From Full Moon to Full Moon
Trip Start Oct 21, 2009
5Trip End Jan 17, 2010
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I ran into some of the younger school children and their parents, who shily said hello and waved. I felt privileged to be able to access what to me, as an outsider, felt like a private part of their social and religious lives. As the rain began to descend upon us once again we made our way to see the head monk and some of the younger monks in the temple. D introduced me, and I was kindly allowed to take some photos of them. One of the youngest boys, of roughly 10 years of age, almost mechanically posed for a picture by standing up straight and looking into my lens; apparently a lot of people came to take his photo, but he complained he never got to see one. I will print mine out and give them to him as soon as I can. I'd also like to bake the kids a cake, it seems parents and family bring them sweets and food, so I thought that could be my thank you. Before leaving I sat in front of the head monk and as he tied some white cotton thread around my right wrist he chanted some words in Pali, a blessing it seems. I was very honoured and on my way home, I couldn’t help but have a little spring in my step as I walked along the railway lines, having been part of such a beautiful and humbling experience that for me, went far beyond religion.
November 4th was the celebration of the death day of the school’s founder, marked by no lessons, chicken curry and ice cream for the kids, a Buddhist ceremony, and finally an opportunity for me to wear a sari. The kids get one free meal a day at school (rice and curry), usually consisting of rice and vegetables and sometimes a little bit of fish. Chicken and ice cream create great excitement (not least on my part). Having bought what I thought would be a plain dark purple sari, I discover with horror once the little top is made for me that infact I look like what I imagine a cheap copy of Kingfisher Airlines airline crew would look like
Do not be fooled by the apparent lightness of the cotton, once you are wearing an underskirt and have been wrapped in 6mt of fabric, any potential ventilation is gone. As usual i was the only one sweating, as the kids sat there in their prim pressed white uniforms.