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Humans of Wanderlust #18: Meinu from Tamu

Meinu is from Tamu village in Burma. He is 28 years old. He has a business of selling local items like handcraft, food and snack items. His shop is right outside the AungDawMu monastery in Tamu. He has been doing this business for five years. Earlier, he was a labourer in the Indo-Myanmar market which is near Gate no. 2.

Due to a language barrier, he couldn’t properly reply to questions and was feeling shy as well.


About his family in Tamu

He has a family that consists of his wife and his mother. He is the lone bread earner in his family. He recently got married about one year back. He lives in Yanglenphai area. Daily he comes cycling and sets up his shop outside the AungDawMu monastery.

About his profession in Tamu

Meinu has a shop outside the monastery where he sells stuff like food and snacks for the tourists. He also has interesting things like sandalwood and different religions items which interest the tourists who come to see the monastery.

“I did many small jobs to survive and help my family. I’m the only bread earner of my family. Therefore I had to do something. I was a labourer who used to work in the Tamu bazaar on daily wages. I worked as a labourer for more than 6 years of my life. Then after that, I worked in a restaurant as a cleaner but couldn’t go there because of some issue. Later, I asked my Guruji who is a lama in this monastery. He gave me permission to start a shop outside the monastery which can be a souvenir shop for the tourist. It’s been a few years now of me doing this business,” he said with pride.

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Has tourism made any changes in your life?

“My business is majorly dependent on tourism. Before starting this shop, many Indian as well as foreign tourists used to come and visit this village. The flow of tourists has been increased in the past five years. Later, I thought of starting a souvenir and snack shop outside the monastery to survive from my day to day life. I’m earning decent.”

Which kind of travellers visit this place?

“I have seen many Indians as well as foreigners coming here. Also, people from Thailand love to visit this place.”

What do you think about the future of this place?

“I think the tourism is increasing here which is good for people like me who are dependent on it so much. A lot of people come in the month of October and November. Mostly that time of the year, the season of this place starts. Many developments are happening due to incoming tourists. I think the place will be getting a much better response in the coming future,” he said.

Does this place get affected by rain or pollution?

“Yes, rains are the major problem in this area. Due to the forest, the places around it get heavy rainfall. Sometimes it rains too much and sometimes it doesn’t rain at all. The weather is quite different here. This year, the summer was hotter compared to past years. It was unbearable for us to roam outside. Somehow we managed and sustained. The tourism was also not that great this summer compared to past ones,” Meinu said.

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What do you think of technology? Is it a boon or bane?

“I really don’t use much technology. I live a life with basic amenities. I just have a radio to listen to music and the news and a small phone to call someone, that’s it. People around me have got big-screen phones and keep on using it for hours. Sometimes they even forget to do their work. It looks addictive. I’m happy with what I have,” he signed off with a smile.

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