August 08, 2022
Far Flung
Cultural Colors

We were nervous about visiting a military dictatorship, but the streets radiated joy

We’d gone to Myanmar to visit our Burmese friend Sammy, who is supposedly one of only nine Jews left in the country. His family runs the country’s last synagogue, Musmeah Yeshua. Though Yangon, the capital, can feel grim and militaristic, social vibrancy is everywhere.

We were a little nervous about the trip — the country is run by an isolationist military junta, and is best known in the West for its longtime detention of pro-democracy activist Daw Aung San Suu Kyi — but I’m glad we overcame our fears.

We spent two days in Yangon, visiting markets, Buddhist temples and the Musmeah Yeshua. I reveled in intoxicating smells and smiles. One of the most memorable places was the Shwedagon Pagoda. We went at sunset, and in the tranquility of being there, amid a sea of devout Burmese, I connected.

3 comments about “Cultural Colors”

  1. Marcia Frost says:

    Thanks for the great photo essay. I have friends who are extremely well traveled and considered Myanmar one of their favorite destinations.

  2. Sally J. Nelson says:

    I enjoy the way you find and share the joy & include the beauty of the Burmese amidst their troubles.

  3. Phill says:

    Great photo essay that caputures your experience well; I especially like the picture of the boy monks seeing their picture on the back of a camera.

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