Come and listen to Moira Fraser and Ross Becker talk about their extraordinary experience of living in Myanmar for three years.
Moira has worked as a consultant since 2012, interspersed with periods of full time employment. She specialises in continuous improvement of information, research and library services. While many of her assignments have been overseas she has also undertaken library and information services roles and completed information management assignments in NZ.
Ross is retired electrical engineer and was commissioned to be the official photographer of the Christchurch earthquakes in 2011 and 2012. Moira joined Ross in this work to digitally curate the photographs and facilitate their storage and access. Using their combined professional skills as photographer, librarian and engineer, they were able to create collections that identified changes of Christchurch over time.
Moira had worked in NZ Parliament and had several short term contracts working with Library and Research Services in Myanmar before the role evolved into 3 years working as an International Parliamentary Specialist.
The Parliament in Myanmar is located at Nay Pyi Taw, a relatively new city established by the former military government as the capital in 2006. Moira and Ross, as foreigners, were required to live in a hotel the entire time but say that riding their bikes to work each day past the paddy fields helped greatly with connecting with the locals.
"It was an extraordinary time to be working in their parliament as the promise of greater democracy and free choice of leaders was being realized."
The couple faced many challenges while living there and recall that they could only buy sim cards on the black market for $300, internet was intermittent and electricity was unreliable, especially in the rainy season. Postal services were haphazard with parcels sometimes taking months to reach them. When they first lived in Nay Pyi Taw, there were no international flights, despite it being the capital city of Myanmar but they say all these services steadily improved over the course of their stay.
Moira's work included creating a digital repository for parliamentary documents, creating an ICT strategy and building a data centre. The people of Myanmar are the country's greatest asset, she believes. They are mostly devout Buddhist and "demonstrate a warmth, tolerance and joyousness we haven't encountered at the same level anywhere else." she says.
Moira and Ross will be speaking about their Myanmar experience at Rotorua Library at
2pm on Saturday 15 June
and everyone is welcome to attend this free event.