When he was a minister for social welfare in the ousted government, Dr. Win Myat Aye had a staff of 6,000 and a swanky office. Today, he is often on the move: sheltering in safe houses in Myanmar’s borderlands and eating uninspiring pan-Asian takeout in Washington.
“I am getting more and more energized with the moral standing of the right side,” he said.
Most days in Washington, Mr. Moe Zaw Oo, the deputy foreign minister, works from an oval table in the middle of the tiny work space. Ms. Aye Chan Mon sits at a little desk to the side, fixing his schedule and battling the printer, which, like printers everywhere, needs coaxing to do its job. She checks Facebook to see friends in the jungle fighting for democracy, as part of a loose coalition even more loosely affiliated with the N.U.G.
“We had dreams,” she said. “They were crushed.”
In some parts of Myanmar that are successfully resisting army rule — and such areas are growing with recent battlefield gains — the N.U.G. is providing health and education services, supplementing what ethnic armed groups have done for years. Funding comes from housekeepers in Bangkok, sushi sous-chefs in New York and tech entrepreneurs in Singapore, among others.
Dr. Zaw Wai Soe, the N.U.G.’s health and education minister, oversees schools and clinics, some camouflaged with foliage to avoid airstrikes. Once an orthopedic surgeon for Myanmar’s top generals, Dr. Zaw Wai Soe now dispenses telemedicine to N.U.G. fighters in the forest, squinting at the screen to examine war wounds.
“I was very rich,” he said. “Now, I know, we have to try something new. We need federal democracy. Otherwise, we cannot live together.”