Helpers from Ko Dut Drop In Centre arrived at our accommodation fairly early and, after preparing breakfast for the Doctor, the Doctor's mother and the writer, they lifted the large sacks of materials for the Distribution to Children from upstairs in the house to a waiting pick-up. With Ko Dut Drop In Centre temporarily unavailable, the monastery had agreed that the Assembly Hall there could be used for the distribution, so we arrived to find around 300 excited but surprisingly quiet young people sitting on the floor of the hall.
Soon, a senior monk arrived, deputising for the abbott who had been called away. The senior monk sat facing the children together with a second monk. A simple portable amplification system with a radio microphone was set up and then, after a brief exhortation, Doctor Hla Tun explained about the new donated school uniforms, school bags and stationery which was about to be distributed. The senior monk then suggested that I addressed the children. First, I would say a few sentences in English. Then I would pass the microphone to Dr. Hla Tun who would translate into standard Myanmar language. Then the microphone would pass to one of the helpers, a fluent Mon speaker, to translate into the Mon language, as not all the children understood the standard Myanmar language, before returning the microphone to me.
The helpers from the Drop In Centre had prepared the donations by placing everything else in the new school bag so, as each child was called up, a helper passed the appropriate bag to me, and I presented it to the young scholar. Each child was then asked to put on the new uniform, with helpers giving assistance to the younger children, as necessary.
The work of presentation was not quite over. Each child then received a snack and soft drink which Jan assisted the helpers in distributing by moving among the seated children. Wearing their new uniforms, the students moved outside the assembly hall and sat in rows under a covered walkway for the 'group shot'. This took a few minutes as there were lots of cameras waiting to record the event. Someone then suggested that re-positioning everyone on nearby concrete steps would give a good effect, so all the children moved across and more pictures were taken.
Doctor Hla Tun explained to me that the pupils we'd just seen came from seven schools in the area:-
Ko Dut Mon Ethnic SchoolWe then drove to our final presentation of the day at the small Drop In Centre at Mot Ka Nin which I'd visited before. We were given the usual cordial greeting and all passed off smoothly.
Ko Dut Government Primary School
Ko Dut Government High School
Kot Cha Mon Ethnic School
Kot Cha Government School
Fel Gu School
Ku To Seik Mon Ethnic School.
Back in our car, we travelled back through La Mine to Ku To Seik Mon Ethnic School where various donations have been made in the past to assist in building completion. I think I first visited in 2014 (as described here) and returned in 2015 (as described here. This time, we didn't visit to fishing village itself but instead returned to our accommodation in Ko Dut. I was relieved that the persistent drumbeat was not being played but the combination of heat, hard bed and my own joint pains meant that I still didn't get a very good night's sleep. During the night, there was a noisy thunderstorm then, after a delay, heavy, tropical rain for a while. By morning, there were only damp patches on the ground witnessing the earlier downpour.
More when I can.
Related Posts on this Website
All 2017 Trip posts.
As I am able, I will add pictures to this post.