The death of Sayadaw U Lakkhana was a true test of our 21 years of relationships in the Wachet community and a testament to the enduring vitality of the village and the many programs that Sayadaw and MettaDana put into place during his influential life. It was truly uplifting to see the beautiful results of Sayadaw’s actions to continue to blossom in the village and to find the community and the programs moving forward with integrity and metta. We were profoundly moved by the community’s sadness at Sayadaw’s death and also by the overwhelmingly wish that we return and continue our work.
This January, we will return to Wachet to hold our annual 3-week retreat at Kyaswa Monastery with Sayadaw U Pannananda, Michele McDonald, and Steven Smith (where room is still available). During this time we will check in with the various MettaDana Projects and find out how best we can continue to strengthen these vital programs.
Important developments have also taken place over the past few years that we want you to know about:
The Wachet Village School, which we created and sustained for many years, is now fully integrated into the public school system: a moving and positive result of the changing political dynamics in the country. While basic school supplies are now provided by the state, the school still depends on us to provide uniforms for all students, including robes for the many “nunlets” and “monklets” (as Michele likes to call them) and teacher bonuses for the faculty to supplement the meager wages provided by the state. We now need help to support continuing education programs for teachers in language and computer training that will allow them to provide a more robust and relevant education for the future.
The Wachet Jivitadana Sangha Hospital is thriving and benefiting from numerous donations coming from MettaDana and other foreign supporters and healtchcare providers, as well as beneficiaries of Myanmar’s burgeoning economy. This year, we are hoping to begin a new program based on the important research on women’s health needs we sponsored last year. Two Swedish medical students who conducted the research sent us their reports and based on their findings we are hoping to begin free courses on reproductive health for members of the Wachet community. If you are interested in supporting this project or have skills that may be helpful in its development, please get in touch with our office via email.
Another team of acupuncturists will be coming this year to teach our Burmese colleagues new methods and approaches to treatment and to begin a rigorous 3-year teacher-training model so that our MettaDana-trained Burmese acupucturists can begin to spread their practices in their own communities. The team, organized by long-time MettaDana supporter Kirsten Germann, will bring back Keith Wright for a second year and will introduce Peter van Kervel and his family to the project.
Some of our nun friends will be the subject of an upcoming documentary film entitled “This Very Life.” You can watch the trailer here! We are excited to continue our support for these three nunneries as important sustainers of the pursuit of the Dhamma for women in Myanmar. Supporting their basic community needs as well as providing for a medical fund each year helps ensure that these women are able to commit to a powerful way of life guided by the heart of the Buddha’s teachings.
We want to give thanks to all who have offered their generous support of our MettaDana projects over the years. To see the fruits of these endeavors flourish and to see these projects coming into their own, independent and forward-moving, is a marvelous sign of the persistent and generous dedication of many supporters over time.
If you have not already given this year, please consider a donation to the MettaDana Project to support our wonderful projects there. Any amount that you offer has considerable impact locally and helps continue the lineage of connection and support that we are all so fortunate to be a part of. Click here to donate now. Thank you so much for your generosity!
~ The Kyaswa retreat and MettaDana team