We woke early today and have our breakfast. Jacques made blueberry muffins in a big frying pan for us all. We then set off for our hike to the orphanage. Alison and I started right into working on the mural. We needed to get everything ready for the kids to do their part. The new preschool students (all 40 of them) were studying in the main hall because they don’t have a classroom so they study outside. It had rained the night before so it was too wet and cold for them to sit outside. We decided to have them be our first group of artists. We took 2 students at a time made them go to the new sink with fresh clean water and wash their hands first. We then put them each up on a ladder, painted one of their beautiful hands and had them make 3 hand prints as leaves on the tree that is the centerpiece of the mural. This activity mesmerized, tickled and overjoyed the young students. All of our fellow workers quickly entered the room and were snapping pictures like crazy. It was joyous chaos and I am so happy I was fortunate enough to be there to share in it. After we finished with the preschool students the school broke for recess. Well the word about the mural and the student’s part in it spread like wild fire. The other 140 students were trying to rush the doors to the room. The cook had to swat them away with a stick! We decided we could not make them wait any longer so if they lined up and behaved each one would have a turn at adding to the mural with their hand print. As is the custom here, the boys were first in line. The other student peered through the windows and egged on the painters. The line seemed to go on forever. Finally after about 3 hours of doing students, teacher, cook, water boy and monk hand prints our magnificent tree was done. It was majestic and silly all at the same time. We finally made the trek back to the guest house at 6:15.
I was so excited to grab a quick powerbar, was up and hit the sack. Scott showed up about 20 minutes later and informed us that we were invited to dinner at the head monk, PaiJai’s (pronounced pay jay) house at 7. I would have skipped it but how often do you get invited to dinner at the home of the Head Monk of an entire Monastery and orphanage? Not too often so I cleaned my face, picked myself up and followed the crowd.
PaiJai’s house was humble but beautifully adorned with
Buddhist art. He made us a simple meal of tea with sugar and yak milk, Ginseng in Yak Butter sprinkled with raw sugar, homemade Yak yogurt, and a soup consisting of Yak, Bokchoy and hand ripped pasta (kind of like gnocchi)…yum! I tried everything and all I can say is thank God I only have of live here for 6 days of my life. This diet is better than Isagenix, South Beach or Weight watchers. Someone should come up with a diet plan where they ship you off to some remote village and only let you eat the local fair, in my case yak. My pants are already falling off of me.
I don’t mean to sound ungrateful the evening was surreal. The conversation was lively and informative. We did not talk anything about politics as this is not why we are here. We are purely on a humanitarian mission to help the children here. Paijai’s generosity was heartfelt. He opened up his private prayer rooms to us to go inside and see. We all felt so honored. As a parting gift he gave each of us a bracelet of prayer beads. He said because of what we are doing here all of the monks will pray for our safe journey home and each time we place these beads under a Buddha statue our prayers will be answered.
It was an awesome day. I am going to sleep now. Good night you all!