Location: Dharamsala

Today was the first real day of the monsoon. Everyone huddled in raincoats under umbrellas as we walked up the stairs surrounded by pouring rain. It was a quiet, peaceful day with most of our learning partners, spent either in warm cafes or in cozy Tibetan homes. As we got to know our partners better, we learned so much more about the little things in life that we all share and the things that are so different when living in India or exile.

Then we got a special treat: “Western” style lunch. Our meal was indeed from a more Western place than India, but most people did not count the delicious Falafels we ate as the type of food they would eat at home. However, the french fries were greeted with a lot of enthusiasm.

After spending a wonderful but exhausting two hours with the TCV kids, mostly doing various arts and crafts projects with supplies that the kids would not normally be able to access, we were all ready to relax at Common Ground. The food was wonderful, as always, and we also had the amazing opportunity to listen to Tsewang Dhondup, a Tibetan refugee who had fled from Tibet in 2009 after being shot in the 2008 uprisings. Using Jampa as his translator, he told us why he joined in protesting the Chinese government and how he lost the use of his arm to a Chinese bullet while trying to save a monk who had also been shot. He ended his talk with a request to us to keep an open mind and try to discover for ourselves what is right and wrong, true and not true.

We arrived back at the monastery just before the rain picked up again and night fell. Everyone was exhausted and wet, but extremely satisfied with another wonderful day here in Dharamsala.