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    Place-based pedagogies, University of Mandalay (Part 4)

    In order to link the classroom with the real world for the course of Urban Anthropology, our department decided to interact with the community elders to find out about the Taunghtaman Village Tract. 

    Our group met the village head and community elders of Taunghtaman Village in the village administrator’s office. The elders shared that nowadays most school children who grow up in Taungthaman do not know much about their home village and don't cherish it; and because of this, they are forgetting their cultural heritage.

    A Man for Peace: Reverend Dr Wati Aier

    "I think we were too fast with it all. Perhaps it was World War II that shaped the Naga soul. People come of age or in the process of coming of age, I think, in many ways we have been too idealistic. Instead of trying to work towards national construction, we were caught up in idealistic nationalism and I think traces of that idealistic mission still linger on today especially among the older generations... but the younger minds are beginning to be very critical and analytical at the same time, so I wish that the Naga movement began today.

    Traditional house with bamboo matting in Htan Taw Village

    The housing pattern is usually with bamboo matting in Htan Taw Village. The people in Htan Taw village depend mostly on natural products like this kind of bamboo matting for their housing pattern rather than artificial products. On the other hand, in contrast, these kinds of natural products are more perishable than artificial. They have to cope with this problem with their intuition. Some of them apply emulsion paint, oil rust and the substance that drive the insects away on these bamboo mattings to protect the roof from insects and the climate condition.

    The impact of urban life: Interactions from the field

    The school children of the Htantaw village in the Taungthaman Village Tract were asked – What is the most beautiful place in Taungthaman? They could either draw pictures or describe in words. The children drew from their imagination and showed it to the students.

    Snacks are important part of a community’s cultural heritage. We included this in our session and served traditional snacks like noe-hta-min or rice mixed with milk.

    Ride for the initiation ceremony

    In the initiation ceremony, people borrow horse cart from me. But they prefer the bullock cart that is well decorated with the crystals and golden paint over my horse cart. In the last 20 years the bullock cart has become more valuable and fashionable.

    This was shared by a lady who is one of people who lends cart to others.

    I found that the people are still proud to use the bullock cart for the initiation ceremony. 

    Curriculum and fostering pride in locality

    Dr. Thidar Htwe Win drew small engagement curriculum to foster value and connection of the local children with their locality. To do this, the school children were asked - "what are the most beautiful and valuable places for them in their village and around it."  By asking this, we could draw out what the children unconsiously valued.

    At first the children were too shy to speak in front of the crowd. We persuaded them with incentive of rewarding them with cute stickers. This helped them to become more engaged. We could even create a competitive environment among them.

    What is the most beautiful place in Taungthaman: From children's memories

    What is the most beautiful thing or place in your village? The question asked was to the young school children from Taungthaman Village.

    The first drawing is of U Pain Bridge and the second one of Taung Tha Man Thitsar.Many children also drew pictures of their grandparents, Kyauk Taw Gyi Pagoda, Taung Tha Man Lake.

    We asked them to explain their drawings - what they know about the particular place or thing -  the dos and dont's.

    Fostering waste management in community Part 1

    “In the past, we would pack the trash in a big bag and threw it into the lake at night. When the flood would come, all of the trash would come back out with the water,” she said laughing.

    We asked her then, “Did any of the elders (your parents, the governor of the quarter, etc.) say anything about it?" 

    She answered, “at that time, all people in the village did like that. We didn’t really care as other people did the same thing that I did.”

    Fostering waste management in community Part 2

    Some people were not clear how the plastic bucket was to be used. Actually, this bucket is for wet waste and the plastic bag should be put in it first before putting trash in.

    They used the bucket in wrong way as shown in the photos. We reminded them again, “the basket made with palm raffia is for dry waste and the bucket is for wet." We encouraged them to use it the correct way. 

    Fostering waste management in community Part 3

    In this picture, we can see that a person understood how to correctly the bucket. Most people did not have any problem in using the basket for dry waste. They understood that clearly. But we were facing problems in making people understand how to use the bucket for wet waste correctly.  I was glad that this person had a clearer the idea what we had said. Fortunately many others also understood the right way to use the bucket eventually. 

    U Pein bridge 1: What does a bridge mean to a community?

    I want to maintain this bridge as our daily wage depends on this,” told to me (Khin Khin Nyein) by one of the women vendors. We observed that she was chewing the beetle leaves and we asked, “where do you spit the beetle juice?” She replied immediately, “[o]n the ground” with a shy laugh. I think the reason why she laughed was because she recognised that she herself did something which made the bridge dirty. 

    Food preparation: Questions of hygiene

    "We used to pack food while wearing gloves but some customers would ask us to take them off and then pack with bare hands," one of the vednor's response to us when we asked her why she didn't wear gloves while packing food.

    We were puzzled by this response. Why did the customers ask the vendors to remove their gloves? How did the customers perceive gloves? Is there lack of awareness over hygiene? Do people - vendors and customers- view hygiene differently?

     

    Changing nature of public spaces

    It was believed that if one made a wish with their arms wrapped around the Iron pillar with their back against it their wish would be granted. Before the iron railings that ‘protect’ the Iron Pillar today, many visitors, both young and old, would try their luck at making a wish. Similar are the memories of long-time residents of Mehrauli. Many remember being able to freely enter the Qutub Minar complex and playing or picnicking, before the ticket booths and high walls of today.

    Building vocational skills

    The Saunders Art, Gallery and Museum were opened on the August 2, 2004 to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Saunders Weaving and Vocational Institute. It was supported by the Small Scale Industries Department (Myanmar) and Kanasarwa College (Japan). The objectives of establishing the museum were to develop vocational school studies and small scale industries in rural area. There are three rooms: museum, demonstration room and gallery.

    Making jou: Traditional Boro rice beer

    Jou is the most favoured traditional brew of the Boro people in Assam. It has social, cultural and religious usage but jou for a long time was identified with the community. Particularly the Hindu caste society of Assam looked down upon the indigenous (tribal) people of Assam because of their traditional lifeways that involved making and drinking of jou. But for the Boros, no ritual and custom is complete without it. Traditionally, Boro women were expected to know how to make jou, and therefore, this community knowledge also is held by women.

    Trades of a Town: Tendu Patta

    Madhya Pradesh is India’s leading tendu leaf producing state. Used primarily to make Beedi , this valuable forest produce has a history of control and ownership over the years. Piyush Kothari (63), a local tendu merchant based in Pipariya, talks about the changes in the trade and how the town’s proximity to nearby forest tracts made it suitable for the early traders. Excerpts from our recorded conversation (December 2017):   

    Lunyakyaw-kyo-gyi acheik: Snippets from the book

    This photo is from a book, Lunyakyaw-kyo-gyi acheik / လွန်းရာကျော်ကြိုးကြီးချိတ်, written by U Shwe Htun about the textile industry and textile design. It is a good source to understand the history of acheik, its evolution, the process and preservation till 2005. One of the interesting part of the history, as mentioned in the book, is the different attitudes of the reigning regime towards this weaving practice. For example, while acheik  was not allowed to be woven in the Bagan period, but in the Innwa period  (1346-1526 C.E.) only a lower quality was woven.

    What happens when university students invest in community

    Those kids were coming to us in the village where we were sharing knowledge. They were so happy to learn with us. They were playing around when we first went there. 

    When I looked at those kids, I felt that they had very little of health education because they were dirty and didn’t even were footwear or slippers. But when they were running to me,I felt how they loved to learn with us. And I felt that I m a useful person and that I was so impressive to them as an educated person. In other words, I learnt to be a little proud of myself.

    Lining the slippers 1: Making a difference

    When I see their slippers, I feel that they are unsystematic. This is where we begin sharing knowledge with them.

     

    ဒီကလေးလ က ဒီေုမိ ျိုး စည်းကမ်းမရှိဖြစ်လေ ာကို ဖြုဖြင်လြးချင်စိ ်လ ဖြစ်မိ ယ်။ ဥြမာ ဒီေုမိ ျိုး စည်းကမ်းမရှိ ဲ့ အဖြစ်မျိုးကို ဖခားနိုင်ငံဖခားသား စ်လယာက်လယာက်ကသာ ဖမင်သ ားရင် ဖမေ်မာေူမျိုးက ဒီေုမိ ျိုးေား ဆို ာမျိုး

    မဖမင်လစချင်ဘူး။ အဲေုိ အဖမင်ခံရ ာေည်း များခဲ့ပြ။ီ ထြ်ပြီးလ ာ့ မဖြစ်လစချင် လ ာ့ဘူး။ဒါကကီးကိုဖြင်ြစ်ချင် ဲ့စိ ်လ ဖြစ်ော ယ်။ 

    Lining the slippers 2: Making a difference

    I just ask them “does it look good when you see your slippers messy?”

    They said “No”.

    Then, I ask them “how will you solve this problem?”

    They said that they will place their slippers systematically.

    I understand that they can be changed easily if they have good guidelines. I feel that I can change some parts of their life.

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