Dear family and friends,
Yesterday we made a day trip to the Delta (where the typhoon Nargis made the biggest devastation).
Together with the Abbot of the monastery and a group of around 20 persons we went to bring some food to 300 families living in small villages beside the river. To arrive first we drove for 2 hours and then we took a boat up the river to reach one of the places with more damages where the crops were destroyed by the typhoon so now the people are having a hard time to find food while they still continue to reconstruct their houses.
To see the situation was sad but at the same time it was wonderful to share the happiness of the villagers and the extremely warm looks of children and adults as some help could reach them, but unfortunately much more help is needed, there are still more people finding it very hard to fulfill even the most basic needs.
Around here (just beside the monastery) the villagers are really poor and many of their bamboo huts were also destroyed and in some cases they don't have enough food, the environmental hygiene is in bad condition and many people have malnutrition and get sick because of dirty drinking water. In order to help the monastery we are staying runs a free clinic that opens every Saturday and Sunday.
Around 92 patients are treated every day, it is totally run by donations (mostly from foreigners) and the Burmese doctors and dentist donate their work as part of their spiritual practice.
Also there are some nunneries around the area with many small nuns (children), some orphans from the south, victims of the typhoon.
Since the nunneries depend totally on donations from the villagers but the villagers are having a hard time themselves they don't get enough donations even for rice!
For them the abbot and some senior nuns here are trying to help them to fulfill these basic things.
In short there is a lot of need, as you see what they need is really basic; food, medicine, house repairing etc. but even for that the people is finding it difficult, the good thing is that in order to help them is quite easy!
Some people have already donated and joining them we continue to do so, but after seeing the reality of the situation we feel the need of Join Forces, and this is the reason why we are sending this mail.
Together we can help! it is not difficult and above all we can use this precious opportunity to enrich our spirit enjoying the internal benefits such as contentment, joy, happiness and peace of mind through the practice of generosity. (una de las cualidades humanas mas puras, loables)
Even a little bit makes a difference, to give you an idea 20 US can provide a family of 4 with rice, cooking oil, beans, medicine, candles etc. that can last from 3 weeks to 1 month while they can be free from worries about food and can focus on rebuilding and re-establishing their farm land.
As we reflect in what we can spend this amount of money (a breakfast, a movie or even a pizza) and how much the same amount can help somebody in need we get a very different view on the value of things.
This simple reflection reminds us to appreciate and increase our gratefulness for our privileged present condition.
Of course if the donation is bigger more can be done and more people can be benefited by it. For example, 91 US can rebuild a destroyed bamboo hut for a family, or you can contribute in the reconstruction of a school or providing school materials, medicine or equipment for the clinic etc.
At the end of this mail we send some information about the on-going projects, if you personally want to help please contact the person in charge indicated below, and if you know anyone or any organizations that would also be interested in helping please feel free to forward this mail (with a personal touch) and the following information to as many people as you can think of and they can also do the same (if you need we can send you more detailed information).
In Macau: Our Aunt Stella (Cantonese & English) at: (853) 66850858, email: email@example.com or our Macau-Mama Gina (Portuguese, Cantonese and some English) at: (853) 28718221/ 66621282
In Mexico: Our sister Marcela at (5233) 3350-6764, (5233) 3342-1693, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ,email@example.com or our Mex-Mama Martha at: (5233) 3853-7478, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
and please check:
www.operacionhormigasbirmania.workpress.com (web en espanol con imagines )
Dear Family and friends from other places, please contact any of the above person or please contact us by email:
The person in charge will collect the donations and send the total amount collected altogether so as to minimize bank charges.
Here is our address and phone number:
Chanmyay Myaing Meditation Center Shwe Oo Min St., No.3 Highway, Laydaungkan, Mingaladon TS, (Pale P.O. 11022) Yangon, MYANMAR
Office phone: (95) 1-638350 or
Office mobile: (95)98023507
We already found the right channel to receive the economic help that will be converted into goods and we all can be sure that it will reach the people that really needs it. The giving is supervised by the abbot of this Monastery U Indaka, who teaches Loving kindness meditation and is experienced in organizing such projects. While we are here we will continue to visit the people bringing your generosity personally and will keep you informed with photos sending their countless blessings.
You can also get some more information and photos of a local friend's NGO in the following webpage:
www.operacionhormigasbirmania.workpress.com (it's in spanish, but you can check the photos)
Well dear Family, although we have limited internet access we will keep in touch whenever possible but in the heart we are always connected.
May all of us and our families enjoy mental and physical happiness, abide in well being and be liberated from all kinds of suffering.
With our best wishes and energy and above all loooooooots of love.
Raul & Heidi
Information on on-going projects
1) Typhoon Relief in Delta Area (Irrawaddy delta)
Donations collected for the Delta Area have mostly been used to reconstruct houses and ruined monasteries, for food (rice, cooking oil, beans, and staple vegetables), medicine, soap, school supplies for the children and cash donations to struggling villagers.
A number of large donations to a total of 19 villages in four general areas across the Irrawaddy delta have already been made, but the need for aid to these areas are ongoing. Through connections with these communities, offerings are being tailor made according to current needs so that they are most appropriate to conditions at hand. The cost of an offering of this kind is in average of 14 USD per household; and villages range in size from 90 to several hundred households.
2) Support for local villagers around the monastery area (Mingaladon Township)
For the poor villagers around the monastery area, reconstruction and repairing of houses, rice and oil offerings have been the main support. For your reference with 91 USD a bamboo hut can be rebuild for a family. 20 USD provide a big bag of rice and a bottle of cooking oil.
3) Aye Metta Ayu Dana Clinic
Weekend free clinic run by the monastery, around 92 patients are treated every day, it is totally run by donations (mostly from foreigners) and the Burmese doctors and dentist are all volunteers. Total average monthly expenses are approximately 183 USD. These costs include medications and supplies, personnel, and physical plant upkeep and repair.
Post-Nargis repair and construction costs around 1200 USD. Besides these, donations for clinic expansion and equipments are also needed, details as followed: 1. Construction costs for clinic rooms (materials and labour) around 1370 USD 2. Cabinetry and furnishings around 460 USD 3. Electricity generator around 4600 USD 4. Autoclave (for sterilizing dental tools and equipment) around 910 USD 5. A balance scale etc.
4) Support for Nunneries
There are 8 nunneries around the monastery area, the total population of nuns in these nunneries is 113; almost 70% of this number are youngsters, many of them orphans as a result of Cyclone Nargis.
The nunneries offer them community, basic requisites, and education. Some of these girls will remain nuns for life, and pursue higher monastic education, others may return to lay life as they mature. They mostly need food, rebuilding destroyed structures, restoration of electrical lines, repair of damaged wells, and replacing water-damaged books, etc. For example the total cost for a month's supply of rice for all 8 nunneries is presently about 900 USD, that is around 8 USD per person per month.
5) Happy Haven Humanitarian Project
This is an orphanage that takes care of HIV positive orphans from 1 and a half to 12 years old. There are now 20 children there and the project provides them with home, basic necessities, non-formal education and health care. It is run totally by donations.
Donation amount are totally up to you, you can specify which project you would like to donate to or you can simply send your donation for the abbot to decide what is more urgently needed.
Whatever donation would be of great help, photos and/or report will be send to you later to inform you on how the donation was used.
On behalf of the people that will be benefited from your generosity, we thank you very much and may you and your family enjoy the best fruits of life.