Zee Haut Sein (mother) and U Kyaw Htike (father) have waited 7 years for their son to have his cleft lip and palate repaired. In March 2014 we repaired his lip and October 2014 his palate. They are farmers in the Sitkyine region outside Mandalay, 13 hours bus ride from Yangon and they earn 200,000 kyat ($200 US) annually. Aung Aung’s life before and after is quite different.
Before his lip repair he was shy and reserved. However, his parents told us that he has “spirit” and when the other kids would make fun of him he wanted to “fight.” He only attended school for one year before they removed him and arranged through an uncle his ultimate admission into monk-hood. They wanted blessings for him and not such a difficult life considering his deformity. He was constantly the subject of ridicule and joking and even his fellow novice monks were abusive. Imagine how sad this must have been for such a young child living in a monastery where there is supposed to be peace and harmony.
After his first surgery he returned to the Monastery with confidence and enjoyed the daily readings and meditations. They told us he has been called handsome by many, which makes him smile. And what a great smile he has! We have repaired his palate now too and his parents tell me they feel his “spirit” will be stronger too. Imagine the blessings that will flow from the mouth of this young novice monk as he begins to speak. We feel he will be a great monk and share peace and tranquility with many, just as he has done with AfS team members in Yangon.