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11/13/2008

A Moment away from the Busy Schedule Part 3: Three Shunidy Sisters and “Thanaka”

13_nov__low When I visit the field, I always stay with the three sisters of the Shunidy family. With them, there is always something to do with "Thanaka", Myanmar’s traditional natural cosmetic product. Thanaka is made from the bark of citrus trees and by grating it with a special stone just for the purpose of making this product. Women and kids are the main users and they enjoy using it as a sunscreen by applying it onto their skin.

The history of thanaka is long; it is even carved in a mural decoration which belongs to the Bagan kingdom (AD 1044 -) - the first kingdom in Myanmar. It is said that good old wives had put the thanaka on their face and longed for their husbands’ homecoming.

The three sisters taught me how to use it, after they had taken a morning shower. In addition, they advised me to put sandalwood aroma (a grated bark) on my hands and legs, since thanaka itself does not have much of a scent.

The three sisters repeat the same procedure after their evening showers. We have a lively conversation while having a light meal together. I'd be probably well adopted in the village with thanaka on me; people treat me like as if I were one of their family members.

When we foreigners work in the local field, JEN respects the customs and cultures of the country in various situations, and puts the best effort to blend into the local cultures to construct a better relationship with the local people.

November 13, 2008 in Myanmar |