Monday, October 14, 2013

Darjeeling 2013

This year I spent most of my time in Darjeeling (aka Dorje Ling) gazing at the mountains.
view from our hotel

Of course being Darjeeling's most famous product we learned a lot about tea, well lets say heard a lot about tea as now when I try to remember what was said all I can remember is how different it tastes & smells when picked in the different seasons.  Perhaps I was still a bit dazed from too much gazing at the mountains.

Tea pickers 

Darjeeling has an interesting mix of old Anglo-India buildings and the new Indian fashion of square cement boxes. 

Now we move on to Pelling, a small village in Sikkim ... much closer to those magical mountains

Monday, November 12, 2012

Merrick - Our helper

Luckily this year Merrick came to help hand out all the envelopes, I always seem to underestimate how many there are now.  He also ended up fixing washing machines, drinking a lot of chai and shifting our hotel rooms 5 times.  Here is a photo glimpse of his journey.
Ready with the sponsor envelopes, waiting for me to call their names
Mr Fix it trying to get the washing machine at the Nyingma Gonpa to work again

Emptying all the garbage inside might help
With Phurgyal who he has sponsored for many years

Hanging out with the boys for morning chai
Saying farewell to Nyima & Sonam

Monday, November 5, 2012

Children of Tso Pema

On our first day at Tso Pema we were met by lots of children.  Usually we don't meet all the children who are at boarding school but this year we were lucky as they had a couple of days holiday.  Here are a few of them

Yangchen & Samdrup

Dolma & Metok

Yeshe & Deckyi Dolker

Tsekyi Lhamo & Tenzin Samphel

Gelek, Tenzin Paldon, Thakpa &Karma Tashi Dargye
Lhakar & Tashi Lhamo

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Day in Delhi

Always a warm welcome at Shanti Home

A special celebration this year
An Indian cake for our 20th anniversary!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bir 2011

We spent a  couple of days visiting Bir ... so many interesting places to see.  Thanks to Graeme Ross for most of the photos.

Some vagrants in the temple at Deer Park Institute

Deer Park Institute is a centre for the study of classical Indian wisdom traditions. The core vision of the Institute is to re-create the spirit of Nalanda, a great university of ancient India in which all traditions of Buddhism were studied and practiced, alongside other schools of classical Indian philosophy, arts and sciences.

the monks rooms from the temple steps
Dzongsar Khyentse Chokyi Lodro Institute has a faculty of highly trained khenpos and hundreds of students enrolled in an intensive nine-year graduate program.  There are eleven classrooms, a library, computer and reading rooms.  Each year the students undertake the study of two major texts or commentaries, plus subjects such as logic, grammar, monastic discipline, and poetry.

Look out, those hang gliders are wild
 Bir was full of hang gliders from all over the world for some competition ... the ones staying in our hotel were very loud & drunk Russians who decided to sing...

Tea in flower ... spot the caterpillar

Ive seen so many tea plantations and never seen her beautiful flowers before

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sponsoring at Tso Pema - by Chloe

Preparations for sponsorship at Tso Pema

Day 4 – Tso Pema, Himachal Pradesh, India.  We were dropping off a sponsorship to a Tibetan lama.  While there we met an older woman who was on the sponsorship list from last year and nobody had volunteered to sponsor her.  She started to cry and her desperation was palpable ... and it broke our hearts.  This was just one reminder to us of the value of this work.  That $200 can change someone’s life for a year; the cost of 4 weeks of cappuccinos in Australia!

Many recipients were in tears of gratitude when they received their sponsorship money, to think that there is someone on the other side of the world to care enough to give them money to survive. 

The honour and privilege our family felt to witness and be a part of this process which makes such a strong bond with the people, was immense.  As my daughter Mallory said, these people have so little, but gave us so much grace, gratitude, joy and love.  We went there thinking we were helping, but in fact received so very much.

There are so many stories, too many to share here.  But if anybody wants to know more and feels the desire to hear some first hand accounts, please feel free to contact any of us through Pantha.

It was such a wonderful, wonderful experience.  We would highly recommend  anyone to take the opportunity Pantha offers to journey with her to these beautiful settings and meet these astounding people.  We not only got to witness  the importance of these sponsorships to them, but also felt profoundly accepted, nurtured and humbled by them both as individuals, and as a community .

Mallory, Graeme & Chloe

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tso Pema School - by Mallory

Mallory & the kids

 Many thanks to Mallory for this special guest post

On Friday I was given the opportunity to spend a day at the Tibetan school.
I think the memory of that day will stay with me my whole life. It was one of the most amazing experiences that I have been able to take part of in my life. I wouldn’t trade the memory of the kind children for anything.

When I arrived at the school the kids were doing an exercise outside so sat down on a chair and watched. After that all of the younger students came up to me to shake my hand and say good morning. From that time I new the day was going to begin. The older students went to class to start work while the younger kids started to play with blocks. I was still sitting on a chair with two of the teachers while a hand full of young girls were cuddling the teachers. It was so lovely to see this because I saw how much the kids respected the teachers and the teachers respected the kids back. Then one little girl grabbed my hand and led me over to where all of the other children were playing. She sat me down on a cushion while a group of girls swarmed me with blocks and pretended it was make up. In a way I was glad they didn’t have real make up other wise my face would have had fifteen different lip sticks, eye shadow blush etc.
Then a little puppy decided to join us. I was consistently telling the children to be gentle with it and they were. The love all of the young kids had was just wonderful.
I then played a coupe of rounds of badminton with various children and teachers while two little kids were fighting over who got to give me the birdy after it had fallen onto the ground.
After that my parents cam to look at the school and all of the kids were in class. After my parents left I sat into one of the classes and watched the boys learn English. After that period everyone sat down and ate lunch.
After I finished my meal that was very tasty three girls lead me to a class room where there were a swarm of kids drawing on the black board.
At the end of the day all of the younger students and I were sitting in a circle while the kids were singing and two girls were hugging my arms and giving me kisses.

The whole day couldn’t of been better. I realised that all of the children didn’t have much yet they seemed like the happiest children I have ever met. They were happy to go to school and learn. Another thing that really made me smile was the love that the older children bestowed to the children younger then them. The older boys looked after the younger kids as if they were related. It was a reall small school with around 42 children and the really were just like one big family! I am so glad I was able to have the privilege to visit the school and I would visit again if I could in a heart beat!