Chapter 4: A Mood For Food

Our flight to Kalaymyo was delayed because of bad weather along our flight path! We were trapped in Yangon’s domestic airport! BUT, because of the flight delay, we were given free fried rice! According to Pastor Paul, it was the first time this had ever happened (the free food, not the bad weather). Food makes us happy by the way… Incredibly happy. Which is why the story is going to take a detour, and take a moment to talk about the elusive dishes that have captivated the team to this day.

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Food makes us Happy

First up, the soup of all soups… A thick broth imbued by thick chunks of layered meat. You’ll never be able to find ingredients to replicate anything close to this in Singapore. Plus, this was from a simple decent diner. You’d probably need to find some 5-star restaurant to have this here.

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Next up, it’s…. SPECIAL EGG (that’s really what it’s called on the menu)! A HUGE egg omelette peppered with meat and veggie pieces inside. It even had quail eggs by the sides together with its marvellous sauce.

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Oh special egg!!! Even our food extraordinaire, Joram-sy, could not properly deconstruct and remake it. To this day, we have tried and failed every single time trying to replicate this. Whether it’s getting the egg puffed enough or large enough… We just can’t. Alas, goodbye special egg.

Okay, that’s about  enough about good food – time to get back down to business.

A slight drizzle… No, the rain drops pelted us like bullets as we made our way across the tarmac to our propeller plane. The cold winds gushed as we entered the cabin. We felt like heroes. We were scared out of our wits. The monotonous hum of the engines buzzed the entire cabin as the propellors whirled to life… Here we go…

Next stop, Kalaymyo! Stay tuned for the next chapter!

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Chapter 3: The Series of Unfortunate Events

This is us at 7.30am. We’re at the airport and ready to go.

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We ate some breakfast and got onto our flight. Soon, we had landed in Yangon! There’s a time difference of an hour and a half so it felt like we earned a few hours.

As the day went on we were a little less chirpy than we were in the morning (refer to previous gif of smiling head bobbing jumping hair swinging us) as we encountered miniature setbacks through the day. In chronological order:

1) The one that started it all
We left a laptop on the aeroplane. A kind staff came chasing after us as we were going down an escalator. That escalated pretty quickly (heh).

2) Same same, but different
We reached our place of stay but realised we had made a wrong booking. There was a similar place with the exact name, but a few kilometres away. Nothing that couldn’t be resolved. The friendly staff took care of it pretty quickly. With a few calls from MJ we had it settled. We took down the address this time so that future teams would not have to repeat this mistake. Progress ya?

3) Same same, but different too
Dave realised that his luggage couldn’t be opened. It had an in-built number lock. Perhaps the lock was damaged… Not thinking too much about it, we headed out for our day’s activities. Later that evening, Dave noticed a sticker he never saw before on the luggage. Turns out someone had the exact same bag and took his by mistake. Same bag?! What are the chances? By now we were pretty jumpy because we would be on a domestic flight early the next morning. We made some calls to Jetstar and made our way down to the airport. The owner of the bag was contacted and agreed to meet us half an hour later. Phew.

4) Rain, rain, go away
Previously, we had thought the monsoon would only arrive two weeks later but the rain had pretty much hit Yangon already. If the weather kept up, our efforts to reach the villages over the week might be hindered. We checked an aviation site and found huge clouds making their way toward our destination. Still, we were hopeful. A weatherman is wrong 90% of the time, yet everyone still listens to him.

We practised for our programme the next day and ended the night with prayer flying ants whizzing around the dark room. But it’s all right. It’s all right.

Click here to read Chapter 4: A Mood For Food

Chapter 2: Meeting The Team

After the breaking news that we were going to Kalaymyo for a disaster relief trip, the team was assembled. There would be ten of us… Other than Gwen, MJ and myself, it would be the first mission trip for the rest. Look at our excited faces!

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(From left to right. Top: Dave, Ming Jian, Joram, Me, Marcus, Bottom: Gwen, Tick, Leon, Daniel, Brendan)

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All ready to fly off. 

First up, we had to ready all the logistics required for the trip. We would be sending rice and cooking oil to the villages – but those would be acquired when we’re there. As we heard we would see many children in the villages, we had to pack candy, and clothes for them. Also, we would prepare a programme for all of them! (:

We found a supplier for sweets, and got some huge Alibaba (China) bags to bring everything over. Apparently, rolling the clothes would save a lot of space, so we got down to rollin’ them all.

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They see me rollin’, they hatin’~

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Just keep rollin’ rollin’ rollin’…

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Wait a minute, who does this belong to? (Haha, we didn’t bring it over, if you’re wondering)

In less than a week, we had strung everything together.

Equipment check. VISAs check. Flight check.

WE WERE FINALLY READY.

That Sunday morning, we gathered, ready to go…

Then…

Click here to read Chapter 3: The Series of Unfortunate Events

Chapter 1: The Mission Brief

“Hey Mong, would you be free to join a mission trip this month? It’s for disaster relief…”

My mind paused for a second after Megan asked me the question.

Wow yes, of course!

And that was that…I headed home that night, with a skip in my step. Excited and expectant for the trip to come, I made a mental checklist of things I’d need – boots, water repellent (that’s right), compass, and a trusty Swiss Army knife… And it probably wouldn’t harm to have a solar powered battery charger too. Okay Mong, don’t overdo it.

In two weeks, the rest of the team would be assembled. A week after that, the ten of us would be on the plane bounded for Myanmar…

Click here to read Chapter 2: Meeting The Team