Birding in Burma

Partners Asia’s donor birding tour that took place in January to February 2013 produced over 200 different birds and a great deal of bonding with two distinct groups. One group came from the Seattle area and the other from the San Francisco area, with one stray from Portland/Hawaii.

Nancy from Berkeley with an old Chin couple in the hills of the Chin State. The men always carry a weapon and the women tattoo their faces.

Our two groups became one cohesive and compatible company very early on. We did bird-watching and touring in many different areas of the country including Yangon, Mt. Victoria (at 10,500 feet, the tallest mountain in Chin State, in the west of Myanmar), Bagan, Kalaw, and Inle Lake.

The Group looking for birds in a nature park outside Yangon.

The group divided for about five days when half went to Mt. Victoria where it was cold and half stayed in the Bagan area to tour. It was an adventure for me to look for birds and to go to Mt. Victoria for the first time.

We also visited a few of our projects around the Yangon area. We stopped by one of our local partner’s residence and drop-in center for orphans and women living with HIV, as well as a monastic school that another local partner works with, caring for over 600 children from all parts of Burma.

Sunset on the Irrawaddy river near Bagan.

Everyone enjoyed seeing the work of our partners and discovering some of the critical needs in the country. Many of the travelers have communicated to me how much they enjoyed the trip and that it was an experience of a lifetime.

Tragically, however, we also experienced a great loss.

On the last day of the tour back in Yangon, Doug Beighle was rushed to the hospital and passed away from a heart attack on the way there. He had not been feeling well for a few days, but no one imagined that he was in such jeopardy. Doug was always up for activities on trip and fully engaged. Everyone enjoyed his attitude about having a good time. With the help of Partners Asia staff, his spouse, Kathleen, stayed in Yangon an extra five days to attend to the details of Doug’s passing. A memorial service will take place on February 27 in Seattle. Doug’s family has set up a website in memorial that you can visit by clicking here.

We all have fond memories of Doug from the tour and will miss him dearly.

Hal Nathan
Chair, Board of Directors
Partners Asia