It’s Best to Remain Calm

Hi everyone,

As I’m sitting here on the couch, sipping on some hot Taj black tea, my mug reads:

Never give up-
no matter what’s going on,
develop the heart,
Too much energy in your country
is spent on developing the mind
instead of the heart,
Develop the heart,
Be Compassionate
not just to your friends,
but to everyone,
Be compassionate,
work for peace
in your heart and in the world.
And I say again,
never give up,
no matter what is happening,
no matter what is going on around you,
Never give up
– Tenzin Gyatso, XIV Dalai Lama

It’s interesting that I just realized the mug had this written on it. Oddly, today I had the Dalai Lama and Tibet on my mind. I was just thinking about Tibet and read about how two Tibetan monks set themselves on fire while protesting against Chinese policies in the area (not the first time). It seems the monks have given up… or have they? The oppression the Tibetans must face daily probably makes them feel helpless, like they have lost all control and a way out. Chinese occupation in Tibet has resulted in deaths of hundreds and thousands of people, the destruction of monasteries, nunneries, temples, and imprisonment and torture of thousands of Tibetans. Peaceful Tibetan protests driven by the desire to be a sovereign nation, are causing aggressive arrests and punishment by the Chinese army. The ruthless rapes, murders, attacks, and cruelty are too much to even imagine. As someone put, “today they all have only one hope, one dream and one voice. A free, independent Tibet.” And so it seems never give up, for justice will one day be served. Until then, develop the heart, be compassionate, not just to your friends, but to everyone (irrespective of the circumstance).

Tonight has turned into a calm night. I got to my flat after work, rested a bit and decided to go on my balcony to try and hear the catcalls (from actual cats) outside. Well, little did I know when I shut the screen, it locked me out. Here I am in a tank top, thinking i’m going to get bitten by mosquitoes, but all I could do was laugh. I just kept laughing and realized even if my flatmates were home, there was no way they could hear me from upstairs. I sat for a second, and then began to shout their names….no response. So I sat some more and shouted some more, until I realized, it’s easy to get all worked up, but harder to just stay calm. So, after about 12 minutes, I got up again and realized the other end of the sliding door could possibly be open, and sure enough the door opened, and I felt free from confinement. Although, at the end of the day, it wouldn’t be the worst thing to be stuck out there all night….i’m just glad I wasn’t. To unwind, I ordered some boneless chicken kabob and buttered out naan.

As for productive updates, I met with an amazing NGO called Jamghat (means “a lively gathering”) this past weekend that deals with homeless street children. The founder, Amit, singlehandedly built a place for street kids from all walks of life to have a place of their own. The children have a flat/floor to themselves and have care 24 hours, 7 days a week. The age range of the 10 girls who live in the flat is between 5 – 14 years old. Amit’s main goal is to keep the number of children who live there small, in order to give them appropriate nurturing, attention, resources, and to avoid spreading himself and his mission thin. What makes this NGO so unique is its range of possibilities. Amit has created a place for children and adolescents to learn vocational skills, like hand bag making, and to be self sufficient. He is also known for putting on theatre productions bringing awareness of issues like HIV/AIDS, global warming, and even emotional plays. His theatre productions have been performed for King Charles, World Bank, various universities, WHO, etc. This man has put his heart and soul into Jamghat and it shows in the children’s faces and in their presence. After speaking to Amit, he has allowed me to come and volunteer at the home with the girls. I will be teaching them some dance, public health lessons, and english because they are really interested in learning. I meet with them this Saturday, so I’ll update soon.

In the meantime, here are some pictures –

Vocational Training

Amit with some of the girls
Alright, until next time! By the way, Happy 16th birthday again Omid Afshar, you’re my world!