It’s just the two of us, me and my daughter. Her father and I don’t speak anymore so we rely on each other. I’ve got this little stall in the middle of Namphan market and I make Shan noodles, tofu nway and malahinn.
I taught myself how to cook by watching my mother. Now my daughter who is 9 does the same. I can afford to send her to school and I remind her all the time she is lucky to be learning instead of working on her feet all day. But she has a kind nature and insists on helping me at every turn. She collects the water in the morning before school and when she comes home, she helps me prep the food for the next day. We sleep here, as we don’t have a home.
She used to stay with my brother but he has children of his own and it’s not easy for her. Children can be so cruel to each other sometimes. She is constantly reminded that her uncle is not her father, that she doesn’t know hers. It’s too unkind to leave her in that situation and to be honest I miss her so much when she is not around.
Of course it’s not the easiest being a single mother but I think it’s better than being with someone who does not appreciate you. We have a very basic lifestyle. We eat mostly vegetables and fish because the meat is for our customers. On market days, I can make about K20,000 profit and we live on half of that so it helps me save for her schooling. My daughter says she wants to be a teacher when she grows up, so that she doesn’t have to work as hard as me.
Nang Than Tin Shwe
Noodle stall owner