Last year, journalists Thin Lei Win and Kelly Macnamara gathered oral histories from people all over Myanmar. In our series "Untold Stories," they spotlight some of the women they spoke to, many whose experiences living under military rule have been largely ignored.
It was a wet afternoon in the Naga Hills, an autonomous region in north Myanmar, and the sprightly grandmother we were interviewing had just, unexpectedly, begun to sing in a beautiful a cappella.
Makui Lainyu’s haunting melody lamented the loss of Naga tribal culture. Her song is one that few people have heard outside her remote homeland.
We were mesmerized – and delighted to be able to record the impromptu performance as part of our first trip for The Kite Tales, a project to record Myanmar’s untold stories.
But the two most rapt faces in the simple wooden home were those of the elderly woman’s teenage granddaughters. They told us afterward that they had never really spoken to their grandmother about her life – so how could they have known that her experiences had helped shape their futures?