First impression from Phayathauang Monastery

We reached the monastery after travelling about 15 hours with bus from Yangon. The monastery was pleasant to me right from the start. The whole complex is situated on top of a small village. Just next to the monastery gates is a kindergarten, elementary school and high school. The central point of the monastery is the pagoda, around which are scattered smaller buildings. Most of the buildings serve as accommodation for students. And in front of the pagoda is a covered space with tables and benches as a dining room.

Upon arrival we were accommodated. I’m accomodated in a room above the library with 6 other people. It is just big enough to fit 8 sleeping pads on the floor next to each other. The room is full of lizards at night. I counted at least 10 at walls.

On the day of our arrival we had a local orientation, where they showed us the monastery area and the surrounding village. In the evening we were introduced to the highest monk. Older man really tall for an asian around 60.

I slept the first night very pleasantly. Compared to Yangon, in Shan State is a milder climate, less humid and a little cooler. At 4:00 am I was immediately woken up by praying monks, novices and nuns who shout their prayers in a nearby pagoda. Subsequently, students woke up which did not let me sleep because their memorization. I was worn by my organization that the way students learn here is different than in Europe. And around 5:00 normally everybody wake up here because before 6th starts breakfast.

The food here is delicious, much less oily than in Yangon. They serve mainly vegetables with rice. Sanitary facilities are outside the accommodation. About 10 meters. There are Turkish toilets flushed with a bucket as well as a bucket of water instead of toilet paper. (I don’t get used to that, so I’ll use a ceramic toilet at the clinic. The showers are next to the toilets. So the washbasins are referred to as showers. For showering you have to use a bucket and the water is refreshing. Showering naked is forbidden and we have to wear longy or bermuda by showering. Slippers are unacceptable and too revealing.

This is are my first captions from the first few days.


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