Children with Thanakha makeup on their faces

I was at a monastery in Kaungdaing yesterday. It had a beautiful view of Inle Lake, so I found a bench and started writing. I accumulated an audience of children, initiates, and occasionally monks. They were apparently fascinated by written english although it appeared none could speak the language, never mind deciphering my handwriting. This young girl (and the younger boy behind her who I took to be her brother) watched me for as much as half an hour. Very serious, never cracked a smile - most of the children giggled and laughed, or at least smiled back at me. But the only time I got a reaction was when I showed her this picture on the camera screen.

Thanakha is the bark of a tree which is ground off and mixed with water and then applied to the face. The purpose is either skin protection or makeup or both, depending on who and when you ask. Many women wear it (very few wear lipstick or eye makeup), and some male children wear it but not adult men. I don't know why, this is just what I see.