Mandalay – Our Third Workshop

Our Third Workshop

A young monk elementry teacher acts out the story for the other participants. Gayle sits on the floor to the left. (Picture from Thant Thaw)

Our third workshop was held at the Phaung Daw Oo Monastic High School in Mandalay. Here nearly 6000 students receive education completely free of cost, courtesy of a number of donors both within and outside of Myanmar.Ven U Nayaka is the principal. The workshop went very well in a large room at the top of a classroom building. The school area was in some ways like a small town, a village enclosed by a wall with dormitories for students and teachers.

Soccer playoffs for both students and teachers were happening outside the building. These went on the entire time we were there, even during the rain on our first day. I guess for this size school it takes awhile to run through all the teams.

Soccer playoffs from the third floor balcony outside our classroom.

The students included two monks. I may be wrong in what I said a few posts ago regarding monks touching women. Here I saw that happen a little, like in a handshake between Gayle and a monk in the course. It appears that monk elementary teachers will be coming to our workshops along with the other teachers.

John Badgley and Thant Thaw Kaung, directors for Nargis Library, were both present along with some other INGO people to observe, and along with every student asked, all agree that we have to find a way to continue these workshops. Nargis Library can now add a new purpose, beyond just importing and distributing books and publishing Burmese school books here. It will certainly fit in well with what we already do.

John will be checking with the US State department to try to expand our US Treasury Department exception, now limited by US sanctions, to deal with the government education departments in Myanmar. Thant will be checking with those departments here. We have to get Gayle freed up from some of her teaching duties in Australia. We also need to set up a follow up program to make sure all these good impressions we have now have some staying power. There is a lot to do.

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