Everyday I learn a bit more about the Buddhist culture. As much as the urge to help in our way is strong and we see things through a western approach, it is so important to respect and understand their lifestyle.
The three of us wake up very early so that I can see the early morning alms. The Sayadaw leads the children as they walk, oldest first, carrying their alms bowls in front of them. The people in the town wait for them and place cooked food, fruit and flowers in the bowls. It is incredible to think that this is what they rely on for food. There is something so beautiful about the selfless and generous manner in which the people of Mawlamyine support the monastery
Dawn time on the streets is very atmospheric. As there are monks and nuns from all the monastries doing alms collection also. It was interesting to see that in the case of the nuns, the food they are given is raw.
Today is a beach day! This is the first year they are allowed to go swimming and we splash around for hours. The head monk sits by the shore reading his newspaper and it is so amazing how free spirited he is taking pleasure in seeing the children have fun.
After the swimming, Raoul organizes for the children to have a turn horseback riding along the beach. It is such a special moment as their faces brighten up with the thrill of adventure. At the end of the day, exhaustion hits everyone and all 17 of us pile into the big jeep with Raoul as the driver for the one hour journey back home.
At all times Min Min a friend my parents made during their first times to Mawlamyine accompanies us to translate as his English is quite good. During the long journeys we ask him lots of questions to ask the head monk to understand a bit more about their way of life.
When we arrive back to the orphanage we are greeted by all the other children who have such a happy way about them! You almost want to just hug them all. It's their turn to get a break from school and they walk us through the town back to the guesthouse causing lots of mischief along the way and drawing the attention of all the passers by.