Thanaka Kids

In our first day at Bagan, we hired a guide who brought us to a local monastery which was being used as an camp for families coming from more rural areas (keep in mind, Bagan is already rural) to be prepared to celebrate the “moon festival”.  They moved their “camp gear” using small covered wagons sometimes with traditional wagon wheels, others with modern truck wheels.  It must have been slow-going as they were apparently pulled by oxen which also were scattered among the families at the camp.  While it appeared that the family were of scarce means, yet the kids wore bright, clean clothes and seemed to be very happy.  While having a couple of tall white guys with cameras wander into the camp, you’d think that they’d be apprehensive.  Much to our surprise, they were delighted we were visiting them!  And they loved getting their pictures taken!  As Logan pointed out, it didn’t matter whether the person was 6 or 60, they all wanted to see the back of the camera to see how they looked in the picture.  We were very fortunate that we had a guide who we were able to communicate through as we found out more about their family relations in the group.

As you’ll see in this set of shots, most of the kids and women had their faces painted with thanaka which is a ground tree bark paste used for both sun screen and decoration.  Actually, throughout our entire visit, we estimated that 80-90% of the women and girls both in the cities and country wore thanaka.  Most boys up until the teen years also wore it but most men didn’t.

 

sisters or cousins - I lost track

sisters or cousins – I lost track

sisters or cousins

sisters or cousins

 

the pattern of the thanaka design seemed to correspond to family units

the pattern of the thanaka design seemed to correspond to family units

 

thanaka again? They typical apply this twice a day to the kids

thanaka again? They typical apply this twice a day to the kids

 

grinding tree bark for thanaka paste

grinding tree bark for thanaka paste

 

older boy's turn

older boy’s turn

 

mom or grandma

mom or grandma

 

IMG_5821WP800x533

a couple of the girls had some western makeup yet still had a thin layer of thanaka on

The kids were happy and smiley but it appeared that they thought stoic poses were right for the camera

The kids were happy and smiley but it appeared that they thought stoic poses were right for the camera

 

proud grandma

proud grandma

preparing the food

preparing the food

hopefully a happy gesture!

hopefully a happy gesture!