Myanmar can be a breathtaking place.
But it also faces the challenges of reform after 50 years of military dictatorship. Development projects don't often benefit the majority. In one recent example, police fired phosphorus grenades at Buddhist monks who peacefully protested against a controversial, but lucrative, mining project.
Profits and poverty collide on the apocalyptic landscape left behind by a military-owned mine.
Poor villagers, like 15-year-old Ko Ko Aung below, mine the mountain-high pile of dirt to make a living. He has aspirations to become a doctor. “Inside the mine, they spray rocks with acid, the wind blows and the dust gets in our insides,” Ko Ko Aung says. “People here are so unhealthy and I would like to cure them.”
Democratic political leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent 15 of the past 21 years under house arrest, ended up defending the mining venture. Many felt betrayed.
As violence and cronyism continue to test Myanmar's reforms, many observers around the world are asking, between the people and the power, who will win?
Original video by Jonah Kessel/Gifs produced by Kyle Kim for the series Myanmar Emerges.