So. My week as volunteer as come to an end. Next Monday I will begin my vipassana. I’m a little worried that I won’t make it but I don’t wanna call it off even before starting it.
My week in Tha Bar Wa has been interesting. I’ve met nice people and seen things that I couldn’t even imagine. Volunteering always gives me back the faith in the human race. In a society where all that matters is money and appearance, it’s good for the heart to see that there are people ready to work for free, ready to give something in return for nothing if not in return for some personal satisfaction. During my time here I’ve been practicing massage on poor people, suffering from hard labour and stroke. It was good to give and get in return their gratitude. It made my day.
Of course not everything is nice and beautiful. Life here can sometimes be hard, hygiene is a different concept from what we think. People are very clean, they shower at least once a day everyday but then houses are barracks, trash is everywhere, animal have free entry wherever they feel like (there are plenty of stray dogs around here – and mostly are sick, there are 5 cows and they shit everywhere).
I had the chance to participate to the alms and see how people can give just for the sake of it. There is no shame. You give what you can. Being money or food. Or both. Someone gives an apple, someone a bag of rice, some a tube of toothpaste. Nothing is too little. You give according to your possibilities.
I also had the chance to see the other side of the mirror. Monks are not necessarily saints, they are people and for this reason they’re not perfect. Far from it I would say. And they are not necessarily nice persons, they don’t smile to you, you don’t feel your life is in good hands when you’re with them. They live their lives detached from everyone else. They don’t mingle. The first day I did the alms I was carrying the bowl for the money and the first thing that the “first” monk did after we finished the tour was to snap it out of my hands. And they are bit supposed to use money. I was a bit shocked. I would expect that from a priest, but from a monk….
But still. Even some of my coworkers have been here a long time and think they are “so spiritual” and feel the need to give you advice about meditation and detachment, it was a good experience. I like to see things with my own eyes and this time I’ve learnt so much. On many different levels. Now comes the hard part. Vipassana is said to be a magnificent experience although very hard. Another step to get to know me better I guess….