This photography corner is broken up into two parts. Recently the ATMA SEVA team went to the Lawa village outside of Mae Sariang for one week. The purpose of the trip was to help Katherine, our current on-stie intern, get set up as she will be living and teaching there for two months.
It was an action packed week and some of the highlights were hiking out to local farms and helping to harvest rice, visiting neighboring Karen villages, learning about Lawa culture, and seeing the auk pansaa ceremony.
Auk pansaa is the day when Buddhist lent ends and there was a ceremony at the local village Wat. The first thirty minutes or so, was chanting in the temple. Before coming to the Wat, everyone brought banana leaves with flowers, incense, and a candle wrapped up. After the chanting everyone lit their incense and candle and proceeded to walk around the main temple three times. The reason for walking around three times is to pay respect to 1 the Buddha, 2 the dhamma (Buddha’s teachings), and 3 the sangha (Buddhist community). After three times of walking around and chanting, everyone left their flowers/candles/incense in front of the temple. By attending this ceremony it is believed that you are making ‘merit’ and gaining positive karma. Auk pansaa is also some what of a celebration and all of the children in the village had a blast shooting off fireworks!
The reason we went to neighboring Karen villages was to find the father of one of the monks whom Katherine taught. After talking to the novice monk we found out his village was close to the Lawa village, and thought it would be nice to bring the father a picture of his son, whom he had not seen for many years. It took us around three hours to find the village as it is extremely small and there are no direct roads, but driving in the lush jungle with rolling mountains is not a bad way to spend an afternoon! After finally finding and meeting the father, he was extremely grateful for the picture and glad to hear his son was doing well. The village was extremely poor and ATMA SEVA will be working and collaborating with other local NGO’s to help as best we can. Stay tuned for details how you can help or visit ‘Our Work‘.
Stay tuned for part 2 which includes pictures from the first day of school and English class!!
Photos by David Poppe