Just arrived in Delhi, starting my 9 month trip to India to work for Shenpen Tibet Aid. Yesterday, just before leaving Oslo, I wanted to withdraw cash from the ATM-machine, but got the message that my card was “invalid”, the same card I had just used to pay for the airport train. It somehow had gotten “demagnetized” at the most crucial moment…. Desperately calling the bank while boarding the plane, a very kind young Norwegian lady spontaneously gave me a hundred dollars, enough to get me through the first days in India. Thank you Lene! As soon as I get contact with the bank, you will get your money back!
Arriving in Delhi in the middle of the night, I realized I had forgotten to get the name of the Tibetan settlement where I would go to spend the night, I saw a Tibetan monk in the airport, and asked him for directions. Just come with us, he said, and there I went with a bunch of monks in the taxi, who put me up in an hotel room at 03.00 in the morning. What luck, and the funny thing was that this monk, Yeshe, actually knows Lama Changhcub, the leader of Shenpen, and has been to Norway! He sends his regards.
Sitting around in Majnu-Ka-Tilla today, waiting for the bus to Dharamsala, (where I will go to have a meeting with the Department of Health, concerning our project in Sonada/Darjeeling), an Irish tourist sat down next to me starting to chat. His nickname is Vinny. He told me he was working as a volunteer at an Indian mental hospital across the street. There he is caring for a handicapped Indian boy who has been in his bed for his whole life (18 years), with his hands tied, never seing the sun. So Vinny has untied his hands, takes him into the sun daily, washes him, strokes him and looks into his eyes and just “loves him to bits”. He said that they are not aware of stimulating children in the hospital, and that just a few weeks of kindness has made the boy come alive. I was impressed by Vinny, and told him he is very kind. Yes, Vinny said, I have always been kind hearted. But you know, back in Ireland, people often think it is foolish to give something to others when there is nothing in it for yourself. But I say, give a little, and receive a lot!” As we were talking, many beggars passed us in the street, asking for money, but Vinny winked them away. “I don’t give money, I give myself, my heart. And I don’t give with arrogance, When you truelly serve, you get respect. You have to do it with wisdom”.
I said: Vinny you are really a spiritual man. Oh no, I am not religious at all, says Vinny. Yet you sound like the Dalai Lama himself, I said, talking about wisdom and compassion like that. Oh, Vinny said, then maybe I should go and have a chat with him!”