In Western Shan State, not far from the shores of famous Inle Lake and the thriving town of Nyaungshwe, you will find the hilly village of Tat Ein. Perched on the top of one of the windy hills is a tiny monastery, home to about forty or so novice monks, the numbers rising and falling like the water level in the nearby lake.
When I am in Nyaungshwe I pedal my bicycle over to the village and visit the monastery almost every day. The young monks are a cheerful, curious bunch, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know them over the years. But they are never around for too long. After two or three years in residence they either move on to another monastery or shed their red robes for regular clothing and resume the life of a student or young field worker. In these parts, you never roam too far from your native village.