Location: Dharamsala

Sunday, a holy day for the Tibetan community, allowed us to have some free time. For us, Sunday was the first day we slept in past 7:30 am. Instead, most awoke at 9:30 am. Before lunch, we were graced with the presence of the noteworthy Tibetan poet and activist, Tenzin Tsundue. He enchanted us with his talks of globalization and reform. He enabled us to think differently about the world and Tibet. Compared to past speakers, Tenzin not only spoke of Tibet and Tibet’s struggles, but he also spoke about the other occupied countries such as Mongolia, Manchuria, and Turkestan. He provided facts that supported the independence of these countries. These facts also vastly contradicted what China says regarding the occupied countries. Some things that support the independence of Tibet is the Great Wall of China. If you look at a map of China, you will see the Great Wall somewhere in the middle of what we consider China today. This wall was once built to protect China from the “invaders” and “barbarians” that bordered China. How can China say that Mongolia, Manchuria, and Tibet were part of China when they have a huge monument set up to purposefully separate them?

Tenzin left us with clouded minds. We steadily calculated all of the new information, and we attempted to apply these new thoughts to our lives. We continued to think through lunch how we could help and how we would change things if we were strong and powerful political leaders.

After lunch, we had a scavenger hunt around Dharamsala. There were three teams — two groups of three and one group of four. The teams were picked at random out of a hat. From 2:30 pm to 5:30, the teams split up and began exploring. The hunt consisted of about 22 tasks. The tasks ranged from taking photographs at certain locations to talking to the locals and finding out translations. We even had to learn a Hindi song and videotape us singing it. In the end, the winning group was the group of four. This group included Lena, Maya, Julia, and Alex. We were winners. The other groups did just as amazing. The runner up group was only one point difference. The competition was tight, and everyone was exhausted by the end of the day. We retreated to the monastery and slept soundly, preparing for the next days’ adventures.