Burma – Men at Work

The Yangon River serves a main transportation route from Yangon to the sea as well as upstream to the North…

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From downtown Yangon you have access to numerous jetty´s , where boats leave for the North via the Twante Canal or just cross over the river to the other side. Late afternoon everybody was busy to load the ship anchored on one of the jetty´s.
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A group of young men on top of the roof came to my attention, not only because some were spitting out the kunya (betel nut) so many Burmese are chewing.
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It turned out that they were part of a group of day workers who were bringing steal beams onboard. The really heavy ones for construction. Which I found amazing, because one would think that such kind of materials would be transported via roads. A secondly, no one would have the idea in our countries to carry them by hand. But it was different here.

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The beams were unloaded from a truck and shouldered by several men.
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None of them were wearing gloves or safety shoes as the walked towards the ship.
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The weight each of them has to carry is written on their faces.
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The challenging part now was to push and pull the heavy steal beam on top of the roof of the ship.
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Job done ! And then to the next beam. They loaded 6 beams and other steal material on board. The guys on the boat had the easier part and took a break to have some chicken sticks.
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I learned later during my trip that street workers (pavements) are paid 4 USD per day. So the payment here must have been similar or lower. That´s why I felt those folks deserved a blog.

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The loading continued with other items like rice bags. I post this picture because of the man in “uniform” who holds a book. He was taking money from various people and taking notes in his book. To me in was unclear if he belonged to the port authority or was from the tax collecting agency. But anyhow, no receipts were handed out. So most likely a case of the widespread corruption..

The sunset of course was marvelous. And some of the passengers crossing the river very pretty.men at work-28
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