Document Sample

                                                                       TRAS EXECUTIVE
                                                              Patron.................... Mrs. Inge Woodcock
                                                              President ............... Mr. Peter Robers
                                                              Vice-President ....... Dr. Marion Tipple
                                                              Secretary ............... Mrs. Dorothea Leach
                                                              Treasurer ............... Mr. Bill Haberl
                                                              Sponsorship ........... Dr. Joan Ford
                                                              Project Director .... Dr. Lynn Beck
                                                                      Trans - Himalayan Newsletter
                                                                                (published quarterly)
                                                              Editors....................Daphne Hales
                                                                                         Duane Webster
                                                                                TRAS Office
                                                                            5885 University Blvd.
Each of us must learn to work not just for                               Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1K7
his or her own self, family or nation, but for                         Office Secretary — Bridget Bird
the benefit of all mankind.                                                  Tel: (604) 224-5133
                         His Holiness The Dalai Lama                         Fax: (604) 224-4881

      Yearly Membership donation ($20) ---------------------------------------------------------         $ 20
      Possible Additional Donations:
      Monthly Donation of $25 for the “Child Development and Education
            Project” at a residential school -------------------------------------------------------      ____
      Monthly Donation of $10 for a child in a “Family and Community
            Development Project” ----------------------------------------------------------------         ____
      Donation to the Old People’s Fund, which suppports a “Self-Help Project”
            for the elderly and infirm -------------------------------------------------------------      ____
      Donation to the general fund or other specific area of your choice -------------------------        ____

                                                                                      TOTAL              $ ____

      Name ________________________________ Date _________

      Address ______________________________ Postal Code ________

                       Please write address and postal code on your cheque and mail to:
                                    TRAS Office - 5885 University Blvd.
                                     Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1K7
Trans-HimalayanAidSociety                                                                                            Page 7

alleys and tunnels connecting houses       Thakali village - those further north          “My heart went out to the King,”
which are built around enclosed            are inhabited by people of Tibetan         she says,” who is deeply interested
courtyards, thus providing protection      descent. The inhabitants of Thini, a       in preserving the Tibetan culture, re-
from the fierce winds in the river         village across the river, are still fol-   ligion and traditions. In the early
gorge.                                     lowers of the ancient Bon-po religion      1990s, the Dalai Lama sent an emis-
    At Khobang, at 8,400ft, the trail      that predated Tibetan Buddhism.            sary to meet with the King and ask
passes through a tunnel, and doors             Several villages were fortified,       him how they could help him realise
to the houses open off it - again pro-     and ancient kings could easily con-        this aim. The King said that his main
tection from the howling winds.            trol the trade routes.” In Upper           concern was to preserve the Tibetan
    Tukche is the capital of the Thak      Mustang a group of villages are peo-       written language, because this is no
region, once an important trading          pled by the Gurungs, a Nepalese            longer taught. Before the Emissary
village, where traders coming with         name often taken by Tibetan settlers       returned to India, two promising
salt and wool from Tibet would bar-        (for ease of assimilation), but Ans can    young boys were chosen to go back
ter with traders carrying grain from       tell by the facial features which girls    with him to Dharamsala to receive
the south. The main street is impres-      are Nepali and which are of Tibetan        an education there for 10 years, af-
sive with the large two-storied            descent. At 12,402ft Lo Manthang,          ter which they would return to Mus-
houses, carved wooden doorways             the capital of the ancient kingdom of      tang to teach the spoken and written
and balconies. These were homes of         Lo, sits on the high plateau like a for-   language.”
the Serchans (surname of some of the       tress, with only one small entrance.           Although the area is tiny, there are
girls) and other merchants. Here too       Within its fortified walls are 150         many ethnic tribes. In southern Mus-
the vegetation changes - to dry,           houses and numerous lama resi-             tang we find the Newaris who are one
desert-like country.                       dences - and the palace of the King,       of the most cultured groups of Ne-
    Jomson, the administrative head-       with whom Ans had requested an             pal. Some of the girls have Newari
quarters for the region is the last        audience.                                  names. The Thakuri are a high Hindu
                                                                                        caste, which includes the Nepali
                                                                                        King’s family.
                                                                                           Moving north, the tribes are
                                                                                        probably all from Tibet - the
                                                                                        Gurungs, Thakali, Bhotiya and
                                                                                        Lobas. Their features, dress and
                                                                                        traditions are very Tibetan. Many
                                                                                        of these people are fine traders ( a
                                                                                        Tibetan speciality), but it will be
                                                                                        noticed that the fathers of nearly all
                                                                                        our girls are farmers. Because of
                                                                                        the difficult agricultural conditions,
                                                                                        their economic outlook is not good.
                                                                                        Upper Mustang is mostly above
                                                                                        12,000ft, the land is barren and
                                                                                        eroded, also due to 100km/hour
                                                                                        winds blowing for about 6 hours
                                                                                        every day, and there is a shortage
                                                                                        of water.
              Main street in Tukuche (Tukche) village - 8500ft/2591m.                      It should be obvious by now how
  Tukuche was once the most important Thakali village. This village was the meeting     important our Mustang girls’ schol-
   place where traders coming from Tibet, with salt and wool, bartered with traders     arship project is!
                           carrying grain from the south.
Page 6                                                                              Trans-HimalayanAidSociety

    Ans Muller, intrepid trekker and      nally expected.” Ans has now col-          the TRAS sponsorships are enabling
leader of many arduous but fascinat-      lected together a wealth of informa-       older girls to get an education now,
ing trips to little-visited regions of    tion about the area, the family names,     that is wonderful.
Nepal, northern India and Sikkim,         and the location of the villages. She          Mustang is the ancient Tibetan
has another talent! We have discov-       also has a reading list about the area.    kingdom of Lho, more or less au-
ered that she is an amateur anthro-           If you would like to learn some        tonomous but under the auspices of
pologist! When Ans led a trek to          details about your sponsored girl,         Nepal since the last century. It is so
Mustang in 1996 (Mustang story by         Ans will be delighted to provide what      totally different from the rest of Ne-
Dorothea Leach and Beth Whittacker        she has. Write to her c/o the TRAS         pal that it’s like a different country.
in previous Newsletters) she fell in      Office.                                    This thumblike projection of Nepal
love with the area and was delighted          Meanwhile, here is her overview.       into Tibet, which surrounds it on
to discover that TRAS had agreed                             ♦                       three sides, is physically like the Ti-
to start a scholarship program for            “First, a general comment. The         betan plateau, and is said to be even
Mustang girls.                            age of a girl and the class she is in do   more barren and desolate.
    She promptly undertook to figure      not mean that much. Quite often                Mustang is divided into Upper
out where the girls, whose scanty         parents may have taken the child out       (northern) and Lower (southern)
histories we were sent, came from         of school for an extended time be-         Mustang. Most of the girls come
and what their family names might         cause they were unable to pay the          from Lower Mustang, and most of
tell us of their race. She says “Once     school fees, because they needed the       the village schools are in this area.”
I started, I became so totally wrapped    girl’s help to look after younger sib-         Ans has found most of the girls’
up in my Mustang ‘research’ that it       lings or to work in the fields, or be-     villages on the few maps which exist
took me quite a bit longer than origi-    cause the girl may have been sick. If      of Mustang, and having trekked the
                                                                                     route from the southern “border”
                                                                                     with Nepal to the northern border
                                                                                     with Tibet, she can give us a firsthand
                                                                                     picture of them.
                                                                                         “Ghasa is the first Thakali village
                                                                                     along the Kali Gandaki, the sacred
                                                                                     river cutting a channel between the
                                                                                     peaks of Annapurna 1 and
                                                                                     Dhaulagiri. These two peaks are only
                                                                                     38m apart, and the river flows be-
                                                                                     tween them. In its upper reaches,
                                                                                     people call the river Thak Khola, thus
                                                                                     the name Thakali for those who live
                                                                                     in the region.         Ghasa is the
                                                                                     southernmost limit of Tibetan Bud-
                                                                                     dhism, and here the vegetation
                                                                                     changes from subtropical trees to
                                                                                     mountain pines and birches.
                                                                                         Larjung, the next village where
              A group of Muistangi women heading south for the winter.
                                                                                     some of our girls live, has narrow
                    The journey to Pohkara is a 8-10 day walk!
Trans-HimalayanAidSociety                                                                                               Page 5

    In a hilly, semi-tropical area of Ne-    compost piles and grey water ponds         ♦ different varieties of both winter
pal, not too far from the pollution of       keeps the crops mulched and watered.         and summer vegetables were
overcrowded Kathmandu, a wonder-             Mulching helps prevent soil erosion.         grown, and seeds distributed;
ful experiment in friendly farming,          Companion planting cuts down insect        ♦ organic fertilizers were distrib-
called APPROPRIATE AGRICUL-                  damage. Indiscriminate use of chemi-         uted;
TURAL ALTERNATIVES, is making                cals by illiterate farmers who cannot      ♦ four Peace Corps workers and
quite a difference to many people’s          read instructions is stopped, thus re-       four Nepalese counterparts were
lives. TRAS learned of this project in       ducing poisoning of people and water.        trained for one week, so that they
1996 and has been helping ever since,        Reduction of water contamination from        can introduce organic farming
co-funded by CIDA. Several directors         pesticides halts the elimination of ben-     methods in remote areas of Nepal;
have visited the experimental farm, as       eficial insects and improves health.       ♦ 137 farmers and trainers from
did the Nepal Study Program partici-         Fodder production reduces damage by          other organizations were given
pants, and all have found its methods        foraging animals.                            one-day trainings;
to be a simple way to make a profound            Increased crop yields and income       ♦ the rice produced on AAA farms
change for the better.                       generation encourage farmers to stay         sold well;
    The problems in this country of          on their land rather than leaving their    ♦ marketing of organic produce
small farms are many — steep, nar-           farms to look for work in Kathmandu,         (mostly carried to the city by
row terraced fields which erode, over-       a city already populated and polluted        women) continued 4 days a week,
use of chemical fertilisers and              beyond its carrying capacity. As most        with new market areas explored.
pesticides, depleted soil fertility, wa-     vegetable farmers are women, the
ter contamination, poor nutrition, sick-     added income gives them self-reliance           Tangible results so far:
ness, low income, low status for             and a new status. Encouraging the          ♦   health of soil and people has
women - the list goes on and on.             family to eat some of its own produce          improved;
    Enter AAA with a vision to improve       leads to better nutrition.                 ♦   nutrition has improved because
the standard of living and the fertility         And what of the results? TRAS has          afs’ families are eating more
of the land through sustainable agricul-     been funding the training and exten-           vegetables, more variety and
ture.                                        sion aspects of the project, and a re-         ingesting less chemicals;
    On its home farm and in regular vis-     cent report shows the following results    ♦   most of the women afs are illiter-
its to the participants’ farms, AAA is       for a six-month period:                        ate, and unable to earn money in
promoting organic farming and its ben-       ♦ the 60 vegetable farmers (mostly             other types of employment. The
eficial impact on the land.                     women) and 98 general farmers in            supplement to family income has
    Farmers who sign up are called “as-         the project received regular visits;        been significant and there is more
sociate farmers”, or afs. They are           ♦ 10 new afs were trained in organic           money for basic family needs.
given initial training at the AAA farm,         farming;                                    More women are becoming
then receive regular follow-up visits at     ♦ the afs in one village had hands-on          interested, through word of mouth;
their own small farms. Local groups             training in composting and liquid       ♦   status of women has improved;
and committees are set up to identify           manure making;                          ♦   leadership skills are being honed in
and address problems. The support by         ♦ 42 afs in one village upgraded               the committee meetings and
AAA is ongoing.                                 their double digging skills;                evaluations. All feedback from the
    The objectives are many. The             ♦ 4 monthly meetings of 60 afs were            afs is utilized to improve the
biointensive farming methods regener-           held to discuss vegetable growing           project.
ate the soil depleted by chemicals. Or-         and marketing;
ganic fertilising increases soil fertility   ♦ 12 visits a month were made by              TRAS is proud to be a partner in
and crop yield. Waste disposal into             AAA staff to farms;                     such a successful grass roots project!
Page 4                                                                          Trans-HimalayanAidSociety
(continued from page 3)                    5 year lease, and our commitment to      Chinese phonetic symbols and arith-
into beginners, intermediate and sen-      support him gives him the security       metic, which prepares them for the
iors. The number of students has           and peace of mind to apply himself       entrance exam to the primary school.
grown to sixty. When we met                to his chosen task, to which he de-         This month TRAS received a
Tsarong Phungyal we were im-               votes such energy and great interest.    progress report from Phungyal, stat-
pressed with his command of the                Although he is quite a frail man,    ing:
English language, which he had             Tsarong Phungyal is driven by a de-           “The children can now say
learned at a school in Darjeeling as a     sire to help young Tibetans have a       prayers, recite the times tables, and
child and which he had not been able       better future. There is no doubt that    their writing and reading have im-
to use for many years. He also             all of us feel he deserves our contin-   proved too. They can sing songs and
proved to be an excellent teacher, as      ued support and appreciation.            recite verses in Tibetan and Chinese.
was evident to Drs. Lynn and Frank                                                  Last year half the number of children
Beck when they visited Lhasa a year          AND NOW A KINDERGARTEN                 have gone away to primary school
ago. They spent some time visiting             In April last year we had a new      and many new ones have taken their
the school, discussing ideas with          proposal from Phungyal for the es-       place. During the Chinese Spring
Phungyal and talking to the students.      tablishment of a kindergarten, as        Festival and the Tibetan New Year’s
The Becks found that the students’         many parents could not afford to send    Day, the Kindergarten will be closed
command of English, after only 6           their children to the government         for two weeks only. Classes start
months of study, was such that they        school. The Directors agreed that        again on March 1. No holiday in
could answer questions and converse        TRAS should support him in this ef-      summer”.
quite well.                                fort too, and the sum of $4452 spread
    Phungyal has had to move his lit-      over three years seems a modest con-
tle school several times; either the       tribution to his hard work.
house in which he had rented a room            The kindergarten is located in the          Tras T-shirts
was torn down, or the owner needed         “Lhasa Cinema Hall courtyard”, ac-
the space - all very disruptive for him    cording to the application. 56 chil-
and his students. However, he has          dren attend, being looked after by
now managed to find a place with a         two teachers. They learn Tibetan and

                                                                                      Adult sizes: medium, large and
                                                                                       extra-large (they are roomy!)
                                                                                      Colour: white; b/w leopard;
                                                                                       black, red and blue border.

                                                                                           Sale Price: $15.00
                                                                                            (postage $2.00)

                                                                                         Order them from the office

                Lhasa English Kindergarten - set up on April 13, 1998
Trans-HimalayanAidSociety                                                                                             Page 3

                                           were amazed at the size and archi-          the others. One gentleman, Tsarong
        Dorothea Leach
                                           tectural beauty of some of the houses       Phungyal, expressed a desire to start
    In 1987 Barry and I finally were       which at one time had belonged to           an English school in Lhasa, explain-
able to fulfill a wish of long stand-      wealthy people. In contrast to other        ing that the knowledge of English
ing, a visit to Tibet. Naturally           tourists we were fortunate to have          would enable young Tibetans to find
through our work for TRAS and sev-         letters of introduction from Tibetan        work in the growing tourist indus-
eral journeys to India and Nepal to        friends in India to visit their relatives   try. We took notes, and upon return-
see the settlements of Tibetan refu-       and therefore had a chance to see           ing to Canada, we discussed this with
gees as well as through reading many       inside one of these houses which, of        our directors who were all very en-
books, we formed a picture of              course, now belonged to the govern-         thusiastic about a project like that in
Shangri-la, flawed no doubt by the         ment.                                       Tibet.
presence of the Chinese but still a fas-       We were invited to have lunch in            After much correspondence back
cinating destination. The first            a mansion previously belonging to an        and forth, and Phungyal’s tremen-
glimpse of the Potala, the Dalai La-       old aristocratic family. Our hosts          dous effort to find a suitable place,
ma’s Palace, was an unforgettable          rented two rooms on the upper floor         the school started in 1990. The ini-
sight and although                                                                                          tial donation
we had been                                                                                                 from TRAS was
warned, because                                                                                             used to pur-
of the 12000ft al-                                                                                          chase furniture,
titude of Lhasa,                                                                                            books        and
not to dash around                                                                                          school supplies,
upon arriving at                                                                                            and our annual
the hotel, we                                                                                               contribution is
could not resist                                                                                            now        $800,
the temptation and                                                                                          which covers
were soon min-                                                                                              the rent, a small
gling with hun-                                                                                             stipend to the
dreds of pilgrims                                                                                           teacher      and
from many parts                                                                                             helper and some
of the Buddhist                                                                                             books and edu-
world in front of                                                                                           cational mate-
the Jokang, their                             Lhasa English School - August 1998                            rial - a very
holiest temple.                                                                                             modest invest-
    In the next few days we criss-         with a view onto the Jokang.                ment with excellent results.
crossed the city on foot many times,       Through a huge archway we entered
marvelling at the colourful murals,        an inner courtyard where at one time           Most of the students are young
impressive statues, gorgeous wall          servants lived and horses were sta-         adults who are either unemployed or
hangings and thousands of other ar-        bled. A steep staircase led to a wide       have menial jobs, all hoping to im-
tifacts in ancient temples, monaster-      gallery where our hosts and many            prove their lives by acquiring a new
ies and palaces. We had to remind          members of their family welcomed            and useful skill. The classes are held
ourselves that we were actually in         us. Fortunately three of them spoke         in the evening and are now divided
Tibet and not just dreaming. We            excellent English and translated for                          (continued on page 4)
Page 2                                                                           Trans-HimalayanAidSociety
presentations given and more to           was such a happy surprise hearing
come! Recent talks have been to           from her, and a second letter came
schools, youth detention centres, Girl    with a cheque. So the 18th toilet was
Guides and Rotarians. The girls have      bought with her help. She is 95 and
also helped TRAS to staff our infor-      obviously is as keen to help as she
mation table at several functions - and   ever was. That was a happy ending
they are the great team who stuff and     to our project!” WAY TO GO,
mail this newsletter! Thanks, girls!      JESSIE! And don’t forget, folks -
                                                                                   THE 37th ANNUAL GENERAL
                                          you’re never too old to help out!
                                                                                       MEETING OF TRAS
The Computer Training and Desktop         ♦ THE LONG-TIME MEMBER
                                                                                    will be held on Wednesday,
Publishing Course at the Institute of     who sent a welcome $2,000 for the
                                                                                   April 28th, 1999 at 7pm. at
Buddhist Dialectics ran into a slight     Tibetan Ph D student, who was very
                                                                                   the Lutheran Campus Centre,
problem. The course uses Macintosh        grateful for the help. We have since
                                                                                       5885 University Blvd.,
computers, but several of the stu-        heard from Mrs. Rinchen Choegyal,
dents were returning to offices           the Tibetan Minister of Education,
outfitted with PC/Windows comput-         that he is a fine young man, doing
                                                                                   A short business meeting will
ers. In order for them to learn how       extremely worthwhile work for Ti-
                                                                                   be followed by entertainment,
to handle the programs they would         betan youth in India and Nepal. She
                                                                                   refreshments and a craft sale.
be using in their offices, TRAS           can’t wait to get him back in
agreed to purchase one Pentium ll         Dharamsala, and asked us to tell him
                                                                                        “Images of Tibet”
computer. All is now well.                “to hurry home”. So if anyone else
                                                                                           Slide Show”
        AAA and the LHASA                 wants to help him on his way, send
                                                                                       by Kami Kanetsuka
         ENGLISH SCHOOL                   your gift to the Office and it will be
                                                                                        Dr. Marion Tipple
In looking through recent Newslet-        forwarded to him.
                                                                                     Drs. Frank and Lynn Beck
ters, I realised we have never told the
full story of these two projects. You     ♦ BOB PARKER of WESTSIDE
                                                                                        Thangka Painting and
will find them inside this issue.         GRAPHICS who did the superb
                                          job of printing our new brochure.
                                                                                         by Kalsang Dawa.
And last, but far from least,             The firm helped us financially, too.
                                          THANKS, BOB!
       OFF TO:

  ♦ JESSIE KAYE, who has com-
pleted her TOILET PROJECT! She
writes “We raised enough money for
eighteen toilets, plus one a donor sent
money for at the beginning of the                    Joan Ford
project when I didn’t even believe we          TRAS received a large number        asked to report on these children. As
could raise enough for ten! After the     of letters, photos and school reports    soon as I hear, I will write to those
Newsletter article about our involve-     from sponsored children in different     concerned.
ment in this project, I had a letter      areas. These were all forwarded on,
from Jean Pensom. I had lost touch        and you also should have received a      I always have some case histories of
with her after we both left Deep          statement of dues for 1999.              needy children and will be very happy
River, and I had forgotten that I once        Some children’s reports were         to facilitate any new sponsor’s con-
badgered her into joining TRAS. It        missing and the settlements have been    tact with a child.
Spring Newsletter                                                                                           March 1999

   Here we are at the end of the 37th   and the environment. The Tibetan           has been sent in so far, with more
year of TRAS’ work with Tibetan         language and culture are more than         promised.
refugees and the people of the Hima-    clinging to life (in exile) and in small      In practical terms, this money
layas - 37 years which have brought     and large ways TRAS has made a             could - renovate an old warehouse
them better health, education, voca-    difference to the development and          and outfit it as a youth fitness centre
tional training and agriculture, and    administration of many communities.        and library for a Tibetan settlement
better care for orphans, the elderly    Our Annual General Meeting will            which has had problems with its
                                        take place on April 28 - see notice        young people; - AND purchase 2
                                        on page 2 and our July Newsletter          computers for a Tibetan high school
                                        will contain the annual overview of        to help the children have a better
                                        TRAS’ activities and projects.             chance at employment, now that In-
                                                                                   dia is becoming so “computerized”;
                                        Meanwhile, let’s clean house by ty-        - AND train a lab technician for the
                                        ing up loose ends and catching up on       Delek Tibetan Hospital!
                                        news from the past year.                      These are just three of the recent
                                                                                   worthy requests the Board of Direc-
                                           OUR NEW LOGO AND
                                                                                   tors is considering for 1999. If more
                                              BROCHURE!                            members wish to help out, it is never
                                        Our new, colourful, informative bro-       too late to send a donation! THANK
                                        chure has drawn rave reviews, with         YOU!
                                        several members asking for supplies                THE NEPAL STUDY
                                        to distribute locally. If you would                      PROGRAM
                                        like to do the same, just let the Of-      The participants are up to 40 slide
                                        fice know. The snow leopard logo                             (continued on page 2)
                                        is adapted from our beautiful T shirt
                                        (a few left - a bargain at $15.00, from
                                        the Office) and it will now be used            Inside This Issue
                                        as the official TRAS symbol.
                                                                                    Sponsorship                      2
                                         GREATRESPONSETOTHE                         Hats Off to . . . .              2
                                                FUNDS!                              English School in Tibet          3
                                                                                    Friendly Farming                 5
                                        Very many thanks to the 58 TRAS
                                        members who promptly replied with
                                                                                    Detective at Work                6
                                        welcome extra donations. $12,223