I got home on Monday, and looked at my Indian cell phone. I was going through it, and realized how quickly I add numbers, and delete them. Whether it’s just numbers of people passing through town, or of my friends there.
On this past trip, two of my best friends there left India to start new lives in the West. I’ve watched them for the past year struggle and worry about getting the proper papers so they could travel — and leave their lives in exile.
The last week I was there, my friend Kyipa and I went to Chauntra elders home to have tea with the elders. Kyipa still had mugs from our last trip, so we went over with our friend Dorjee, who played traditional Tibetan music during the tea.
The Hope Center did a Q&A with two ex-political prisoners, which was really well attended.
So much of my time in the last two weeks was on the SamaSource program, we interviewed students who may become the potential workers. This was after an afternoon of meetings:
This program is amazing, and part of the reason I’ve been working hard on fund raising. It will start off training 10 students for outsourced work, then after training, the students will become paid workers. Work is next to impossible to find in Dharamsala. Before I left for India this time, I had meetings with the Tibetan Government, and then while I was there, with countless people to secure the location, and find the right person to be the location manager. When I return in February, the program should just be getting off the ground! SamaSource is a nonprofit that brings outsourced work to refugees, women, and poor communities where work is hard to get. They started just over a year ago, and I’m really happy to be able to bring their model to Dharamsala, It’s my goal that if this pilot goes well, that we can expand it into the other Tibetan refugee settlements in India — I’ve already started to have meetings to realize that goal.
If you’ve been following the puppies, they are all fixed now, and several have been adopted. Thanks to Deb and Arvind for all their hard work for the animals!
When you leave to go somewhere, in Tibetan culture, it is common for everyone to see you off, and present you with a khata, a white scarf.
These are my students at IBD:
And all the monks and artists from Ganden came to see me off at the bus station.
I’m continuing to sponsor the English classes for Ganden at the Hope Center, and I will also continue teaching at IBD when I return!
Geshela and I also worked together the last week, choosing new pictures of the children, and updating his website with their pictures, so please check out www.savezanskar.org!