Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tso Pema March 3,4 & 5

Tso Pema .... the last few days

Wednesday 3rd March

Today the Tso Pema Tibetan Kids Garden Nursery School is open again after their winter vacation. Yangchen Dolker, who manages the school, welcomes & cares for the new students. Their school room is the old office as their playroom was declared too dangerous for anything but storage ... holes in the floor. Some of them are bitterly disappointed I dont have bags of lollies & others are fascinated with their image in the camera.

We say good bye to four of the young monks who have now finished their schooling. The nun who has been teaching them Tibetan for the last year has impressed everyone with her skill. All over town people whisper to me how grateful they are to have her.

Thursday 4th March

Some sponsors arrive for the day. For the first time this visit it pours with rain so we scuttle around trying to avoid the mud. We visit the school again ... a new teacher starts today & we listen to him teaching English. One of the new students just cant believe i would turn up again without lollies ... when i offer him a banana instead he looks at me with complete disdain.

After lunch we go up to the Holy Cave of Guru Rinpoche. We meet the nuns ... have some mandatory tea & tears ... sit for a while in the Holy Cave & light butterlamps for a recently departed friend.

It is so wonderful to spend time with Ani Bumchung again.

Friday 5th March

After breakfast the sponsors leave in a whirl of katags & excited young children.

Inspect the new washing machine bought by the health & caring project for the old monks at the Nyingma Gonpa. Happy to see how excited they all are by this small machine & to see (& smell) how clean their rooms are now.

Ani Wangmo is crying again ... Tulku Choying Rangdrol is in hospital in South India where they think he will get the best care. We ring his wife who is by his bedside. No-one knows what the right English words are for his condition, all i can understand is there is something wrong with his bones, pancreas & heart. I give her a small donation towards the spiralling cost of the hospital. Momo Yeshe's has been sick as well ... her blood pressure is too high ... need to bring some more blood pressure monitors next trip. Some more nuns have arrived & get their photos taken in the hope of sponsorship. Thupten Jigdrel has lost a lot of weight ... not another one sick I hope ... no he says laughing ... he has been doing lots of prostrations every day & is now very fit!

After a long day of catch ups I arrive back at the hotel at 9.30pm to find a cue of a dozen people waiting ... perhaps I should open a 2nd hand katag(offering scarf) shop...

Try to sleep ... have to leave at 4am to drive to the airport. Some young monks in the room next door are so excited to be staying in a hotel they have turned their tv to top volume to watch bollywood soaps ... they giggle & gossip excitedly til 1am. I remind myself that if they were in my position they would just go to sleep ...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

BIR 24th Feb - 2nd Mar

Bir is beautiful ... wide open skies .... photos seem better than words

An evening view across the valley to the himalayas. Every morning the peaks are covered in snow that recedes during the warmth of the day (relative warmth of course!)

I always have to take a photo (or 10) of the beautiful Chokling Monastery, seems to look good from any angle

Deer Park, where the teachings (Way of the Bodhisattva) are held. It must be morning cos the mountains have more snow

Our teacher, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. The statue reminds me how much things have changed ... lute( I am sure it has a lovely Indian name but lute is all I can think of) replaced by mobile phone

Sardines in Manjushri Hall (Deer Park) waiting for the can to open

An inspiration for vegetarianism. Thought it was a snake underneath but when I asked ... it was sausages!