Happy holidays and best wishes for a wonderful new year!
Every year, America settles down for a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving. This year, one of our former students, Thein Min Swe, had the privilege and pleasure to find himself in the US during this most festive time of year. Now at Harvard, pursuing a Master of Public Health, we caught up with him one Sunday afternoon to learn how he's doing.
Having the day off suddenly, I didn’t have anything planned and decided I should visit my local pagoda and take in the atmosphere. As luck would have it, the Shwedagon Pagoda is a brief 20-minute stroll through the People’s Park from my house. What better pagoda to have as your local for the celebrations.
I heard the trip to Man Aung Island is rough and was a bit concerned what I would do if the ship sunk in the sea.
After an early breakfast at a teacher’s house, we went to the 7 am meeting where the villagers were sitting under the trees near the monastery.
One of teachers from the village frequently phoned me to warn that I should come earlier as the sea waves were bigger in the evening.
When we discussed what my mum wanted to visit in Myanmar, I listed the usual tourist sights: Shwedagon, Bagan, Mandalay, and the Golden Rock teetering on a seemingly gravity-defying point. However, my mother wanted to get a feel for the Myanmar that I knew and worked with. So, we went to Yangon and to Sittwe.
A lot of monks teach in Myanmar; they typically have more education than lay people and they are more able to provide for those less fortunate than themselves. As we have mentioned; this is a country which gives the highest percentage of its income to charity. The charity being the thousands of monks (and to a lesser extent, nuns) in the country.
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