How would you paint your life, particularly your most difficult experiences? What colors and themes would you choose and why? During a recent art session at Metta Development Foundation’s PWID-friendly drop-in center in Kachin State, we asked participants to share their stories with us. We hope you will listen to their stories, too.
Back when my husband was using drugs, we were so desperate that we sold our house to buy drugs. I was really upset and always in tears. Now, thanks to methadone , we can make good use of our money and we don’t have to get heroin anymore. I wanted to express these experiences in my painting.
Drugs can drive us into deep trouble. That’s why I painted this image of us both sinking in a quicksand of trouble. Black and blue describe the troubles we were facing. Our neighbors took us to Metta and they helped him take methadone . Now, with our wages, we can buy rice, oil and other necessities. From the quicksand, there’s a white bridge stretching beyond it, meaning we walked away from our troubles. Drowning in the quicksand of drugs is expressed with black and blue, being able to stand on our feet is expressed with yellow. We don’t need to borrow anything from anyone. We can depend on ourselves without heroin.
I can’t really sing, but with painting, if I use certain symbols, I can express what I feel. It has lifted a burden off my shoulders. I feel really light right now and I can share this with others.
I'm sure wives of other drug users will feel the same way. I also want their husbands to take methadone and spend money for their families. I hope that a methadone project will be right here as soon as possible.
Currently we live at my mother's house. It's my wish to save money and build our own house.
Before drugs, I was quite sociable and had a lot of friends. I could go where I wanted. After being a drug user, no one cares about me. People criticize everything I do because of drugs.
All the things I have done come back to me in thoughts from time to time, but I have decided not to do bad things again. The message of my painting is to have sympathy for how I'm feeling.
Now, I make brooms from coconut raffia for Metta’s center.
This interview has been translated and edited. The views and opinions expressed within this interview are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of PEPFAR, USAID, UNAIDS, Community Partners International or Metta Development Foundation.
The UHF project is funded by USAID under PEPFAR through UNAIDS Myanmar and managed by Community Partners International. The UHF Project provides support to Metta Development Foundation’s drop-in centers in Kachin and Shan States.
 Methadone is used for opioid substitution treatment (OST). It is prescribed and administered at Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) clinics in Kachin State.
 Metta Development Foundation provides transportation support for clients in this project site to take methadone in Hopin. Due to the distance, however, some clients are waiting for the construction of an MMT clinic at a station hospital in this location. The clinic is expected to open within the next month. Metta Development Foundation will provide human resources support (two nurses) at the MMT clinic.