Little Monks

Six days a week we jump on the back of a songthaow (a truck with a tall topper that is open on the sides) to take 10 minute ride out to our Buddhist Temple School.  Before we enter the temple we must take off our shoes.  Cats and dogs roam freely both around the temple and inside our classroom.  Apparently it’s currently mating season out here at the temple because all the animals seem to be either pregnant or playing the mating game.  There are greens trees and stone streets. Philosophical quotes are posted around the school and the windows are all decorated with colorful animals.  Most importantly, this temple ground houses around 150 wonderful young men called “Novices” who are on their way to becoming full Buddhist Monks.  We call these boys the “Little Monks”.  They come from poor families who cannot afford private education.  They live and learn at the temple for anywhere from 3 to 6 years practicing religion for 4 hours every single day and (at least for the next few weeks) will also be practicing English.  Their heads are shaved and they where the yellow/orange robes as all Monks do.  They look at us with a shy curiosity- just as we do the same  -that is until a few days ago when our assignment was to go up to the Little Monks and ask them how to say words in Thai, such as “thank you” (kob kun), “excuse me” (ka tote), “where’s the bathroom?” (hungnaan, yu nai?), and Vince’s favorite “too expensive” (paeng pai).  Six, seven, eight Little Monks begin checking us out from a far before they all comfortably join the older ones now laughing with us around the table. They share words they’ve learned in English, such as beautiful, happy and “Wassup?”  The words exchanged were minimal but the communication exchanged was quite fluid.  Our first experience with the Little Monks only lasted 40 minutes, but it truly was an experience none of us students will be able to forget.



~ by The Piersas on May 3, 2008.

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