Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Om Mane Padme Hum

All hail the jewel in the lotus, Om mane padme hum, the mantra of compassion. As I sit here at the best internet cafe that I have come across, I hear this mantra over and over again as it is put to music. Also, from my vantage point in this second floor cafe, I have a clear view of Bouddhanath Stupa - which I mentioned earlier is one of the largest Buddhist stupas in the world. It is also the Buddhist center of Kathmandu. It will be closeby to this stupa where I will be attending a Buddhist wedding today of my friends Lakpa Lama and Sharmila Lama. It is such an honor to be invited and I even went and got me a traditional Tibetan choba (traditional dress that the Tibetan women wear). Lakpa thought it would be ok for me to wear my usual clothing (yeah right, nylon trekking pants and a t-shirt!), but he said it would be special if I wore the traditional dress, so he helped me get one (like he had the time! for god's sake he's getting married!, but he insisted on helping me not get cheated!).

The work at the orphanage is going well, to me anyway. I have developed a system of sorts, but it could change. I go there twice a day, as most of the children are in school during the day. I spend about 5 hours there right now, but after my language classes are over, I hope to spend more time there so I can concentrate on those too disabled to attend school. Yes, as part of my volunteer experience, I have been provided language classes, and after just two classes, it has come in very handy at the orphanage, where even the staff know minimal, if any, English. The brighter, older kids help out a lot and many of them want to teach me Nepali. I've told them that they need to concentrate on learning English, not teaching me, but they don't listen. I guess kids all over the world are the same. I wish I could tell you about every single one of them - they are all so remarkable and all so willing to learn. I cannot think of any of them who are not interested. I have developed some word games and they like that a lot - and want more (what have I started!?). They are all concentrating on upcoming examinations, so I have been asked not to deviate too much from their lessons (lessons? what lessons?). Some of the children are not provided good lessons and are asking ME for homework. When I arrive, they grab their notebooks, throw it on my lap and say "give me homework, please"!!! Can you imagine a kid begging for homework?

Ok, that's it for now. Oh, by the way, I have not been asked yet to help with calculus, but my knees are shaking because yesterday I was asked to help with another complicated math problem - thank goodness the answers were at the back of the book and I could work my way backwards! Yikes!!!

Miss ya all and hope you are all well,
Until next time (provided there is electricity and I feel up to making the trek here), Namaste, Jackie


Anonymous said...

I knew you would be great there! Enjoy all your students! Debby

Doug said...

For those who don't know: Lakpa Lama is a young man Jackie & I met when we were in Nepal in 2001. Along with 2 other guys we befriended he worked at the hotel we stayed at. Lakpa & Jackie continued an e-mail & letter friendship after that. Tourism dried up in Nepal & he lost his job at the hotel so he went to South Korea & worked in a jeans factory for 2 or 3 years. He returned to Nepal just a few months ago... just in time for Jackie to arrive for her volunteer work. Small world! And all this time they continued to e-mail & write letters to each other. I think it's wonderful that not only is he back home & that Jackie gets to see him but she also gets to be at his wedding. Some things are just meant to be.

Anonymous said...

Jackie!!! dont worry about the math problem. Lawrence is offering to email you answer asap if you get stuck on one :P hee hee.. You can tell that student that he needs to try harder and work on it for another day and if he still cant figure it out, then you will give him the answer tomorrow (hopefully lawrence will get back to you by then :P haa haa). -Mary

Doxey said...

:) Good to get an update, Jackie G!

Anna A said...

Sounds really wonderful and challenging. I have my own "book report" to work on now so I can't e-mail too much. I am really glad to hear from you when you can write. It makes the mother hen in me worry a lot less. Continue to take care and have fun at the wedding!

MarjieM said...

Dang!....its good to hear from you. Take care my sweet.


Anonymous said...

Great hearing your experience at the orphanage is going well. Of course there was no doubt you having a positive and enthusiastic impact on the children.
Enjoy and keep safe.