A Buggy Night!
The morning we went to the Nyaung-U Market, we set sail afterward for Yandabo. I think it was just a place to stay overnight before sailing to our destination of Sagaing. That evening we noticed that there were more than usual bugs – we had seen them before but not in the quantity that we were seeing them now. It was almost time for dinner and since our room was at the end of the hall, we always took the back way – a shortcut to dinner – out on the back deck and down the stairs and we were there.
As we started to go out the back there were millions of those little white bugs around all the lights. We had to turn around and go the long way to the dining room. We sat in our usual place and noticed that the bugs were also coming into the dining room. Then the waiters started to tape up the door which led to the outside. Luckily, there were not any little bugs in our food. When dinner was over, I took my camera to get a picture. I saw hundreds on the doors leading outside. I took a photograph – you can see my reflection in the window. After that evening, we couldn’t go out on the balcony anymore as the ceiling and floor were inundated with those little creatures. We just had one more night on the boat so no problem. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any information about them on the internet.
Monastic Orphanage School
Since there were only four of us, we left early and went to this Monastic Orphanage School. It was the children’s day off from classes. Some kids were watching a big outside television, others were taking outside showers and washing their hair and a few were on the jungle gym. One student kept banging on a metal can and making as much noise as he could. There were several adults overseeing the group. We also took a look in their classrooms and they were pretty bare.
The Buddhist monastic school system in Myanmar dates back to the 11th century. In the past, they were the only source of education and gave Burma one of the higher rates of literacy in East Asian countries. Nowadays, the monastic system provides basic education needs for needy families and orphans. They supplement the government elementary schools for the poor and use the same fundamental curriculum. The operation and finance rely heavily on donations and collaboration from the public.
During my research, I discovered that the number of orphans is on the rise in Myanmar. A lack of understanding about contraception, greater social freedoms, and illegal abortion as well as the parenting culture are all contributing to the rise of abandoned and orphaned children. Extreme poverty is behind many of these cases. Parents send their children to orphanages thinking they will have better access to food, shelter, and education. Evidence shows that residential care has a detrimental impact on the physical and emotional well-being of children. There is quite a controversy concerning orphanage tourism. Most child protection experts are against it as they say the children should not be in orphanages in the first place, efforts should promote community-based family support programs instead of orphanages. After reading many articles, I agree with UNICEF that children are not tourist attractions.
After leaving the school, we headed toward the U-Bein Bridge. We came upon a group of nuns and I took some photos as we were passing by. Our guide made the driver stop so we could take the pictures.
Myanmar’s nuns are not actually ordained. They are called thilashin which means ethics and holder. Their daily life reflects a blend of religious studies, duties to the nunnery and often community work. It is common for young girls, whose family cannot support them to enter the nunnery. The nunneries rely solely on donations from the community for their every need.
Amarapura Textile Workshop
From here we drove on until we arrived at the Amarapura Textile Workshop where we saw weavers doing the painstaking work of making and designing silk products. The weaving industry is one of the main professions of the Amarapura people. Over 100 looms are used to obtain beautiful and unique designs and patterns. Silk is worn for special ceremonial celebrations.
We had an opportunity to look at the silk goods in the little shop. The prices were quite high but there were cute little bags and change purses that were affordable.
The next post is our final excursion from the Sanctuary Ananda – a visit to the famous U Bein Bridge which crosses the Taungthhaman Lake near Amarapura.