiling bright faces living in such disparity. I wish I could steal the little boy in the blue tee he’s beautiful.
16th May 2010

your pictures should be shown on our tvs. like they show in aferica leaves one sorta of wow glad there were some people there to help
21st May 2010

There is also a documentary about this garbage dump:

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