To Give Is To Receive (Day 4)

Yangon, Myanmar

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This post is the last installation for my volunteering trip to Myanmar and if you have missed the previous posts, here are the links – Day 1Day 2 & Day 3. This post is a long overdue post. I know I have been dragging it for too long because I did this Yangon trip in November last year which is half a year ago. Time is passing by way too fast! We are saying goodbye to May and welcoming June! I am quite glad to say that I have a good and peaceful year so far. 🙂

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We paid for this one day tour for only USD50 per person which is also inclusive of meals and entrance tickets.

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Our first stop was Chaukhtatgyi Paya. The Chaukhtatgyi Paya houses the huge Reclining Buddha. The Reclining Buddha has 108 sacred symbols on the soles of his feet which represent the animate world, the inanimate world and the conditional world. The essence is that the Buddha is greater than all the three worlds.

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Our second stop was Maha Pasana Cave (Great Cave). Despite the Great Cave’s name, Maha Pasana Cave is actually a man-made structure, built for the Sixth Buddhist Synod. It is a replica of India’s Satta Panni Cave, where the first Buddhist Synod took place.

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Our final stop was Shwedagon Pagoda. Shwedagon Pagoda is massive and the architecture is very impressive. This is the must-go attraction when you visit Yangon.

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The pagoda is covered with hundreds of gold plates and many jewels and diamonds at the top of the stupa. Jason and me did not take any picture together so  that explains this photo collage. Throughout our close to 5 years of relationship, we did not really take many photos together. I think we are…erm…lazy to take pictures. Lol!

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Depending on your birthday, devotees will choose one of this posts around the stupa and pour water above the marble buddha statues to offer their prayers. My birthday was on a Thursday and the symbol was rat. The number of times your pour water should correspond to your age plus one.

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I have not really explored our neighboring Southeast Asia countries so I am pretty glad to visit Myanmar though this volunteering trip with 5Cs. The next SEA country I would love to visit is Vietnam. I dunno when I am gonna visit Vietnam but one day I will…. 🙂

To Give Is To Receive (Day 3)

Yangon, Myanmar

Fullmoon

This is my third post on our overseas volunteering trip to Full Moon Orphanage and if you would like to read the previous posts, here are the links – Day 1 & Day 2.

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The children wore the same shirt on the third day of our visit. They looked so cute and the girls could’t resist taking a group picture with them. If you are wondering what is the yellowish-white paste applied on these kids’ face, it is called thanaka which is made from ground bark to provide protection from sunburn and promote smooth skin.

The children begin their morning worship singing as they gather at the common hall. The singing start off with a cheerful tone and halfway through the session (2:30min onwards) , the children raise their hands and some close their eyes to focus and sing. I am not a christian and I do not understand what they are singing. But…I am so moved. For some reasons, I really really really want to cry so badly and I struggle to hold back my tears. It feels like these children are making a humble plea to god, “please pick me up and hold me.” Every child in this orphanage has their own little story. I am not trying to be righteous but I must say for whatever reasons, it is still an irresponsible act to abandon your children in an orphanage. You have created a life…It is your responsibility to take care of your children, shower him or her with love and please don’t take away their rights to have a complete family. It is like taking away a piece of their life and it is never going to be complete again.

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The menu for lunch consists of rice, vermicelli, corn, eggs, mixed vegetables and hotdogs. These children has an amazing appetite and they ask for at least 2-3 times to refill the rice. It feels like they are stuffing themselves to eat as much as possible. I have no idea if they have enough food to eat everyday or if they get to eat meat in their diet. The villagers also come to the orphanage with big buckets to get free food. This makes me wonder that the children staying in the orphanage might be leading a better life than the villagers. A large population of the locals live in poverty and it is not unusual to see families living in self-made huts made with straw and wood along the roadside.

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Father Joe, the founder of Full Moon orphanage, bring some of us to a tour around the village. They have built a windmill to power electricity for the home and also grow their own food. To sustain the home financially, the older kids will go out and work to earn money

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Met this little girl in the village and she looked so cheeky in the second photo. My brother said this little girl look like me when I was small. I used to have such boy-cut hair style like her when I was in primary school. Do you think we kinda look alike too?

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The little girl hold my hands and followed us back to the home together with her brother. Heehee.. She likes me!

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Some photos of the animal that I took during the tour…

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Back to the home and we begin the “finale” of the night. Here is my boy Jason and he has a lot of fun with this toy gun. My little cutie is so cute! I am so glad that he is able to join me on this volunteering trip. Throughout the three days, we sweat so much under the burning sun but I enjoy volunteering with Jason because we can share this meaningful experience.

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It is an evening with dance and laughter! We have our “Super Gangam Boy” (the boy in black t-shirt) who led us to dance Gangam Style.

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The last activity of the night is Piñata. The children will take turns to hit the bag (full of candies) with a stick which is suspended from a rope until it breaks. The candies will then fall out from the bag. The children have some fun rushing to collect the candies.

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And it is time to say goodbye… We form a big circle and the kids take turns to shake hands and bid farewell to each and everyone of us. It is an emotional farewell with the kids saying, “Please come back again”, “God bless you”, “Hope to see you again”, “We will miss you”.

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Some of the children were teary-eyed and a few came to me and my boy to take photos. I really have no idea how we have impacted them but it was such a touching moment.

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Goodbye Is Always The Hardest To Say…

I was on the verge of tears but I tried my best to hold back. I didn’t want to let it be a sad goodbye. This home is a happy place and all these kids have so much fun playing, flying kites and running around freely. The kids stand along the road, wave and bid goodbye to us as our bus drives off. This must be the emotional goodbye ever.. And it hits me pondering what tomorrow brings for them after we have left.

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This volunteering trip to Myanmar with 5Cs is the most meaningful thing I have done with my boy. We were sunburned but it is all worth it to bring a smile on these kids’  face. This trip won’t be possible without the dedicated effort of the project leaders and 5Cs committee. They are really a great bunch of people! Kudos to them!

…..Dear God, Please Bless These Children.

To Give Is To Receive (Day 2)

Yangon, Myanmar 

It has been really long since I last update my blog. Not that I am busy with life, I am just a little lazy in updating my traveling experience. I am trying my best to find back the motivation to blog to keep these fond memories so that I can show my children one day, “Hey, your mummy has been to this and so and so country.”

Alright.. Back to my Myanmar trip.. On the second day, we went to the wet market to buy the some ingredients to cook chicken rice for the kids.

These fruits and vegetables are HUGE.

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There are many mosquitoes and so these kids have to keep fanning the chicken to keep these away mosquitoes away.

This is the kitchen in the orphanage and everything is very basic.

The children are happy because they receive some gifts from the sponsors.

And it is drawing time for the children! I like these Grade 1 children because they are the youngest and cutest in the home.

My two favorite cartoon character Mcdull and Doremon! 😀

This is drawn by yours truly, ME. HAHAHA! As you can see it yourself, I am really bad in art.

This is also drawn by me.

And I was a little surprised when she showed me her art piece. I didn’t know she has secretly followed me in drawing what I have drawn. They say a child express their thoughts   about life and emotions through drawing. I saw some drawings of a home and happy family by the children. My heart was aching a little.. I am sure there is no parents in this world who will want to leave their children and they must have their own reasons to do so.

She also tried drawing mcdull and doremon. Hehe! I think I have some “followers” in the home. HAHAHAHA… *Yah right*

You can be amazed by how talented some children are and most of them can draw better than me!

Our lunch – Chicken rice, one of our local specialties in Singapore cooked by our dedicated cooking team. 🙂

Toilets building in the progress for the home

We also held a game carnival for the children to play and win some gifts.DSC_2887

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Queuing up for the game

Haha.. I was really trying my best to hop..

To Give Is To Receive (Day 1)

Yangon, Myanmar

Day 1

Jason & Me 🙂

This is our 6th overseas trip together and I am really glad that my boy took out time from his busy schedule to join me on this meaningful overseas volunteering trip with 5Cs to Full Moon Orphanage. I have always wanted to join such overseas volunteering trips back in my school days and I finally got this checked off from my to-do list. 🙂

My dearest darling Jason 🙂
Me with the lovely children 🙂

Our lunch – Aglio olio. 🙂

Building the base for the toilets

One of our missions at Full Moon Orphanage is to build toilets for the children.

I set up the DVD player for the children to watch Tom & Jerry and it gathered so much attention from the children. There is NO TELEVISION, NO COMPUTER and NO INTERNET in this village. The home has to rely on solar energy for its source of electricity. Whereas in Singapore, children are so fortunate..so pampered..so sheltered..so protected.  Toddlers are already using iPad and you can be amazed how good they are with it and most of the primary school kids own the latest iPhone models, etc.. And over here, a small DVD player can bring so much joy to the children.

Watching Tom & Jerry 🙂
Cheeky boy

He is one of my favorite boys in the home and his nickname is cheeky boy. He likes to play with the volunteers and always give us a silly cheeky smile.

Cheeky boy and his handsome little good friend.

I made them do this heart-shaped pose for me. Heehee..

They are in “Grade 1” and they are the youngest children in the home. And of cos the cutest ones too. 🙂 The little boy with the red checkered shirt has a nickname from us and he is called boy gek (no teeth). Lol!

I love this pic a lot! Heehee.. I asked them to do this cute cute pose for me.

They are washing their hair with the anti-lice shampoo provided by the sponsors.

The Girls’ Dormitory

The children do not have proper bed and they have to sleep on wooden planks.

My boy is bringing his expertise to good use. 🙂