Originally posted on Beezy ‘s Facebook page, and shared with her permission.
This is just the 8th day since I arrived at Jhamtse Gatsal and so much has happened! I’m sorry I can’t post photos from here. Our bandwidth is severely constrained because of the excessive cost for satellite connection in this region. The 80+ children from 3-16 are so joyful, greeting the staff and volunteers so happily, often with hugs. There is so much love in this place.
Today one young man named Leki who has epilepsy that has been very hard to control, is being taken to a monastery in the town of Tawang, about 2 hrs away. (This depends on the status of the several active landslides en route. It rained heavily last night, so there is some concern about the safety of the route today.) There is a monk there who is famous for his healing blessings, and Leki especially wanted to be taken to him for a blessing.
Leki is much loved in this community. He is always one of the first to volunteer for any task or to just observe and quietly take care of odd chores that need to be done. Lately he’s been spending a lot of time with the youngest children, one of whom is 2-yr-old Kai, the son of a couple from Utah who are spending a whole year at Jhamtse Gatsal. His parents, Heather and spencer, made the three wonderful videos of Jhamtse Gatsal and this region that you can find at jhamtse.net—look in the right column for photos and videos. My favorite is “Journey of Hope.”
Leki Norbu is a tall and thin 8th grade boy who always has a smile on his face, and who is ready to help with any daily task at Jhamtse Gatsal. He’s kind of a loner, but much loved by the whole community because he is such an example of the lovingkindness that is the goal and pervasive atmosphere of this community.
Leki works very hard at his studies, but has considerable difficulty keeping up with his classmates because of some cognitive losses as a result of his severe epilepsy. Yesterday class 8 was taking turns reading a story with me, and there was a word that Leki could not seem to understand despite my various attempts at explanation. Other members of the class waited quietly as he struggled.
Finally I asked one of the girls to try to explain the word to him. She asked whether she could do so in their local language—Monpa, a dialect of Tibetan. I was really touched as she got up from her place in the circle in which the class was sitting on the grass, went around and knelt in front of Leki, and quietly talked to him in Monpa, providing examples in his own language, until he understood. The affection, and indeed, respect, that the whole class feels for Leki was almost palpable.