By The Nation
Wat Moung Sa Noi in Tambon Nok Ok hosted a re-opening ceremony on Tuesday for 70 local seniors to participate in a special project called “Sil Ha Charasuk School” (Ageing happily while maintaining the five Buddhist precepts).
The move was an idea of Abbot Phra Kru Soponparsitthikhun.
As a gimmick for the school’s re-opening following the April break, the elderly wore student uniforms and joined fellow schoolmates at the playground of Wat Moung School before class teacher Tuanjai Pansanoi had them introduce themselves.
They also joined games to “break the ice” such as a contest of ping-pong ball transfer with spoons and a balloon-blowing contest.
Some “students” had to spit out betel nut juice to join this lung exercising activity, which made their colleagues laugh.
The abbot said rural communities nowadays see people leave to work in big cities, leaving elderly relatives behind at home, so the latter become stressed.
Normal activities on Buddhist holidays at the temple weren’t enough to meet seniors’ needs. So, he established the “Sil Ha Charasuk School” to get them engaged in vocational training, games and prayer.
The school has opened every Sunday since February from 8am to 4pm and is due to run till August. After closing for a break in April, it re-opened on Tuesday, he said.
Somjai Choomsanoi, 75, said attending the school and having fun with fellow seniors was better than staying at home alone and feeling lonely, while their children went to work and grandchildren went to school.