Hser (Facial Mass)

Hser is a 1-year-11-month-old boy with a large mass on the right side of his face and neck. His family lives in Hteet Moo Hta village in Myawaddy district. His parents were rice farmers but make their living as day laborers. His mother currently does not work as she is busy caring for him and his younger sister.

Hser’s family has been affected by the military conflict in Burma. For the past three years, his mother reports, the DKBA has come to their village and burned everyone’s rice crop stores. The DKBA did this as punishment. The DKBA claimed that the village was unfairly paying tribute to the KNU and SPDC while not paying anything to the DKBA. As a result of the hardship induced by having their entire crop burned and having to pay money to the various armies, about 35 families in the village, including Hser’s, had to move to a neighboring village. Hser’s family, previously living in their own large house, now lives in a much smaller structure in the new village. Ten people are in the household. Unable to rely on their crop for food, the family must now work as day laborers to earn money to buy rice. Sometimes what they make is enough, but often it isn’t.

Hser’s mother first noticed her son had a problem at birth. There was a small lump on his face that was visible that has since gotten much bigger. No treatment has been sought for Hser until now due to fear of not being able to afford it. He is not in pain and is eating and sleeping well but his mother is worried. Hser’s grandmother urged his mother to bring him to the Mae Tao Clinic to get help, as she had come to the clinic several times. It cost Hser’s mother 3,500 kyat (US $3.50) and 40 baht (US $1.30) to get here and took two hours to walk from her village to Myawaddy and then wait for transport across the border.

Hser’s mother just wants her son to get better. She will be happy when he is healthy. She does not know what she will do if he is not treated.