Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mon Bridge and a Cult

Sunday, January 23 2011

8:43 AM

I just returned from watching the sunrise on the wooden bridge. About five of us met at the bakery at 5:30 to walk together. They’re re-constructing the bridge, so there were points where we had to balance on a wooden plank to get over the sections that they are working on. It was very dark when we crossed to the middle of the bridge, so I didn’t know until we crossed back over to our side that the planks we were walking across were actually spanning gaps in the bridge….and it was a pretty long drop through wooden scaffolding to the lake below (shiver). The sunrise was serene and beautiful. I loved watching the boats skim across the water, creating ripples that spread out like….like ripples, I guess (no metaphors are coming to mind right now). Once we could officially see light in the sky, we passed all of the Japanese tourists lined up with their tripods along the bridge, and crossed over to “Mon Side.” Here, we ate a cheap cold breakfast of a variety of fried things that I don’t know the names of. You know, I had very high hopes of losing weight while in Thailand….but this last week those hopes have been pretty much shattered. The Thais fry EVERYTHING—as do the Mons, Karens, and Burmese. In a country like this it’s just as unhealthy to be a vegetarian as it is to eat meat, perhaps it’s even less healthy because you eat an overabundance of starchy foods.

It was a very yummy breakfast, despite the oil. During our breakfast conversation, I was informed that Baan Unrak is governed by the beliefs of a religion known as “Ananda Marga.” The volunteers tell me that Ananda Marga is a cult that was founded by terrorists, and they have some pretty strange teachings. Mailynn said that a few months ago, a couple of nurses came to the school to teach a sex education class. Before the class started, Didi asked if the nurses would tell the children that each time a man or woman experiences orgasm, they lose a piece of their soul. Luckily, the nurses refused to include that little tid-bit in their seminar.

Harj, one of the teachers at the school says, that if you teach here for very long, they will try to initiate you into their religion. They give you a Sanskrit name, teach you meditation, and then start teaching you the principles of Ananda Marga.

Don’t worry everyone. I still go by the name Kimber, and I read my scriptures every day =) I just thought it was interesting to discover that I’m apparently working for a terrorist cult—I won’t be advertising that in the letters I write for fundraising.


  1. You just posted this. Crazy. Do you ever feel really tall?

    I love your pictures. That first one of the sunrise is gorgeous. I miss seeing those in Florida. So how does the whole Mon, Burmese, Thai thing work? Are you right next to the border? Or is the border just really loose and people tend to come and go?

  2. I agree with enderfrodo (someone who's evidently an Orson Scott Card and a J.R.R. Tolkien fan, eh?) about the photos. They are really stunning. Keep posting!