A local monk decided to send me and my students to the monastery farms and pick some vegetables. We should have started right after breakfast. It has been raining since morning (as unusual, it is the rainy season). Everybody was skeptical that we would not go anywhere but we went despite the rain. The farm was about 10 minutes away by car. Fun was that we didn’t go by bus but lorry and you can guess where we were sitting…. In the cargo space.
After arrival, the head monk told us about the farm. The monastery owns the farm since 2003. It has an area of 16 acres. They grow there local vegetables and fruits such as beans, corn, potatoes, red bamboo, cabbage, morning glory, dragon fruit and many more. We had to collect 12 bags of morning glory and 10 bags of beans. It took us less than 2 hours. Then we loaded all the bags and went to the nearby well to wash ourselves from mud
On the way back I sat in the cabin of the lorry with the head monk, with whom we switched a few words in his lama English. He offered me boiled red corn (it was delicious).
Of course, monastery farm is not enough to feed the 1,200 people living in the monastery. The main source of obtaining food for the monastery are donations. Donations from various donors and surrounding villages. Every morning the young monks go to 4 nearby villages where the locals will contribute to monks what they grow or cook. It’s mostly rice.
In Myanmar, this is quite normal and traditional to always give monks at least something.