Relationships through Cliff Jumping

There is a village we spend a lot, I mean A LOT of time in from January to June, because its the community that is host to an incredible waterfall adventure that MAO operates. It also happens to be the time of year when the kids have time off school, so more time to come and hang out. When we show up, the kids start chattering and by the time we are ready to guide people down to the falls, a group has formed who both participates in and brings joy to both us and our clients. Our guys have become like heroes for these boys and young men, and have an open door to influence them positively. Lots of young men end up using and becoming addicted to drugs in Northern Shan, as this region is a source of a large amount of production, so we are trying to develop opportunities to influence this younger generation to make wise decisions with their future. A lot of them now want to be guides because the men they look up to work with MAO, and guide in their backyard waterfalls, so we need to capitalize on this relationship capital and start investing in these kids so that they make the foundational wise decisions now to stay committed to school, keep away from drugs and addicting substances, so that in the days of their youth they can pave the way for a future. We are right now in the discussing stage of creating a young men’s group that meets a couple times a month, but have yet to set a plan in motion.

Just on the edge of their village drops a waterfall that we’ve coined Dark Horse Falls, as we feel like it is a dark horse favorite for best waterfall in Myanmar. We’ve compiled a video titles Dark Horse Men to celebrate our MAO guys insanity and the courage of the young generation in the village.

Our Myanmar Adventure Outfitters crew has lots of fun engaging with the local kids and pushing our boundaries and skills. 2019 season is coming to a close as the rains come, so celebrating with this cliff jumping edit.

Moving Forward...Slowly!

Photo courtesy Chris Sinclair

Photo courtesy Chris Sinclair

Our heart is to create impact in our community through adventuring in the communities along the Burma Road and bringing new opportunities to the people in these isolated areas.  I just returned from Thailand, where I could speak Burmese with so many people, evidence of the mass exodus of Myanmar's people looking for job opportunities abroad.  Hopefully in their risk of seeking employment in another country, like Thailand, China, India, Malaysia or Singapore, they find good work, where they get paid justly and are not mistreated, but that is the exception and not the rule.  Our vision is to create jobs in rural Northern Shan State, where education and employment is limited, resulting in great risk for a job abroad, leaving family members behind, and potentially risking their safety for a chance at a better life.  Trafficking, forced labor and prostitution, unpaid wages, human slavery, forced marriages to Chinese men...these are all common potential outcomes for people from Shan State living abroad.    

Myanmar Adventure Outfitters will make impact, but getting there is a slow process in starting up, and jumping through all the hoops.  Merely the legal process has taken us nearly 6 months to start the business and we are not done yet. We are on location now, and can start to develop the business, what we will offer, and make connections in communities outside of Lashio where we will take travellers. But to do this right, to really honour the people, it takes time to build relationships where they are valued the way that they deserve, and not just used for our benefit.  Everything seems to happen slower in Myanmar. Even wire transfers, which has taken now 3 weeks to transfer, and has still not arrived. We are ready to start moving forward, purchasing equipment, developing our service, but are at the mercy of a slow system.

To those who are following us, we hope to represent more than just the beauty of our area through our Instagram and Facebook feeds, and in the next couple months we hope to start offering travellers a small sampling of the service we will develop as relationships form, and through this to make economic and social impact in the region.