Karen Village

Karen Village

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Heart of the Village

This week we were invited to a gathering at the Heart of the Village. The village heart is a large white building placed at the center of the village. It is rarely opened except on special occasions. And even when opened, outsiders were rarely allowed inside. I knew we were in for a treat when we saw the plain white building brightly decorated with colorful paper. The door was wide open with our friends standing just beyond, motioning for us to join them for prayer.

The seating area was divided into sectioned mats for the different streets or sub-neighborhoods in the village. We greeted a few different neighborhood leaders before I saw Tutara who had saved us a seat next to his family.

We sat in silence, listening to the Buddhist mantras. My dad explained to me that this was the first day, and that the monk will stay to continue chanting non-stop for seven days and nights. The prayers explain the life of the Buddha. It is done at least once a year to ensure the village’s health and for prosperity, and for everyone world-wide to be generally at peace.

Some villagers sat with candles in front of them, while others lit candles outside. After a while, we went out to the fish ponds with Tutara & his son, Sudee (Tutara’s brother-in-law) and Sudee’s nieces Jajan and Jahaair to feed the fish. It was a special occasion, so the village fishes were eating coconut shavings and rice that had been blessed by the monks.

With our spirits rekindled, we reflected on what an honor it was to have participated in such an event. As we were leaving, I asked Tutara if the village heart will be closed by the time we come back. He laughed and said, that while the doors to the building may be closed, the true “heart of the Karen village” is never closed so long as there are people who care.

5 comments:

Donna Clark said...

Angie, you took my advice! Thank you for posting more about the villagers. I love hearing from you and about where my silver comes from.

Stacie Florer said...

It is really a treat getting to know more about the village life. I really enjoy knowing how they spend their time when not making jewelry. Thank you!

AngieThien said...

You are very very welcomed, Donna and Stacie! :)

Lisa said...

This is so far my favorite article on your blog. I love having an open window into the world of the Karen. Will you be listing more coupon codes?

Cluny Grey said...

Your blog keeps getting more and more interesting!
Cluny