Blog May – rounding off the work in India and visiting Nepal
Before leaving for India last year, I remember how afraid I was to let go of my job and financial security in Norway. Now I am soon returning form living cheaply in the Himalayas, unafraid of coming back to Oslo without having a job, having learned that when you follow your heart and do what you think is right, somehow things will work out (well, that doesn’t always apply to romantic matters, haha, the universe seems more supportive when you do things for others….). I’ve got this peaceful feeling that all is well, the children in Sonada have clean drinking water, free medicines and improved primary health care services. And a little more comfort in their living conditions. I made a small photo exhibition of the work and life in the Tibetan settlement in Sonada before I left. It was delightful to watch the children see themselves on the wall. Later they got copies of pictures of themselves, partly donated by a very sweet young lady from Thaiwan. Lama Changchub came to help me finish off the work, just in time to see the remainder of the exhibition that blew down by a big wind. And some photos mysteriously disappeared…. The lady in the photo shop said I should be flattered.
Upon leaving it is good to know that our health project in Sonada is in good hands and well taken care of by Tenzin, the Tibetan Welfare officer. His office will administer the clinic and sponsorships and follow up on health issues. He appreciates Shenpen’s concern that our funding really reaches the target fast. (Swiftness is usually not easy in India….). A good partner with the same aim means everything to get the work done. I will miss them all, Tenzin, nurses Ambika and Dolma (I used to hang out in the clinic a lot with them), dr. Sherpa, the ever cleaning Gang Maya, Urgyen the sweet accountant, hard working Wangdi and DJ and hostel warden Lobsang and hostel mother Pema and all the children.
Most of all I feel gratitude to all the people back home who rejoiced in the work. You can say what you want about people, how egocentric and materialistic they are in the west, but in my experience people are generous and easily rejoice when someone helps the poor or needy. It’s like everybody has this feeling of wanting to help inside, even when one is momentarily unable to do much, due to the situation. In Buddhist philosophy rejoicing is regarded as a virtue in itself, and rejoicing for a positive action is seen to give the same karma as actually doing it yourself! And then people get great ideas, like my friend Trude who made a second hand sale for the benefit of Shenpen in her back yard in Oslo on first of May and raised many thousand kroner. When she ran out of things to sell the neighbors brought things from their homes, and the people who came really enjoyed themselves and dug deeply into their pockets to help unknown children in the Himalayas. And my long term worry about the lack of vegetables and fruits in the diet of 200 children was suddenly relieved. Now the good idea in Oslo has become enough fruits and vegetables for the summer months, and the clinic has got extra medicine support and a little buffer in case of emergencies. Well done, Trude!
Packing up in Darjeeling was kind of sad, impermanence came as it always does, and I had to leave my nice balcony view and good neighbors and friends. Now Lama Changchub and I have travelled to Nepal to connect with our future projects there. Shenpen is expanding our activities. The Tibetan Health Minister requested us recently to help with clean water for 3000 Tibetan refugees in Miao Settlement in Arunachal Pradesh in north-east India, but since going there requires a special permit that takes long to obtain (the area is politically sensitive) so we were not able to go there this time, but have to communicate with them on internet and telephone. Here in Nepal there are also obstructions due to strikes and uprising in conjunction with the new constitution planned 27th May. If all goes well I will be able to visit a Nepali village and meet low cast schoolgirls who need help to go to school, accompanied by Prem, a low cast Nepali teacher who was the first one to get higher education in his village and now helps children to do the same. I also hope to visit a Tibetan settlement in Pokhara to make plans for future work with them and donate the remainder of Trude’s flee marked money for medicines for elders, which they are in great need of.
Thanks again to all kind helpers who have supported Shenpen’s work this year. I cannot name you all. But I want to send a special thanks to Anne in Tromsø, who’s huge donation last year has helped us run the clinic and give free medicines to all the children in Sonada. Her donation will also be used to sponsor a Tibetan girl for three years of studies in India to become a fully qualified nurse.
Another good news is that Lama Karma who was suffering from resistant TB for 35 years, finally has been cured due to kind helpers in Norway. The medicine was really expensive, but it worked.
The other day I was making photos of all the people walking around Boudha stupa at sunset when my dear teacher Ringu Tulku suddenly appeared in my camera lens. I had to laugh. Amazing experience for a devotee like me…. He sends his love and promises to come to Norway next year.
Right now, the sound of pujas and drums and trumpets are filling the air around the great stupa in Kathmandu. The sound of positive intention. I like to be in that vibration. It is a good place to get stuck in case of strike.
To all my friends in Norway – see you in June! You will soon be invited to a small photo exhibition in Paramita meditation centre in Oslo, where you can see the project work in pictures.