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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

An Encounter in Dharamsala

April 30, 2009

Tenzin Losel is ICT’s field researcher in Dharamsala, India.
ICT Blog
April 28, 2009

Today, it is raining. On the way going to office,
I dropped by the Reception Center (RC) for
refugees where all the newly arrived refugees are
kept for awhile till they are sent to school or
monastery as they wished. It’s my daily work routine.

I talked with an old woman sitting outside the RC
in this chilly winter rain. She told me she came
with her nephew who is mentally retarded, around
17. She told me they lived back in Tibet all
alone, the boy’s parents died early. She said she
and her nephew used to earn their living by
pulling human-cart in the busy city streets…the
mentally retarded nephew pulls and she push the
cart to earn daily foods. The old woman to whom
it would even take a great strength of her to
climb up the stairs told me it took them around 3
months to cross the Himalayan mountains all
alone, begging all the way till they got to the Refugee Center in Nepal.

Now that they are here, she said is very happy
that she is now going to have an audience with
H.H the Dalai Lama, a dream she’s longed for her
entire life and she wished then that she can go
to the Old People’s Home. But where is her nephew
going to be sent, because there is no a proper
institution for such case? She asked me, eyes
filled with expectation, if she can take her
nephew with her to the Old People’s Home.
Technically not, but I could not utter the word
“no”. I said the officials will surely arrange him a proper place to go.

Before I left, over the other side of the hall, a
group of children from around 7 to 13 were
playing. They arrived a few days ago. They said
their parents sent them with the guide; they
walked for 27 days. They look happy, maybe they
are too small to understand the situation. A
girl, maybe the smallest of them, approached me
holding a pencil and a book in her hand, asked me how to write APPLE.
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