Thursday, October 25, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
The Xuri School is a poor Tibetan all boys school set along the beautiful yellow river. We were greeted by a Lama who is the head master of the school. His eyes beam with pride for his students and he has a heart that is bigger than the river itself. He takes in the poorest of students, many who are orphaned. These students do not pay tuition as none can afford it. For many of these students, being provided this schooling is a matter of survival for them. The head master has taken many loans to provide the food, shelter, clothing, and books for the students. Most of the teachers at this school are monks and do not get paid. This school does not receive any government funding. The children here receive a home, a traditional Tibetan education, with Chinese and English language classes, food, clothing, and other essentials.
These children have such beautiful smiles and welcomed us into their school. We gave each child a small token gift and the excitement in their faces was barely containable. It was such a joy to know that our visit put a smile on their faces. It was such an honor to meet these teachers and children at this school.
During our meeting, the head master asked if there was a way we can help fund a tree program. They would like to plant trees that produce a fruit that is valuable in the area for food and medicine. This tree program will provide ongoing income each year for the school. The fruit from these trees can be harvested each summer, beginning on the 3rd year. They provided the fruit for us to sample and we realized it is the Goji fruit that is beginning to circulate the markets in recent years.
I have many pictures of these students. We are hoping to find sponsors for at least six of the younger students who are orphaned and have no where else to go. I am posting a picture of these six precious boys.
Angel Covers Education Director
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
I had the unique opportunity to visit the homes of some of the girls in the Mama’s Wish Program. One specific home visit had a profound effect on me. It was a home of a college student who lives with her high school sister. They do not have a mother and the father does not show up very often and has alcohol issues. The uncle checks in on the girls and helps them the best he can, but he too is poor and lives a bit of a distance away. The home is very small. It consists of one room about 10X15 with no running water or electricity. There is a raised cement block with a rug on one end of the room for sleeping. There is also a small room to the side that holds a cauldron and firewood for cooking purposes.
The two girls and their uncle were very excited to have us visit. The home was very orderly and clean. Even though they did not have money, they managed to serve us Yak milk and fresh bread. They took so much pride in what they offered; it brings tears to my eyes. To know the financial difficulty it must have been for them to provide for our visit is bittersweet.
As the uncle talked about the family situation with the father and the difficult lives these girls are faced with, you can see the love and concern for the girls in the uncle’s eyes. It moved everyone in the room to tears.
It was a cold damp day and these girls did not have a coat to keep them warm. The pipes from the well washed away last year and they no longer have water. We were able to arrange to have coats delivered to them for the next day, but I wonder how many more children were nearby that we don’t know about who desperately need coats as winter approaches.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Our First Visit at TongRen...2007
As we round the turn to enter the school there stood lines of students, teachers, and parents in two long rows to welcome us. We climb out of the car and are greeted with the placement of Heda’s around out neck. Heda's are Tibetan prayer shawls. To see the parents who some have traveled many miles, even days to meet us was a humbling experience. Most do not have transportation and so must walk or they may catch a ride for some of the way, but again, many spent most of their travels on their feet. The love for their children and the appreciation they have for the opportunity of education given to their children is seen in their eyes and faces, but difficult to express in words.
We had lunch with the girls and later on in the evening there was a party where the girls performed with singing and dancing. They had a great amount of talent and enthusiasm. We ended the evening with the exchange of gifts for the college students.
They all spend most of their time studying and all want to go to college when they finish. Most said they want to be a teacher or a doctor and want to come back to Tongren or their home village to help others they way Mama’s Wish is helping them. Almost all the students say that their most favorite activities are singing and dancing, and many said badminton and reading.
Despite the extreme poverty and challenging lives, these girls have hope and a sparkle in their eye. They study very hard because they know that if they succeed in school, it will provide the opportunity to alleviate the poverty for them, their family, and even the village they are from. They are all thankful to their sponsors who have given them the gift they thought was denied…the gift of hop, the gift of education!