Location: Dharamsala

As we approach our final days with our learning partners, they are anxious to make sure we see everything in Dharamsala, and that they get the most out of this English learning opportunity. My learning partner, as well as Melora’s and Ellie’s, took us to the Kangra museum in Lower Dharamsala. In the museum, we saw paintings of Hindu gods, old Indian carvings, jewelry and relics relating to Buddhism. They all depicted the old Indian civilization. On the way back all 6 of us piled into a Jeep, that ended up carrying 12 people altogether. Melora, Ellie and I were stuffed into the front seat next to the driver.

At TCV Alex and I introduced Pictionary to our kids, and they got really into it. We had them write their own words, and they had 30 seconds to draw before people guessed. They were able to guess most of the words except somewhere the kids came to us and said they could not find a way to draw something (such as asthma). Everyone was laughing by the end. They also really liked hangman, and they started to take their time carefully picking letters when we gave them a word proven to be one of the most difficult words to guess (jazz). In the end, we tried again to set off the volcano we had been building (we tried yesterday but did not have enough baking soda). After doubling the amount of baking soda, a few drops of vinegar set it off, and foam flowed down the side of our volcano. When it started to slow down, one of the boys added in more vinegar, put the cap on before it foamed, shook it than removing the cap. There was a popping noise and the volcano shot baking soda and vinegar up into the air. Everyone screamed as it rained down on us. They continued doing this until all the vinegar was gone. The house mother and everyone else in the house, even the houses little fluffy puppy (who is only slightly bigger than a shoe) came out and watched. By the end, some people (including Alex) were covered in baking soda and vinegar foam.

We went back to Common Ground and listened to traditional Tibetan music by Tamding. He played the mandolin, the flute and the Tibetan guitar (a guitar with three double strings) while singing. He even played a Tibetan “rock” song, where he sang in a deep, loud voice. We also got to hear one of the Common Ground staff members and our leader, Jampa, sing (but we could not get Wen to sing, no matter how hard we tried).

We then went back to the monastery, ate dinner and finished watching the documentary. The ending of the documentary was very intense. It showed many photos of Tibetans who had been tortured by the Chinese government. It also had videos of Chinese soldiers attacking Tibetans and showed someone self-immolating. The documentary had a lot of information and talked about how it was not the Chinese people, but the government hurting the Tibetans. Now we go to bed and prepare for our second to last day in Dharamsala.