Category Archives: tibet

2016: To Be A Very Good Year!

Just when I was beginning to wonder what was happening a half world away from me with Kyila’s students/children at Kiki’s Kids, I received an email from her. Finally the new location of her program will move from Shigatse to Lhasa in this next year when students return to school after the holidays. Yeah!

How exciting that will be for everyone, especially since the big city will provide some benefits, such as: closer to medical care, access to farmers with greenhouses and thus fresher food, closer to the airport when needing to get special surgeries for eye care or whatever in Beijing or Shanghai, and more activities for the young people.

2016, looks to be with a bright start for Kiki’s Kids. When I know more, you’ll know more! Happy Holidays!

 

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A Gesars Bard’s Tale – Film

A Gesar Bard’s Tale is a movie about a Tibetan. The young boy, Dawa, was herding yaks till age 13 when he suddenly had a series of visions, the gift to tell Tibet’s King Gesar’s epic story. At age 35, he became guardian of national cultural heritage and receives a salary from the Chinese government. In his hometown he is considered a holy man.

Dawa grew up in very rural area of Tibet, miles from Lhasa. When I was in Tibet in 2010, I was aware of an earthquake that took place as I traveled and it had caused much damage in his hometown. I saw newspaper articles and TV reports at the time. The devastation, crumbled flimsy housing. Many people desperate for help. The Chinese provided tents and support for the victims. Since then, the Chinese implemented a redevelopment project for the region. In the film, Dawa continues his seeking and healing from King Gesar and other divine protectors of the land.

The movie is in Tibetan, thus subtitled for the rest of us. It may not be a movie that will attract much attention from the majority of the world; however, I appreciated seeing the Chinese reconstruction that had begun and hope the community gets what they need. For those of you who follow my blog, you might recall a child came to Kiki’s Kids from the earthquake devastation. Once again, we are fortunate to have an educational program for the 3 – 5 year olds at Kiki’s Kids. If you wish to donate to help Kiki’s Kids, please donate at Global Roots and specify Tibet’s Kiki’s Kids.

Thank you.

Tibet Film Archive … Digitized Films

Often I look at my travel and wonder, am I seeing the “real” culture of a land and people or a scene orchestrated for the observant traveler. As a result, it is wonderful to travel “off a beaten path” and/or to talk with a person who visited and shared time with locals before their neighborhood had been transformed through history.

Film today has a way for us all to view past movies taken on days when there used to be many many elephants to document and what life was like 50 plus years ago. Now as we travel, there are less elephants and our world has changed so very much, we lose touch with the human side of all that had happened so many years ago, especially when on an organized tour. And the film records a different picture and at times a sanitized look of an area. So this is why, to me, the Tibet Film Archive is all the more important as an organization.

There once was a vibrant cultural heritage in Tibet. We knew this, and now can share this all with others, by hopefully viewing never-before-seen-footage of film from the Tibet’s Lost Films collection. They are films lost the past 50 years. They have been recently digitized by the Tibet Film Archive, and many more people will see and think of Tibet beyond Mount Everest and the Dalai Lama. You may have seen this article in the Time magazine and not been particularly struck by any importance of this matter. However, it would be fascinating if there was any way for the Tibetan people to someday actually see their culture 70 years ago. Unfortunately, with no electricity, thus no Internet or way to present a film, the likelihood of it ever happening is probably slim to none. I know I enjoy seeing old photos of my childhood. I imagine they would enjoy seeing the films too. Of course, they would also see how their cultural heritage is not being passed down to the large degree it could have been if history had been different for them.

Thankfully technology is great and these films are being digitized so many more of us can at least see the films. So I hope to stay connected with Tibet Film Archive to see what direction their work will take them. I know we each are proud of our culture and that would be true of Tibetans also.

Living in “Thin Air” in Tibet

If you have trekked at high altitude you may have experienced some effects upon your body that you do not normally experience when at lower altitudes. You may also have taken some medication to allow you to enjoy those high-altitude mountain views. And then most of us return to some lowland area and our body is okay.

What is fascinating recently is an answer to the question: how do Tibetans live at an average of 14,800 feet and be okay day after day? Thanks to a University of Utah study, the researchers discovered Tibetan bodies do not react to high altitude by producing extra red blood cells. When lowlanders are in thin air, our blood thickens with oxygen-carrying red blood cells trying to feed oxygen-starved tissues which can lead to acute mountain sickness.

Tibetans however have a genetic mutation that began 8,000 years ago to not produce extra red blood cells. Through generations, by natural selection, almost 88% of the offspring now thrive with the genetic variation. Wow! So that explains their ease at living at that altitude!

P.S. My personal use: Diamox always leaves my fingers and mouth’s upper lip tingling, and unfortunately with a need to urinate more often. The Chinese medicine I received was so much better!

Kyila to be Tenting in Tibet?

Tibet is a huge area and is on the largest plateau on planet Earth! There are many miles between villages and lakes, with few roads between. It is a simple beauty one sees when traveling here.

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I know this from my travel in Tibet.  With driver and guide, I saw this beautiful Yamdrok Lake, one of the three holy lakes. It’s surface water is at 14,570 feet. Yes, you can feel the altitude when you hike in this area. There were young girls in the area too. Immediately, I saw limited housing, no sunglasses being worn by either girl, and although it was a school day, they were out here holding this young child who wore no hat or eye protection.

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When one is out in this clear air and sunshine, especially at this altitude, it is most important to protective your eyes. Thus Kyila, Founder/Director of Kiki’s Kids plans to reach out to families in the remote areas of Tibet.

Kyila actually grew up on the north side of Mount Everest in Tibet, and knows there are many miles between her hometown and Lhasa. As a result, she plans to travel around Tibet, meet families and provide training on the importance of children receiving an education….all children, blind and sighted!

She will camp with tent and sleeping bag so she can travel more distances, meet more families and not need to look for overnight accommodations. Later this year we will have a tent and sleeping bag on its way to Kyila! Helping her get her message out is most important, especially for the young children who will benefit from an education.

If you wish to help, please read the “About the Author” or “Become Involved” page to learn how you can help! Thanks.

Namaste.