Friday, December 18, 2009

My First Mission Trip to Myanmar 5-12 Dec 09

My First Mission Trip to Myanmar 5-12 Dec 09

I have been to other mission trip before with Apex Club of Singapore (City). First trip is to Batam to help build houses, then to Cambodia to give clothing, shoes, etc. Both were enriching but this trip is even much more enriching than my previous trips. We have quite a big group this time, a total of 51 participants and from young to old in age group.

In this trip I went with the Firefly Mission, we brought with us about 1,200 kg worth of things to give away. Just to list some of the things, they are :

1. Stationary for students and teachers
2. Sweets, choc wafer,balloons for kids
3. Axe oils for old folks
4. Hamper with daily-use stuff
5. Notebook, computer bags
6. Warm clothing and normal clothing, t-shirt, sweaters
7. Medicine
8. Bags, luggage
9. Fruit cakes

In Yangon, we visited :

1. Samiddhodayasukhitarama Daw Nanacari Myanaung Nunnery (100 nuns)
2. Khemma Rama Nunnery & Orphanage (250 students)
3. Hninzigone Home for the Elderly (300 elderly)
4. Zanbu AokShaung Nunnery Teching School with 130 students and 10 teachers
5. Shwe Minzu Nunnery Teaching School with 170 students and teachers

6. Vannasiri's Monastery and School with 100 students

In Kyaikto, we visited :

1. Zamburatana BCC with about 200 students and 100 orpanages

2. Naga Cave Monastery with 1200 monks and 200 nuns

In Bilin, we visited :

1. Bilin School & Community Project with 800 students and 20 teachers
2. Bilin Hospital
3. Shifu Hill Monastic School with 800 students and 10 teachers

4. Taungxun Monastic School with 350 students and 10 teachers

At Shwegyin, we visited :

1. Shwegyin Monastery
2. Shwegyin School with 400 students
3. Shwegyin Orphanages with 100 orphanages

Below is the website where you could access much of the photo taken by our official photographers Bro Goh & Sis Ai Lan

Another URL below with photos :

My Feedback About This Trip

I felt that this is a well organised trip. Right from the registration, application of visa, briefing, packing, etc. It can be seen that Firefly Mission has a lot of experience is running such trip.

From this trip, I realised what some of the monks are doing in Myanmar is beyond what people precieved. They look after orphanages, help build schools, ensure kids have the right education and food, etc.

We also have a very good tour leader, Sister Shirley, who constantly lead in the daily morning chanting, gave Dharma talks, etc, which is helping to spread the Dharma. I can remembered she told us the following in Chinese below :

These 4 phrases are very meaningful. She also said that all good deeds, merits, charity, etc that we do are all in the 'bright' (visible). All the returns are in the 'dark' (not visible or unknowingly). In Chinese, it is :

Direct translation is : Whatever go is in the day, whatever come is in the night.

Every places we visited, we were so well received. Some even has "Lion Dance" to welcome us. All will offer a simple reception to us. A lot of time, we cannot finish the food and fruits they prepared for us. It just goes to show how much gratitude they have for us. I think most of us would like to go back again.

Overall, I am very happy to be part of the team in this trip. I can see and compare the children in our country and at the monastery in Myanmar. I can compare the old folks in our old age home and in their old age home. They are all very different. Those who have not go for such trip are strongly recommended to go at least once in their whole life time.

What Can Be Done Better ?

Medical Help. On hindsight, I felt that if we can get a medical doctor to accompany the team. It will be even better. Why I say that ? It can be seen from this trip that a number of participants fall sick during the trip. I guy another had minor injury while helping. As all these incidents are unforeseen, it is tedious to find a doctor out there like in Bilin and Shwegyin. To find a doctor at Bilin, Sister Shirley has to find a public phone to make a call as her mobile did not had any signal. Then the guy at the store had to accompany our bus to the nearby clinic and then catch a bus back to his store. If we have a doctor with us, it will be a lot easier and faster and maybe this doctor can also offer medical check-up for the students and people we visited. If we can have a doctor with us througout the trip, how about a dentist as well ?

Song. One of the participant told me that if we can come up with a more lively song where all can clap and song together, that would be even better. At least we prepared 2 songs this time. The 2 songs we prepared are belong to the slow and sentimental type. So this is something we can consider and prepare for future trips.

Remembering Names. During the trip, I had a hard time trying to remember so many new names. Out of 51 participants, I think more than half I have not met before. I think those who I have met for the first time also have problem remembering my name. One way to overcome this problem is everyone wear a name tag. This name tag is not expensive and it can be used for future trips and even during our local fund-raising projects.

Gifts. Finally, I felt that if we can give the children other things that they cannot afford, it will be better. Some of the things I can think of are watches and yo-yo. To buy them in Singapore can be expensive. But if someone can help to buy in bulk in China, that can help to bring down the cost.


Anonymous said...
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Passionate About Baking said...

Chao Loy,
You're such a special person. One who gives generously and helps others without second thoughts. Like what it was said, you'll be blessed in all ways! Take care friend!