Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Minglabar from Myanmar.

Minglarbar is how we greet people in Myanmar. When Myanmar was a colony of the English it was called Burma. Myanmar has many interesting sites and some beautiful beaches. We love Amazing Resort Ngapali Beach where there is a long wide sandy beach on the Bay of Bengal. Can you find the Bay of Bengal on a map? We liked walking along the beach. As we were walking tiny crabs – we could hardly see them – would scurry into a hole. We noticed that they would throw the sand out of the hole making beautiful patterns in the sand. The closer we looked the more crabs and designs we could see. We wondered what else lives in the sand. As the tide went out more designs were formed on the sand. Some looked like tunnels under the sand. As the tide went out the sand would dry out so we think the critters were trying to go deeper where the sand was wet. It was interesting to watch them.

While we were relaxing on the beach we saw children going to school. Some were walking and others rode their bikes on the beach. Many carried their books in backpacks. We told Ms. Win Win, the hotel’s receptionist, we would like to visit a school. Along with Ms. Mi Mi, the hotel manager, they arranged for us to visit the Government High School of Ngapali which was not far from our hotel. The principal, U Tun Oo Khine, told us, “We have 800 students in grades 5 to 12. The government schools are free and compulsory.” There were several one-story buildings on the hillside where there was a nice breeze which is important in a country like Myanmar where it is very hot most of the time. Each building had several classrooms that opened out onto a covered porch which is also perfect for the hot climate. Some students brought their lunch to school but there was also food they could buy. It looked very healthy with plenty of veggies and fruit.

The principal sent someone up the hill to the topmost building and asked them to have the students in Grades 5 and 6 to come down to meet us. They ran down the hill like they were excited to meet us but very quickly formed a long orderly line. The school colors are green and white. Some of the students were wearing longyis, the traditional wraparound “skirt” worn by both males and females. It is perfect for the hot weather because it creates a cooling breeze on one’s legs while walking. Also, like many people in Myanmar, some students had yellowish power on their face called thanaka. It comes from the bark of the thanaka tree common in Myanmar. It protects their face from the hot sun.

There are so many interesting things to learn in every country. In Myanmar people do not have family names or last names. Traditionally people are given a name according to the day of the week they were born and then a name with a special meaning. It is often repeated. Most have four words to their name but are normally called by their double name. Ms. Htay Htay’s name means rich rich. We met Ms. Thien Thien, Mr. Ko Ko, and Ms. Phu Phu. Think about the names of some of the people you know. How do you think the names Johnson, Thomson, Smith, Woods, and French came about? The world is very interesting. Don’t you think so?