The work that Burmese nuns do is wonderful, inspiring, sometimes surprising, and always a source of joy. Yesterday we went up to the village of Nwe Kwe, to a group of nunneries that we have been supporting for a decade.
In the last 5 years or so, these nuns have had to deal with repeated knee-deep flooding during the rainy season, because nearby construction has blocked the natural drainage of the land. Here are some screenshots from videos they showed us of some to the flooding this year:
Mitigation of the flooding proved to be impossible, so all but three of the nunneries have sold their land and houses to the nearby factory (whose fill is causing the flooding!), and bought higher plots of land in the same neighborhood. Though that meant they had to start from scratch, everyone agreed that it is so much better to be living in a construction site and free of flooding than to be in a place that floods all the time. One said with a huge smile, “Now we are free of the water!” It is an immense relief.
So after years of modifying the structures they already had, the nuns have gone back to square one. Some important things have been salvaged from the old places, but without any sentimentality; more tangible is the potential and excitement that comes with a new dwelling. One by one, the head nuns proudly showed us around, delighted and amused by our surprised responses to see what they have managed to do in such a short period of time.
It will take years for the nuns to completely finish building, because they have to raise the money as they go. No-one complains, though. Yes, they are living in construction sites, but the transformation is totally worth it.
The most amazing change is at Aye Mya Yaungkyi Nunnery. Where before two nuns lived together in a dark and cramped little house, now there are two buildings each with two stories on a much larger piece of property — and 11 young nuns. For years they made do with what they had, and it was far from ideal. Now everything is new and they will be able to train the many new young nuns in wonderful conditions.
We will be putting up more posts over the next few days as our workload settles down. There is much to share — because your donations are touching many people! For now here are more photos of the Nwe Kwe nuns, high and dry at last!