Chochi belongs to Tamu village in Myanmar. He is 29 years old and does auto driving to help his family financially. Being the eldest son in the family, he has a responsibility to support his family in bad times. Due to this, he couldn’t finish his education and became a rickshaw driver at 24.
He has two siblings, a younger sister and brother. His mom and dad run a local grocery shop in Tamu village. He supports his family financially and he wants to make his little brother and sister educated persons so that they can live a better life in the future.
When did you start your profession?
Chochi drives his auto around the little village of Tamu. Being the hot spot of tourists, he gets enough tourists for the day where he can earn his bread and butter.
“Initially, I used to help my parents in the grocery shop we have. But the earnings were not much, so I decided to buy an auto and do a local tour around Tamu for the tourists. I’m driving since five years in Tamu and know the place in and out. It gives me a sufficient amount to sustain my daily life. I believe anybody can survive if they choose to hustle and that’s what I did to get over the bad times,” he said of how he started.
How has tourism in Tamu helped you in growing?
“Tourism was always a part of this border village. Since childhood, I saw many people coming from India and roaming around the village. When I got the chance, I bought an auto on credit from one of my friends and started driving around Tamu. Tourism is increasing day by day. Initially, I used to do only one trip in one day. Now the demand is that high that I do two trips around Tamu for local sightseeing. Tourism also helped me to learn and speak new languages,” he said with a smile.
Chochi knew only Burmese language but in time, he got to learn English as a language to communicate. He added, “Hindi a little bit I knew but that wasn’t enough to communicate. Now I can speak the English language and talk to people about the place. I also got knowledge of the outside world. Tourism has helped me in many ways to develop as a better person.”
What kind of travellers do you get and have you met some interesting person?
“Mostly Indians come nowadays. Foreigners come less to this part. They roam around Myanmar and at last, they come here to Tamu. People from Kolkata come here more often. I met one family who was from Kolkata and they often come to meet me and my family. They even stayed with my family for more than a week,” he remembered fondly.
What do you think of the future of this place?
“I think this place will see more people coming and exploring the village. People loved life in Burma and they even visit it twice. More and more homestays are developing in my village for travellers to come and stay. Let’s see if the government allow travellers to come and stay for a longer time. Sadly, many illegal activities are also happening from this route. The government needs to make an initiative to stop this. My only concern is for tourism in this area, it shouldn’t be affected with these activities or else it will affect our lives,” he said.
Are there heavy rains and pollution in this area?
“Rains are the problem sometimes. We tend to build many options to sustain from heavy rains but can’t do much due to fewer funds. Luckily, the air is good and still untouched by pollution. It shouldn’t be that commercialized to make this place change a lot. All I hope is that this place remains pure like how it is now. Only more amenities should be provided by the government. Rest is all good.”
How is the technology in this area? Is it a boon or bane?
“Technology has changed a lot here. Many people are using digital service to connect and get knowledge of the world. Electricity is the issue in this part because maintenance from the government side is not proper. It needs more attention compared to now. Still, the village gets enough electricity at night. Mobile towers have been installed here. Five years ago there was nothing. I really hope the usage of technology is in control or else it will take over the traditional way of living.”
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