photos to enlarge
Spent the day with Wangden and Tenchoe (pronounced tenchu) What a great kid.
Today was a very light rain all day but it did not deter the travel or the shooting.
Wangden took me on a tour of the Tibetan Children’s Village School (http://www.tcewf.org/schools/tcv.html) that now serves 5000 children in the Dharamsala/ McLeod Gang area. It’s an amazing accomplishment. Tenchoe is a very independent 8-year old.
While driving, she is the copilot for Wangden, honking the horn and wiping the fog off the inside glass when needed. She is self-assured, and does not need emotional reinforcement and like all the Tibetans, she is easy to smile.
We also went to another town where the Karmapa Lama has his monastery. (http://www.kagyuoffice.org/ ) It is quite a place. He, like the Dalai Lama is guarded, but unlike the Dalai Lama, while he has asylum in India to study, his movements are restricted and this explains also why I had to send the questions ahead, because he cannot discuss politics or international issues due to pressure on India from China.
From there, with copilot Tenchoe handling the horn Wangden drove to the Tibetan Government offices and also the monastery of the very important Tibetan oracle. The Oracle told the Dalai Lama, "Leave now" when he went into exile in 1959 while 30,000 Tibetans surrounded his palace in fear of what the Chinese were planning.
When Wangden pulled back into McLeod Ganj, he had to go and park the car, so he dropped Tenchoe and I off in the street and she led me to the Snow Lion restaurant. She handled getting us a seat with the owner and asked for menu.
She understands English but prefers not to speak it. It has something to do with the English learning process in the schools and does not like being ridiculed by other kids who tease about English.
She is quite a well-mannered 8-year old and very very bright. Wangden was the perfect tour guide providing information and education along the way. He is a brilliant man. Tomorrow we will meet with the head of Tibet's department of information for a meeting to discuss the project and how we put out information.
The interview with the Karmapa will hopefully sort itself out as he is out of town giving teachings through Feb 10. (I have allowed Feb 11-17) and while I have confirmation for the interview, I do not have a date. (In the end, the Karmapa remained out of town and the interview did not take place).
Visually and respectfully, Joe Mickey
For one night, I have moved to the top luxury hotel in McLeod Ganj, mainly for the heater and hot water... they gave me an off season 40 percent discount so I am paying $16 for the deluxe suite while keeping my $4-per-night-room. Off to eat my 60-cent dinner and then back to the room... the hot water runs 6-10 p.m.
Visually and respectfully, Joe Mickey, Mcleod Gang
Had quite a day today. Today went with Wangden and taped an interview with the head of Tibet’s department of information. What a force in a man with a very light physical stature. Whew! What determination.
Then made the donation of the 1932 Tibetan text to their Archive museum. In return, I was allowed into the vault of Tibetan texts that were saved from destruction by China. I got tape of that as well. I was allowed to handle the original transcripts of the first volume of the teachings of the Buddha written in gold and silver on a handmade rice paper in the 14th century.
Following that, spent the afternoon on a road that goes around the Dalai Lama's compound and directly in front of the house are huge stupas and more prayer flags than you can imagine... More Whew!
I met Wangden's wife. She is the director for the Tibetan Medicine facility and went to their place, very neat 200 square feet for 4 people and Wangden's editing bay.
These are an amazing people. Everyone greets in the street, the children are happy without special electric toys or gizmos and there is great.. great determination and will here. The city is built on the hillsides and the sound of laughter and singing is constant with the sound of daily life and marketplace.
They have built an amazing community from nothing and while it may not look like much on the surface due to building methods, materials and harsh weather, they have created an unbelievable community. One-school alone houses 5,000 students and they are determined to continue, hoping that they represent to the world the possibility of a better human being on the inside.
That’s my day... off to eat momos at a restaurant run by monks... should cost about 40 cents...
Sorry for the typos... already lost this one once to a power failure
Visually and Respectfully, Joe Mickey, McLeod Ganj
Gallery 51 continues diary