Jhamtse Gatsal: Our visit from October 17 to 24, 2013.
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others……. Mahatma Gandhi.
This was our first visit to the Children’s Community and it has left long-lasting fond memories of how well the Community operates.
Five of us arrived at the Community around noon to a rousing warm welcome. Our grand-daughter, Milaan (10 months old at the time), accompanied by her parents, Jeff Jenner and Adarsh Mehta, mingled well with all the kids. She was the centre of attention for all the lovely kids. Many young kids would wait outside our guesthouse to play with her after her naps.
The very next day after our arrival from a long journey of over 4 days from Canada, both Jeff and Adarsh embarked on a study to determine the potential of installing a wind turbine to provide some off-grid power to the Community. They both gathered information about the possibility of erecting a small wind turbine in the future. Later they met with the local MLA who is also very supportive of harnessing wind energy in the area.
I was happy to share my agricultural experience to demonstrate how to plant Quinoa. According to the latest report, the first planting out of three separate planting dates seems to be doing well. If the project is successful, it will provide a good source of protein. The project is being monitored by older students.
Our interaction with the children was very comfortable right from the start. The children are full of enthusiasm to learn new things and are not shy to ask questions. They are always proud to show their accomplishments. For example, when preparations were being made to receive Rinpoche Lobsang Delek, one of the older boys took me to show the decorative entrance at night, around 8 p.m. He and the other boys and a teacher had worked for the whole day to erect the entrance scaffold.
One of the most humbling of experiences was when I saw two boys about 10 and 11 years old mending a paring of sneakers that were falling apart. In the West, such sneakers would have been discarded. And at the same time it impressed us with their skills to mend the sneakers.
I can keep writing about how beautiful this place is. Maybe in the next blog post I will cover more.
All of us, including my wife Aruna and I returned with an extremely positive feelings and experience about the Community at Gatsal.
Adarsh, Jeff, Milaan, Aruna and Pankaj