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The Wa of Myanmar

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146 pages
Located in the Golden Triangle, and one of the most remote and closed-off areas of Myanmar, Wa Special Region 2, was and still is, closed to tourism and almost all visits of any kind. I was privileged to live and work there for three years as the manager of the Wa Alternative Development Project (WADP) implemented by UNODC. The main focus of the book will be to show the life of the people, including the Wa and the other ethnic groups living there. Topics such as poppy cultivation and the Wa Army are also covered. Particular attention is paid to critical time when opium cultivation was successfully banned in 2005 and how this affected the way of life of the people.
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THE WA OF MYANMAR
THE WA OF MYANMAR Ronald D. RENARD – Historian Xavier BOUAN – Agronomist / Photographer
© INDIGO & Côté-femmes éditions, 2016. 5-7 rue de l’Ecole Polytechnique, 75005 Paris editions.indigo@gmail.com http://www.indigo-cf.com ISBN : 978-2-35260-130-2 EAN : 9782352601302
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS..............................................................................................................................................7PREFACE.........................................................................................................................................................................9INTRODUCTION: Who are the Wa?...................................................................................................................... 11WA SPECIAL REGION 2 LANDSCAPE ............................................................................................................. 31ETHNIC GROUPS IN WA SPECIAL REGION 2 ............................................................................................. 67OPIUM POPPY CULTIVATION............................................................................................................................ 99OPIUM CONSUMPTION IN WA REGION..................................................................................................... 115UNITED WA STATE ARMY................................................................................................................................. 123ABOUT THE AUTHORS ....................................................................................................................................... 1427
PREFACE
Xavier Bouan
Located in the Golden Triangle, and one of the most remote and closed-off areas of Myanmar, Wa Special Region 2, was, and still is, closed to tourism and almost all visits of any kind. However, from 1998 to 2008, the Wa Authority, headed by Bao Yu Xiang, granted access to the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) to develop health and education services as well as to provide alternative and development livelihood inputs to the seven ethnic minorities still cultivating opium poppy (until 2005 when it was effectively banned). I was privileged to live and work there for three years as the manager of the Wa Alternative Development Project (WADP) implemented by UNODC. I was the only foreigner in a 200-kilometer-radius, which gave me an amazing opportunity to witness the day-to-day life of the Wa as well as of the Lahu, Akha, Palaung, Shan, Akheu, and Lisu. It rapidly became clear to me that my mission was twofold: support the economic development of this extremely poor region, and pay tribute to those traditions that might, in the long run, be threatened by that very economic development. I first met Ronald D. Renard when I hired him as a consultant in 2003. After 2 years of ad-hoc consultancies. Ronald replaced me as WADP manager from 2006 to 2007. Although the original idea of this book came from my desire to share the numerous pictures I collected over the years, Ronald soon came on board and his passion for the history of ethnic groups fueled us both. Sadly, Ronald passed away before we were able to finish the book. The main focus of the book will be to show the life of the people, including the Wa and the other ethnic groups living there. Topics such as poppy cultivation and the Wa Army are also covered. The textual portion of the book covers the area’s geography and history. Particular attention is paid to the critical time when opium cultivation was successfully banned in 2005 and how this affected the way of life of the people. 9