It’s hard to believe that two weeks have gone by since my last post… so much has happend and yet not so much ha ha. Just been hangen’ out…
Things have been good. I’ve been teaching English at Lha and exploring around town, making friends and getting out on some hikes. I am really enjoying being here in Mcleod Ganj for an extended amount of time. It allows for some neat opportunities… Although my time here has been good, I was having a little trouble processing things at the begging of the week… On Monday I went to a ceremony at the Dalai Lama’s temple that was kind of intense…
The ceremony was held because it was the 49th day since Jampha Yeshi, a Tibetan Refugee, who was a community member of Mcleod Ganj, self-immolated in New Delhi during a protest of the Chinese government. I remember reading the NY Times at work in Fort Collins in early April, and seeing the horrible image of the 26 year old running as he was totally consumed by flames the day after it happend. The Tibetans traditionally morn for 49 days there was a special ceremony for Jampha Yeshi at the temple not only because he was a member of this small community, but because he was also the 49th martyr this year. Thats, the 49th Tibetan to willingly douse themselves in gasoline and set themselves on fire to bring attention to human rights violations going on in Tibet… Many of these immolations don’t make the international media though because they happen in Tibet and the Chinese government is so clamped down on the media they don’t get out.
Here is one of the pretty graphic posters that can be found all over town…
Yeshi left a letter addressed to the Tibetan people. It is copied below…
“Long Live His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who is the shining example of world peace. We must strive to ensure return of His Holiness to Tibet. I pray and believe that the Tibetan people in and outside Tibet will be united and sing the Tibetan national anthem in front of the Potala Palace.
My fellow Tibetans, when we think about our future happiness and path, we need loyalty. It is the life-soul of a people. It is the spirit to find truth. It is the guide leading to happiness. My fellow Tibetans, if you want equality and happiness as the rest of the world, you must hold onto this word ‘LOYALTY’ towards your country. Loyalty is the wisdom to know truth from falsehood. You must work hard in all your endeavors, big or small.
Freedom is the basis of happiness for all living beings. Without freedom, six million Tibetans are like a butter lamp in the wind, without direction. My fellow Tibetans from Three Provinces, it is clear to us all that if we unitedly put our strength together, there will be result. So, don’t be disheartened.
What I want to convey here is the concern of the six million Tibetans. At a time when we are making our final move toward our goal – if you have money, it is the time to spend it; if you are educated it is the time to produce results; if you have control over your life, I think the day has come to sacrifice your life. The fact that Tibetan people are setting themselves on fire in this 21st century is to let the world know about their suffering, and to tell the world about the denial of basic human rights. If you have any empathy, stand up for the Tibetan people.
We demand freedom to practice our religion and culture. We demand freedom to use our language. We demand the same right as other people living elsewhere in the world. People of the world, stand up for Tibet. Tibet belongs to Tibetans. Victory to Tibet!”
Here is a link to a NY Times article if you want to read more about it.
There are posters of this letter and Yeshi running though the street in Delhi engulfed in flames all over mailboxes and posting boards McLeod Ganj… Losing a 26 yr old youth is very hard on the community let alone 49 of them this year….
Aside from that, I have also been helping edit emigration forms of a Tibetan friend that is trying to get out of India in hopes of seeking a better life. Although life in India is better than it is in Tibet, refugees still don’t have citizenship here. That means no govt services, can’t buy a house, cant start any kind of big business, no passport, no working for the govt schools etc.. Can’t go back to Tibet either. They’ed get thrown in jail immediatly if they went home… It’s also really hard to leave India as well… Pretty crazy stuff… Also just lots of stories first hand stories about how bad, violent, and oppressed the situation is in Tibet right now. Totally different lifestyle here…
But… on a lighter note, last week I went by Lha to meet up with some Monks I met at the Conversational English class. We were supposed to go to the temple and walk around, but instead they wanted to go swimming as it was super hot that afternoon. So, we walked over to the next town together to cool off. To my surprise, in the bottom of the forested valley there was a huge blue-tiled pool that a freezing cold river ran into and flowed out of. And, there was no less than 50 Tibetan monks all going for a swim. Ha ha ha… It was pretty comical seeing the maroon-robed monks talking with goggles and swimming caps on around the pool. Who guessed thank monks love to go swimming?..
Here are my three friends on the way back to town after swimming ( I didn’t think to take any while we were at the pool… From left to right their names are Cham-ba, Tashi, and Thim-ba… Good bros for sure.
Also, I have been exploring the hills around town. I found this neat spot the other day… There’s just something cool about climbing to the top of a huge hill and seeing hundreds of prayer flags blowing in the wind.
I remember before I left Durango that I was getting ready to start making a lot of very short but meaningful friendships with people. It is neat phenomena that comes along with traveling and if you are ready to accept it, can show you some neat things. A great example being… I met a really neat American guy the other day named Rob. I caught him on the last two days of his trip here in Asia. He had spent seven months in Nepal and walked across half of the country solo. Amazing guy to talk to. He had some crazy stories about walking from village to village in the huge valleys of the Nepalese Himalaya and visiting Everest. We met in one of my favorite cafes in McLeod and talked for like four hours about life, philosophy politics, hiking and travel. We were having so much fun that we decided to go on a hike together the next day before he left. We met for breakfast at the cafe the next day and then headed out. It was a great day talking and getting to know each other a bit more and spending time outside.
Here are Rob and me at the end of our long day hiking/bushwacking in the foot hills. It is amazing how good of a friend you can make in 48 hrs. I hope to meet up with him again at some point.
This last weekend I had an opportunity to take some night photos as well. Me and my buddy Oscar went up to Triund to camp for a night. It was great getting out of town and up higher into the hills for two days and a night. I brought my camera gear and took some photos.
And, as customary I will leave you all with a picture of a mountain ha ha ha.
Mitse sa-ching-bo rey (life is precious/beautiful in Tibetan),