Inside Man

Adam Ferguson / VII for TIME

Deep in Burma's Irrawaddy Delta, the rhythms of Kyonku village echo from another century. Oxen and buffalo plow the paddies; women in sarongs smoke pipes and swat mosquitoes, which can carry malaria or dengue. Decades ago, ethnic Karen insurgents, one of dozens of tribal militias that battled Burma's long-ruling military regime, prowled the hills. Today the Karen rebels have laid down their arms. Instead, wild elephants roam, strolling after sunset and occasionally charging villagers in a fury of tusks.

The wooden house in Kyonku where Burma's 67-year-old President, Thein Sein, grew up...

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