Hello and Tashi Delek!
Today was a great day as I had the wonderful opportunity of accompanying a family to the Tibetan settlement in Mundgod. The family expressed interest in my work when we met and I mentioned I was looking at ways to develop a tour in which people could visit the Tibetan community in hopes of bringing more international support and awareness to the Tibetan cause. So yesterday we took the bus 4 hours to the Tibetan community leaving behind the luxury of the beach and the western flare of accommodations for tourists. Unfortunately, most of our day yesterday was trying to figure out where they could stay since all foreigners are required to have a permit which takes at least 3 months to acquire if you are lucky. Also there is only one hotel available in a village which is not that close. This issue of accommodations proves to be a barrier in preventing some tourists from being able to visit the Tibetan community.
The first day we visited the screen printing shop where they make prayer flags and also the rice mill where the Tibetan organic farmers take the paddy to be milled. Then overcoming the issues of the previous day we started a fresh day together this morning and we ventured to the Loseling Monastery.
The first activity of the day found us watching the monks in the their morning debate. The family wandered freely to drift in and among the monks as they diligently debated the Buddhist philosophy.
There was some heated action in one group of monks which drew our attention to see what the commotion was. Then in the end of the debate two monks showed interest in having the photo opportunity with two of the beautiful children.
Then as all the monks were departing to find their way to the prayer hall two Tibetan women in traditional dress graced us with their presence also for a photo opportunity.
Then we ventured on to the prayer hall.
There we found the monks chanting their beautiful prayers and the family was able to explore the area and take in the sounds and sights of the beautiful Loseling Prayer Hall.
We were joined by the wonderful Geshe Tsundue who has a smile that touches everyone who has an opportunity to encounter him.
We then went to Camp 3, where we indulged in 3 kinds of momos and Geshe offered a short Tibetan language class. During lunch the youngest was so cute she took fruit to the Indian woman and her children who were begging and she sat and joined them for a banana.
Following lunch there was shopping and traditional dress was purchased for the young Tibetan activist.
Then the children played with the Tibetan children in the playground while Geshe la so kindly blessed their prayer flags they purchased and said his goodbye offering his generosity with gifts to the family as a token of his appreciation.
There was a warm feeling all around as the guests were touched by Geshe’s generosity.
We then met with camp leaders to visit an organic farm where the guests offered their knowledge and ideas of organic farming while the children tried their luck at husking the paddy by hand.
Following we visited the Ganden Monastery where the family had the opportunity to see the large kitchens and preparations of food for thousands of monks.
After visiting the prayer hall we too said our goodbyes.
I am so thankful to this lovely family for their time and interest in the Tibetan community and for offering me the opportunity to show them around. I believe they too have now been deeply touched like many of us who have had the experience of this wonderful and beautiful culture. It is experiences like this that Pennies for Partnerships hopes to help establish support from the international community for the Tibetan people.
The gift the family gave to Pennies for Partnerships was the opportunity to see if it is possible to do small minitours that will offer exposure and also bring ideas and support to the organic farmers. Now the next step is taking a farmhouse in the near Indian Village where we can house the guests in exchange for a donation to the Pennies for Partnerships project. I have located a farmhouse in a mango grove which is offered by an Indian man who is a philanthropist and is involved with the Tibetan Organic farmers. He is currently offering the house for free, additionally providing a watchman/cook. The house is within walking distance to the Tibetan settlement for those who wish to walk through the fields and groves. The Indian people of his village will also benefit as it will bring tips and donations for the watchman/cook and he will also offer a driver for a daily discounted rate. The longterm opportunity to start the hostel will also provide housing opportunities for volunteers and interns who wish to work on the Pennies for Partnerships project.
One step at a time in the direction of garnering support and awareness from the International community. At this time the farmhouse will need only a few things to get it prepared as it needs mattresses, bedsheets/blankets and a washing bucket . It is in my estimation it will cost approximately $100 to prepare the farmhouse for visitors. If you are interested in assisting with the preparations for the Pennies for Partnerships Hostel your gift will be greatly appreciated. You can donate through paypal or contact me directly through the comment field and I can provide you other options. Look for the donate button on the side bar or visit our main website for Tibetan Cultural Institute of Arkansas
Thank you for your consideration. As well we are still building the funds for the next rice distribution and we are additionally looking into the way in which we can provide financial support or microloans for greenhouses as an alternative method to organic farming so that monsoon season does not completely devastate the farmers.
Sharing is Caring so if you have the time please feel free to share this link with others and remember your Penny Jars are the source of support to many who live on less than a dollar a day. For those in the International Community a penny in the USA currency is the smallest coin so if you too have a small cent that sits not being utilized please consider donating. The concept of Pennies for Partnerships is that a little goes a long way when many contribute a small amount it adds up to a substantial amount to assist those who have very little.
Thanks for keeping up with our developments and always…. a big thanks for your support to the Tibetan community in exile.