Events of Tuesday, 19th April 2016
I was a little restored by morning but I knew it would be a tiring day making presentations to the children attending Ko Dut DIC. Children were supposed to arrive at 8.00 a.m. but by 6.30 a.m. we could hear the excited chatter of early arrivals.Once we let the children in, the ground floor was soon crowded and the Doctor and I started distributing snacks, a school bag, exercise books, pencils, a short plastic ruler and pens, together with new school uniforms for the coming year.
The event, to which the children always look forward, was made extra special by a visit from the fairly young head monk from the local Buddhist monastery. He made a short speech of encouragement to the children and, after chatting with me in excellent English, left to carry out other appointments.
Presently, we all moved outside for the now traditional 'Group Shot' before the children returned to their homes using a variety of means (pedal bicycle, motor cycle driven by adult, motor rickshaw, pick-up or walking), all proudly carrying the items they'd received.
Ko Dut D.I.C. - The Group Shot.
The Doctor then had a meeting with the mainly female teachers and volunteers who run Ko Dut DIC.
We then drove to the smaller DIC at Lamine and repeated the performance. It might have been smaller, but our welcome was no less rousing and, as is customary, drinks, fruit and snacks were provided for the visitors. In addition to the distribution of school-related items, the Doctor made specific cash disbursements to alleviate hardship. It's sobering to note that a qualified teacher with up to 50 students may receive a salary of only 15 U.S. Dollars a month.
We drove to our last distribution of the day at another small DIC in the area. The benefits to these fairly remote country communities of the Drop In Centres should not be underestimated.
With the official business of the day complete, we drove to a large pagoda which Myint and Mi Mi had not previously visited. I'd visited the previous year so I could note progress, particularly on the large reclining Buddha image. I'm very conscious that I enjoy much better opportunities to travel around Myanmar that most local people.
Ko Dut is only a short drive from West-facing beach so another recent tradition is the celebratory evening meal on the beach to say "Thank You" to the dedicated staff and volunteers after admiring the sunset. Since the tide was out, it was possible to take motor cycles across the beach to a small monastery. Myint and Mi Mi were taken on one machine and Aung Ko Latt took me as pillion passenger on another. As I was wearing a traditional longyi, this involved riding 'side saddle', which I find great fun.
Finally, we all returned to Ko Dut in a good-natured convoy of a car and about ten Honda 'Wave' motor cycles. Once again, it was a night on the floor with another early start the following day.
Next post describing this trip.
All my posts on this trip can be found here.
More pictures will be posted as soon as possible.