The Local: Little Mumma
The Location: Hsipaw, Myamar (Burma)
The Love: Growing produce to share
Let me introduce to you Daw Khin Myint Htay, also known as Little Mumma. Tucked down a hidden alley way on the back streets of Hsipaw, is what the westerners call Mrs Popcorns Garden. Under the big shady trees there are five or six bamboo chairs parked on the dirt, we sit here completely surrounded by her garden jungle, where she has lived for the last 30 years! Here sits a very proud lady with 5 daughters, 1 son and 13 grandchildren. Her family used to grow and sell popcorn to the passing monks and travellers who step down the winding path to reach the bamboo monastery, hence the name ‘The Popcorn Garden’. 5 years ago however, her husband passed away and the popcorn business fell through. So two of her daughters moved home to keep her company while the others stayed in Mandalay, a city 5 hours south west of Hsipaw. A few years ago after talking to some weary travellers she decided to set up a little cafe to offer a place to rest for those wandering to and from the nearby monastery. She now grows bananas, mangoes, passion fruit, lychee, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn and a variety of other fruit and veggies which she whips into a delicious wholesome home made feast for those passing through.
She tells us of the days she taught at the primary school, becoming the principal there for a few years. Her proudest moment, when one of her old students made it over to study in London! With promises to teach us how to make Shan noodles, a local meal, we return the next day. Ushering us into her kitchen where vegetables and spices are thrown together to form a mouth watering concoction. The walls lined with photos from her children’s graduation and filled with warmth and love. A women curious to hear of the tales from afar and keen to share the tales of her life with us all.