Dr. Hugh Thomforde recently finished his three week assignment with Farmer-to-Farmer in Burma (also known as Myanmar), where he conducted workshops for 101 farmers in four townships on water quality monitoring for freshwater fish and prawn farmers. While writing his end-of-assignment report he reflected on his time there, noting:
“This was my sixth volunteer assignment for the Winrock International Farmer to Farmer Program. I do a lot of preparation for these assignments, and so does Winrock. They provide excellent advance-planning and on-site support, and because of their efforts I have been consistently appreciated by the commercial fish farmers who have requested my professional assistance.
It was a pleasant surprise to arrive in Burma during the mango season. Almost every day I enjoyed fresh, sweet melt-in-your-mouth mangoes for the equivalent of 20 to 30 cents each.
Some fish farms where I conducted trainings had mangos growing along pond banks and I brashly picked fruit by myself, and rediscovered that the fresh-picked fruit ooze a sticky resin from the broken stem. But the fresh-picked flavor is many times sweeter! Taking a break today from my end-of-assignment report I walked to a fruit stand near the hotel. I futilely tried to select green fruit to take with me but the vendor insisted on choosing the biggest and ripest, always adding ‘one more’ to the agreed-upon price. ‘Doing my job!’ or ‘Helping you!’ I think he said, and I smiled and accepted.”
The Burma office will miss Hugh’s presence, and hopes that he will have the chance to return. Ce zu tin ba de, Hugh!