Beauty in Burma

I was in Burma (Myanmar) in November ’04. In Pagan (now Bagan) there was a very pretty young girl selling postcards at the Ananda Temple. She was appealing and vivacious without being pushy, so I not only bought a strip of postcards but took her photograph.

In the USA, a girl of similar age would have much to look forward to, but the Burmese have so little that I really wanted to, at least, make sure that this girl had a memento from her childhood to which she could look back in later years. As luck would have it, a friend in St. Helena, California, named Dauna Currie was headed for Burma at the end of December, so I gave her some enlargements of the photos with a request that she try to locate the young lady and give them to her.

She later told me, “Everyone of every nationality on our tour bus joined in the search.” They not only found the girl, whose name is Tashama, but Dauna was taken to meet her mom and her entire family.

Perhaps you’re wondering what Tashama is wearing on her face. The dried bark of the sandalwood tree is ground with water into a creamy, yellowish-white paste known as thanaka. Worn by many women and children, it is applied on the face in all sorts of artistic circles, stripes and patterns. It’s not just makeup; it also acts as a skin care product and protects the skin from sunburn.