Tibetan Refugees in Nepal

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Today our group visited an SOS school and orphanage, for Tibetan children only. We have walked the grounds, visited the inside, and met with the director who was also Tibetan.

Each house has a “mother” that takes care of about ten children that live inside. She cooks, does laundry and cleans. All children are up at 6AM (!) and have their own responsibilities – make their bed, straighten the toys. They are then dropped off at the school.

Inside each house is a display with images of His Holiness Dalai Lama and seven water bowls. On the wall, in addition to various pictures of Tibet, there are posters describing various English words.
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The director had told us that life of a Tibetan refugee in Nepal is very difficult. And here is why. No refugee can ever become a citizen thus not being able to ever legally work, neither for public or private company for it takes jobs away from the Nepalese. So, if you are a Tibetan refugee, you get a so called National card (similar to a residency permit) that has to be renewed every year. Yes, every year. The director was about 62 years old and he told us he has been renewing his card for many years and what a embarrassing process it is for you never know whether you are staying or going back.

Imagine living like that, not knowing…

Some Tibetan students are sent to colleges in India after graduating from SOS schools and there are quite a few success stories. They cannot, however, work legally or go to school in Nepal for reasons mentioned above.

Lukla Airport – One of the Most Dangerous

24 Jul

http://www.smh.com.au/travel/activity/active/up-up-and-afraid-20120907-25i7n.html

enjoy!

Good morning. Pokhara, Nepal

23 Jul

I am sitting in Baba’s Kitchen waiting for my breakfast to come out. Our group is staying at Baba’s Lodge (Father’s Lodge) for one more day before moving on to Kathmandu.

Baba’s Lodge is just the right name for this place. It is cozy, clean, and extremely helpful. Baba himself selves breakfast and inquires whether his guests slept well and whether they need anything. Baba is an older gentleman, tall and big. He speaks wonderful, almost academic, English.

The building itself is made of a terra cotta color brick (again, warm) with bright orange marigolds in planters everywhere. I love this place!

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Baba knows how to make coffee nice and strong (for us, Americans) and his breakfast is hearty and filling. Baba also likes to discuss the U.S. and have been to New York.

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Good morning to all from Baba’s Lodge in Pokhara, Nepal!

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Thoughts on Nepal

23 Jul

When a blog idea comes into my head, I write it down in one sentence. For instance, “willfulness”, “Jaisalmer waiters”, or “thoughts on Nepal”, or “India lifestyles”.

So far, we have spent a total of seven days in Nepal, with four more days to go. So, what are some of my thoughts on Nepal?

Nepal has been amazing. People are not pushy, private yet friendly. They greet you when you walk by. And although you know they’d like you to visit their shop, they are not insulting or pressing about it.

Nepal has Himalaya and I am in love with those mountains. Here is just a speck of beauty you will see when you trek in Nepal.
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Nepal has some wonderful cuisine. I love their Nepali noodle soup made with homemade pasta, potatoes, and chicken.
Hearty and filling.

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I also love their dish called mo mo or dumpling. Very delicious! But most of all, and I know it may sound strange, I love the pancakes they make! Pancakes and crepes are made fresh and are accompanied by chocolate, honey, bananas, or lemon. Outstandingly delicious!

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To be continued…

(All photos are property of Daria Pizzuto)

One Journal Is Finished…

23 Jul

Another one is on its’ way.

I am sitting in small organic cafe, in Pokhara, Nepal. Our group came back from our a trek and the rest of the day is at leisure.

My sweet, dear friend Heeni gave this diary to me for my birthday, a few years ago. I kept saving it for a special occasion and decided to use it as my travel diary during this trip to India and Nepal. I finished writing in it today so it lasted a very long time and provided a listening ear and lots of space to express myself.

On the back flap, it said it was made in Nepal from elephant dung for Barnes and Noble, NYC. When I saw that, I said, whoa, this is made in Nepal and I’m using it in Nepal to write about Nepal!
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For my friend, I am bringing a new, blank journal made of tree bark FROM Nepal that was made IN Nepal. I hope she likes it!

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Lastly, for myself, I purchased a new journal to start writing in tonight.

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New journals symbolize new beginnings for me. All that writing that is left behind has benefitted me directly and indirectly. Using a journal puts things into perspective for me, allows me to reflect and see that things are not as bad as they appear. Vice versa, journaling allows me to be grateful for things that ARE going great. And lastly, journaling lets me practice mindfulness.
When I write, I pay attention to how my journal paper feels, the sound my pen makes, and how thoughts lay themselves out on paper.

Good Morning from Agra

11 Jul

6AM in Agra, India. Up, face washed, teeth brushed. Horns beeping all over, work day starts. Tuk-tuk rikshaws hustling back and forth, streets become alive.

Phone call to room service gets me a big pot of coffee. Instant but the best one ever. Email check, all good, world is still here.

Grateful to be here, to have the opportunity to travel and get to know this amazing country. A country of extreme contrasts. The country of the kindest people.

Grateful to be on vacation here yet grateful to be a citizen of my own country. Feeling homesick. A sip of coffee. Deep breath.

Browsing through photos. Which one shall I share with the world today?…

Here it is:

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All photos property of Daria Pizzuto

Touching Lives. Making a Difference. Adding Value. Jaiselmer, India.

11 Jul

On this tour we have stayed in a little town called Jaiselmer, smack in the middle of Rajasthani desert. The Golden City is not big but very beautiful (minus the sand dust).

In that hotel there were four young men that worked as “everything” – they cooked, waited tables, cleaned, and fixes the place. So, they did everything and then some. The youngest one was only fourteen years old! And they oldest one was seventeen.

Now, before I go any further, I’d like to clarify what it is to be a white person with platinum blond hair and green eyes in India. People will ask to take a picture with you, they will ask you tons of questions and would want to shake your hand. They will also stare and follow you. You feel like you are a cross between an alien and a celebrity. A lot of local people consider it a privilege to converse with a tourist and especially if he or she invites you to sit down next to them.

On any trip I take, I like to get to know the local people. So, after we have settled down in our hotel, I have started asking questions of the four guys we had working there. I asked about heir hometown, their dreams, what they would want to do with their lives, whether they want to travel… Then I have asked whether I can take some portraits. Here are the portraits that came out:

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When we were taking those portraits their eyes were shining, and the smiles were so broad and grateful! I think tourists rarely pay attention to people like this in addition to the fact that hotel staff are trained to be “invisible”. I could just see the appreciation in their eyes that a foreigner has taken the time to get to know them, ask questions, and be interested in them as human beings. One of the guys liked having his portrait taken so much, he even asked me if I can do it again! And here is the result:

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It is possible that they will remember me for a while – some blond, pale American lady that liked taking pictures and get to know people. And that puts a smile on my face :)

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