Ancient Teak

Lush forests of old growth teak once covered the Burmese Hills. However,  demand for this rich colored hard wood in west, coupled with no environmental protections laws has left the hills of Burma bald. Deforestation has lead to structureless soil and increased the occurrence of lethal land side. An abundance of silt has choked the coral reefs and clouded Burma’s waters.

IMG_4317Buildings such as this recall a history of wealth.  This building is rumored to be 500 years old, preservation of the delicate carvings is evidence of the durability of this valued wood.

In Burma at least one son from every house becomes a monk. This is common across buddhist countries yet Burma has some traditions I had never heard about before Each child goes through an initiation. They are dressed as the young prince Siddhartha and paraded through the streets decked out in gold and jewels. This child then enters into the monastery for a year. This tradition is meant to mirror Siddhartha’s path from prince to the ascetic monk who went on to become the Buddha, Gautama. It also serves to create a deep bond between the religion and the people.

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