We had our Baan Unrak anniversary, and our mentor’s birthday on the 19th of May, a few days after our school started. It is a very meaningful time as it is an important day to remember and reflect on how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful environment.
On that day many things happened.
The little children rose early in eager anticipation with the chirping of the birds. The caregivers chose beautiful dresses for them which they reserved for this special occasion. The children were all bathed, happy and fresh as they walked to the pagoda at the top of the hill, the place we usually go for special occasions. When they reached the pagoda at 7am, the elders were waiting.
Everything had been beautifully decorated days before by children and volunteers alike. In the freshness of the morning, it was so touching. At the call of the silver bell, teenagers joined in too.
We are so many in Baan Unrak yet we are rarely all together. That’s what makes this day special – the togetherness. Small children, big children, mothers and babies. Sometimes holding hands, sometimes children carrying the littler ones, sometimes just giving a helping hand, exchanging a smile or just a look tinged with laughter.
We swayed and sang together in a merry-go-round of motion, our hearts mingling as we chanted Baba Nam Kevalam (love is all). After the meditation we listened to an inspiring talk from Didi, then we shared birthday cake and fresh water. It confirmed that we are a cosmic family sharing the goodness in our hearts.
We then ate a delicious breakfast and our amazing administrators even made presents for each person. One by one everybody’s name was called out to come and take their gift. 150 names were called out and 150 hearts rejoiced. There was something for everyone.
Then the children dispersed to play, carefree and happy because it was a job-free day. Our volunteers took a group down to our farm beside the lake to immerse themselves in nature. Touching the wind, touching the water and touching the luxuriate grass.
The children took possession of the goat’s boat (yes we have a special boat for our 60 goats. We take the goats each day across the lake to new pastures then pick them up at night). The children played around acting out their fantasy world until the boat broke down in the middle of the lake and the farmer had to use paddles. They couldn’t make progress because it was too heavy with children so they had to be rescued by our farmer with his other boat.
We enjoyed every moment of this special day. After dinner and evening meditation we had another surprise. There was a surprise party for the ten children whose birthdays fell in May. As a change from the birthday cake we ate in the morning, we had 15 trays of pizza for the birthday in the evening. We took one tray and surrounded it with candles and the children gathered around. After singing happy birthday the children blew out the small candles. Presents were given out for the ten birthday children and the pizza was distributed to all. We concluded the festivities with a rain of candies. Candy poured down from everywhere on the children’s heads. It was a great way to end a special day.
Here you can see how we celebrated last year: A Special Place for a Special Occasion