About me
I am Brazilian, piscean and traveller. Working as a yacht stewardess gives me the oportunitty to be close to the ocean, which is where I always wanted to be. This blog is the result of a desire to share my life with people who are seeking for a new adventure and also to help those who cross my path. Welcome to my world!
The story of Phongyi and the children of the Phaya Taung monastery
I went there wanting to help, but that place allowed me to find out more about myself
15/08/2017 - Updated on 15/08/2017 21h47


With the background being a beautiful and remote community, which was once one of the most bustling and dangerous regions of Myanmar, Phongyi, a freedom fighter, dedicated blood, sweat and tears to this special place where I had the pleasure of staying for two nights: the Phaya Taung monastery.
 
Sue, a brilliant person of whom I spoke briefly in my previous post, not only has a beautiful project for the construction of an English school for local children, but she also knows the amazing person that is Phongyi.
 
Keep in mind that you are about to read a true story! I saw it with my own eyes and heard it from people who gently translated to us the words in burmese spoken by the first monk.
 
Without any help from the government, which refuses to acknowledge the monastery – located four hours away from Inle Lake –, Phongyi built, created and organized, 30 years ago, a house that initially accommodated seven children and currently accommodates, feeds and educates over a thousand, whether they are less favored, children of single parents or orphans of all parts of Myanmar.
 

I don't even have to say that, after all I've described about Myanmar, what this monastery needs the most is help – not only in a financial sense, but even people who speak English and can spend their time practicing the language with children, providing them with the opportunity of a new future.
 
Sue organized our ride from Inle Lake to the monastery. Before we left, we bought a few balls, toys and 50 kg of rice. After a four hour tuk-tuk ride through a dirt road, we finally made it! 
 
We entered an open space filled with children showing their large and beautiful smiles. Some of them played ball, others looked curious, gazing at us as we gazed at them.

 
 
We were received by the assistant to the first monk. He took us to the space where Phongyi lives in the monastery, where we were later introduced to him and to the second monk. They served us dinner, tea and fruit. The monks don't speak English, but the assistant translated the few words he said. One sentence was "this is your second home, make yourself comfortable".

Read more: Touring in Mandalay, Myanmar

The respect displayed by the children towards the monk is incredible and admirable, as well as the entire organization of the place. They need help for a lot of thins. But any parent would be proud to see how they all fit activities so they can keep the monastery running amidst all of their studies – they wake up at 4:30 AM to study and go to sleep late at night. It all works in harmony over there. The feeling of peace we got from seeing such good things, even with all the simplicity, got me all teared up.
 
The food is simple: white rice with a simple side dish for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We gave a hand in the kitchen cutting onions and servig rice – 330 kg of it are consumed in the Monastery on a daily basis.

 
 
We tried to chat with the children so we could help with their English. However, since they were in their exams week, we respected their concentration.
 
On the next day, I decided to wake up early so I could accompany them throughout their routine. I ended up being invited to enter the pagoda, where they pray, meditate and study. At 6:00 AM, there I was, praying and meditating. Sitting with my feet pointing back, I tried to focus on the prayer, chanted by a thousand children in one single voice.  While my tears flowed, I felt the emotion and gratitude for being there, experiencing it. The opportunity of seeing so many happy children together, all of it thanks to a man who gave his life to doing good, sensitized me deeply.
 
If you wish to collaborate with whatever you can, find out more here. It was thanks to the donations that, for two years now, they have gained access to electricity. You can help, however, by acquiring the book that tells the story of Phongyi, or even spend some time with them practicing English and sharing your love, which is what they need the most.

 
 

I went there wanting to help, but that place allowed me to find out more about myself. I felt as if I were turning pages in a book and entering a new and exciting chapter in my own life. I was helped more than I helped and, therefore, I feel obliged to go back and to give back all the good things that place and those adorable children gave me.
 
 
"Thousands of candles can be lit with a single candle and it's life won't be cut short. Knowledge, love and joy never diminish when they are shared."
- Buddha
 
 
 
 
 
 




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