Tashi Delek! Hello from McLeod ganj, India

Tashi Delek! Hello from McLeod ganj, India.

I hope you are all well and I first want to start off with best wishes to friends Claire and Michael who will be married tomorrow July 26th. I send my best and will have you in my prayers.

Also because I have been out of touch on the blog I want to say I apologize but I do think of my family (especially my Dad) and friends all the time. I would also like to thank those of you who place comments on the blog or send me e-mails for this touches my heart deeply and helps to feel connected. So thank you for taking time to connect with me I very much appreciate your efforts.

In update as to what I am doing …I am finishing up my time in McLeod ganj and I will travel to Ladakh on Sunday evening. Ladakh is a district int eh northwestern part of India close to the border of Tibet. If you look at a map I will be closest to Le. This is high in the Himalaya Mountains and the elevation is 11,500 ft which is pretty high up there. The road to Le is very treacherous so the travels take nearly three days by bus and then by jeep driving through the night. Please pray for a safe journey for I understand it is very difficult and the risk of altitude sickness is great.

Also a very exciting opportunity presented itself and I am still trying to coordinate the details but a team of researchers who have received a grant from the Dalai Lama on the topic of Universal Responsibility will be going into the nomadic areas. They have extended an invitation for me to join their team if we can coordinate the times. If it happens it will be amazing to be able to go into these nomadic areas some only able to be reached by horse and have exposure to a way of life that is most similar to that of the life in Tibet prior to the Chinese invasion. Currently in Tibet the Chinese Communist Government is restricting the nomads and many problems are arising with regards to their survival and culture. I have heard that they have been restricted to areas that are over grazed and their livestock starve and the people also face hunger issues never experienced before. I hope to share amazing photos and details regarding the way of life in the Great Himalaya Range and introduce you to the nomads of the area.

In showing solidarity to the Tibetans not only can you write your government officials but you can keep the Tibetans in your prayers. I am asking for those of you who can purchase Tibetan prayer flags or a Tibetan flag please do so and place it in your front yards as the Olympics approach. These items can be purchased at local stores, online or if you would like I e-mail me and I will bring some back for you. The only thing is my bringing them back will cause a slight delay in your ability to hang them right away.

lhdawg@sbcglobal.net or lhalsey@uark.edu

Those of you in Fayetteville, AR can purchase prayer flags very inexpensively World Treasures or e-mail me and I can check with my teacher Geshe Dorjee to see if he has any available. An additional way to show your support is by writing to the press and media and asking that they cover the issue of human rights violations of Tibetans.

I would like to share with you the most recent update with regards to the Tibet concern. I attended a press conference held at the offices of the Gu Chu Sum Movement on Tuesday June 22nd. The press conference was to announce a recent statement of the Tibetan People’s Uprising Movement of which Tibetan Women’s Association is actively involved in. There were four of the five top NGO’s present. When accessing the photographs you will see the panel of representatives: Chime Youngdung- President of National Democratic Party of Tibet, Dr. B Tsering Yeshi- President of Tibetan Women’s Association, Venerable Ngawang Woelser???- President of Gu Chu Sum Movement, and Tensin Choeyine??? National Director of Students for a Free Tibet.

The following is the statement distributed to the media and anyone present. Also I would like you all to know I was wondering the entire time: Where is CNN, BBC and the other major international media representatives and did you see any press on this in the United States? Please shoot me a comment if you did because there were three westerner journalists there but they appeared to be independent.

Statement of the Tibetan People’s Uprising Movement

We are today at the crossroads of historic moment in the Tibetan people’s

struggle for freedom, truth and justice. Our unity in action and focus in purpose

during the following months will not only define the long and strategic

preparations that we have made for the 2008 Beijing Olympics but most

importantly to realize the true political aspirations of our brothers and sisiters who

made great sacrifices in Tibet.

The ongoing popular uprising in Tibet which began in March 10 in Lhasa and the

spontaneous spread to all parts of Tibet has effectively presented the Tibetan

people’s deep-rooted resentments against the Chinese colonial policies, and also

the unified face of the Tibetan people as a cohesive force in resisting Chinese

communist regime. The uprising in Tibet further endorsed the nonviolent fabric of

the Tibetan struggle and brought to the forefront the appalling human rights

situation in side Tibet at a time when China prepares itself for international


Rising above the boundaries of individual organizations and ideology, the Tibetan

people in exile has organized numerous activities worldwide which have

succeeded in creating global awareness and garnering international support for the

Tibetan struggle and exposed the true nature of China’s illegal occupation of

Tibet. At this critical point in our struggle, the Tibetan People’s Uprising

Movement (TPUM) acknowledges the significance of even greater unity and the

need for more consolidated campaigns, thereby changing its actions to avoid

duplication and confusion among the Tibetan people.

TPUM will organize numerous actions in Dharamshala, at UN and IOC Offices in Geneva and New York, European Union in Brussels and Strasbourg during and after the Beijing Olympics.

TPUM believes in the ‘fierce urgency of now’ to exploit various channels and means to convey the demands and the aspirations of the Tibetan people voiced through the ongoing uprising the world over and raise the issue of Tibet at strategic international levels by organizing activities to put pressure on relevant international bodies.

Furthermore, TPUM will launch an all-out struggle on a war-front scale against the draconian designs of spearheading a second cultural revolution in Tibet after the Olympics as declared recently by Zhang Qingli, the Communist Party Secretary of the Tibetan Autonomous Region.

The Tibetan People’s Movement is a global movement of Tibetans inside and outside of Tibet taking control of our political destiny by engaging in direct action to end China’s illegal and brutal occupation of our country.



This is duplication of the printout provided to those attending the press conference. Some of the details may be difficult to understand but in summary the Tibetan People’s Uprising Movement is making the urgent request for global involvement in the pressure on China to stop the brutal repression and persecution of Tibetans. It is calling for an all out campaign to stop the plans for a second cultural revolution planned by the Chinese Communist Party.

At this time the global community can assist most by writing their political leaders and placing requests and demands that the United Nations investigate the concerns of human rights violations of Tibetans due to Chinese Communist occupation. Also the global community can show their continued support through the efforts to create awareness by showing support to the Tibetan cause.

Please write to your government officials and for those that prefer to do e-mail use the following link to contact your representatives.


Thank you fro your continued support for the Tibetan cause and please if you want me to bring back Tibetan prayer flags or anything please e-mail me. I leave on August 8th to fly back to the states although I must say this has been one of the most amazing experiences in my life to live in a non-violent community where people look after each other and have concerns continuously beyond their own. We have so much to learn from the ways of this peaceful society.

The World Is Not Complete Without Tibet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Thu-je-chhe (thank you),


As always I have not edited so please excuse typos and errors in spelling. I would love to hear from you so please if you have a moment shoot me an e-mail and visit the photobucket site for any possible updates of photos.


Photos for Beauty but no photos of Beast….

(CLICK on the title of the blog for direct access to the site with photos if you are receiving this via e-mail)

Tashi Delek.

I apologize but I have had some difficulties with technology and it took me forever to get the photos posted from the last blog. Please take a look at the link and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Also there are photos of the two women I interviewed and the rest are taken either on the hike or from my guest house. The rainbow photos are all from just outside my new room I just moved to this past week. It is much nicer in that since it is the monsoon season I wasn’t getting any outside time so at least now I can sit on the roof under the veranda and still see the mountains. It is much better for my mental state of mind.

I have hot water but the shower is just a trickle so bathing is with buckets…at least I have hot water some people do not have that. The house I am at is a long walk up the stairs so when I get there I do not want to leave again…because I am lazy. No really it is beautiful here and the people are wonderful.

I thought I would keep this light and just say HI. I would love to hear from you all.


The BEST way to View is in the Slideshow…Enjoy!

Also just one quick word of social work. George W. Bush has decided to disregard the need to make a statement to the Chinese Communist Government about the human rights concerns in China, Darfur, and Tibet. This has been an issue with regards to them holding the 2008 Olympics and nothing has been done. George W. Bush has said that he will attend the opening of the Olympics while there are political leaders in the world that are making the decision to not attend in order to send a message to the Chinese Communist Government by boycotting the opening ceremony. Where is the concern for lives and basic human rights when we allow a country led by a communist regime to house the world’s largest athletic competition that represents global unity and our government turns an eye to international concerns of helping to protect the human rights and lives of the people. I would like to show support for the Tibetan people by encouraging everyone to send e-mails to your state legislators asking about their views on human rights concerns with regards to the Chinese Communist Government. This is a great opportunity to create awareness amongst those in office and ask them to ask George W. Bush to NOT attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics. If the global community joined together in this effort the Chinese Government will see that the world is concerned and does have something to say about it.

Sorry for my rant but if you are interested in the issues at hand such as torture of people who just want to have their freedom of religion, their freedom of speech, and wish for a democracy then it only takes a moment to either write an e-mail or a letter. I have found that this website is very useful in e-mailing your legislative officials and also keeping up on other current topics.


Just enter your zip code and will direct you.

Thanks for reading, looking at my pictures and taking action. Also if you are interested in contributing to the Pennies for Partnerships my current efforts will be focused on the Gu Chu Sum Movement and the needs of ex-political prisoners who deal with such issues as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other physical and psychological stresses due to their treatments under the Chinese Governments prison guards. They need basic needs met like housing and food costs as well. So if you feel like contributing in any way feel free to notify me via e-mail lhdawg@sbcglobal.net or lhalsey@uark.edu

Thanks and feel free to contact me just to day Hi and kleep me connected to home.

Thu Jeche,


Also thanks for overlooking any typos I have not edited and I just want to send a big Hello to my Dad, Aunt Meme, Mom and all my friends and family. Thanks for your support and prayers. Also a big thanks to Daniel Gold who continues to help make this blog better with his expertise.

The Beauty and the Beast

Tashi Delek (Hello)

Well some of you may be wondering why I have not posted recently and all I can say is I have been very busy trying to take it all in. I have become aware of the increased need for cultural competence in order to proceed on the global social work path. I will explain more in detail below but first I want to share some of the delightful scenery of the area.

While the TEXT group was here from the University of Arkansas we took a hike to Triund which is at 2900m/ 9570 ft. McLeod is at 5841 ft so it is quit a climb. Of course all the students who made the trek went to the top but me. Unfortunately I was not able to make the entire trek up but instead was blessed with the presence of my teacher Geshe la Dorjee and his friend Gyurmey who trekked at a slower rate with me. I was so glad they were along because I was very concerned of holding back the group knowing that I was not in shape to be able to keep up. After stopping at the half way point and resting we went a little further up the mountain and I found a great boulder to perch myself on as the two monks went a little further up. This was a great time for me to sit and reflect on the time spent with the TEXT group and think about the amazing experience we were provided on this new study abroad program sponsored by the U of A. As I have written we encountered some incredible people and places. There are photos on my photobucket page of some of the beautiful scenery even though it was cloudy most of the hike. It was an unusual feeling sitting on the boulder by myself as a cloud encompassed me and I had little visibility. I just thought you might enjoy seeing the photos.


Then click on slide show…………..

Now I want to share with you some of the social work perspectives from my internship. As I mentioned before I was given the task of continuing research of the Drapchi nuns that are ex-political prisoners and their current situation in exile. After first doing some online research and discovering that there were two currently in India. I found them at Gu Chu Sum which is an agency that assists the ex-political prisoners. When traveling with the TEXT group we had an interview with the General Secretary of Gu Chu Sum of whom I contacted and inquired about the two nuns. He arranged for me to interview the two of them last week and yesterday. Their stories are compelling and very sad to know they have and still suffer so greatly due to the repressive ways of the Communist Chinese who restrict the freedom of speech and religion.

They spoke of their efforts to speak out in support of freedom of religion, in support of the Dalai Lama and for a free Tibet. Rigzen Choekyi was put in prison for a total of twelve years for participating in a peaceful protest and part of the term was an extended sentence due to her involvement in composing songs in prison with other nuns. One of the other ex-political prisoners, Lhundup Sangmo, who was a nun that also participated in peaceful protests in support of basic Human Rights, was imprisoned for a total of nine years. She also was a part of the group composing songs in prison that received an extended sentence. This is how they got their name as the “Drapchi 14 singing nuns”.

Both women spoke of their personal experiences enduring such treatments as being hung and beaten as they were requested to denounce their religion and beliefs. They spoke of the harsh conditions in the Chinese prison and the way in which they suffered physically and psychologically. They both spoke of mostly being fed bread and tea but when they were provided vegetables they were covered with human waste. They spoke of the human waste from the buckets in their jail cells used for growing vegetables and the visibility that the food provided had not been washed. One of the women said they were forced to eat it this way and since they were starving it became necessary for them to eat, even though it made them sick. They both spoke of the decline in health due to the conditions in which they survived for many years. Both still suffer today from such things as physical disabilities and psychological distress. Both women need health treatment for such things as pain management and kidney failure. Some of the psychological effects they struggle with today are lack of memory and the inability to learn due to lack of concentration. They spoke of the inability to sleep, bad dreams, increased anger, lack of trust and social phobias. As one of them told her story she struggled to hold back tears. She lost her composer and tears began to flow as she expressed her concern for the Tibetans that are currently being held as political prisoners by Chinese forces. We took a moment of silence before continuing with the interview and discussing what Buddhism means to her today. They both still hold Buddhism as an important spiritual aspect of their life and although they do not wear the red robes of nuns they consider themselves to be Buddhist nuns inside. When they were released from prison in 1999 and 2002 they were prevented from returning to the nunnery and faced many difficulties in the country. Their decision to escape into exile was in hopes of finding a life with some freedoms.

I wanted to share a few of these details with you as the women have great desire to tell their stories to the world. They ask for the continued support of the global community to create awareness of the human rights concerns in Tibet due to the Chinese occupation of Tibet. For more information on the efforts of the Gu Chu Sum Movement please visit their website:


Also I would like to continue the efforts of the Pennies for Partnerships fund raising and anyone interested in sending a donation can e-mail me at lhalsey@uark.edu or lhdawg@sbcglobal.net and I will inform you of how to contribute. At this time I would like to focus my efforts on developing a contribution for the ex-political prisoners at Gu Chu Sum. The organization provides such things as basic needs and educational programs to assist the victims.

There are photos of two Tibetan women and myslef and individual photos of these ladies. They provided me permission to display these photos and if you want more details to the interview feel free to request it by contacting me via e-mail and it may be possible for me to e-mail you the transcription. Their stories are very compelling and as I mentioned they want to share it with the world.

Thank you for your continued support for the Tibetan cause. Your contributions and prayers are much needed and appreciated.

Thu-je-chhe (thank you),


Once again I appreciate you overlooking any typos and errors for I post without editing.

Learning About the Tibetan Culture

Tashi Delek (Hello)

It has been almost a week since I posted last and I apologize for the delay. I have been taking some time to get acquainted with the area and the new responsibilities of my internship. I will try to back track and give you a review of the things that have happened since last week.

I have a Tibetan man that I am working with to develop his ability for conversational English. The Tibetans have a very strong desire to learn English as well as practice the language every opportunity that comes their way. So my teacher at the University of Arkansas arranged to work with someone he knows. We get together almost everyday and work on conversation. In one week I have been approached by at least five Tibetans asking if I can teach them. Unfortunately with working at least 9 hours a day at the Tibetan Women’s Association for my internship it is difficult to take on anymore than the one student I already have. There of course some great organizations here which focus on teaching English. So I have also encouraged my student Tashi to enroll in the English classes at Louisiana Himalayan Association (LHA) for the daytimes when I am at my internship. LHA is a social work initiative with an affiliation to Tulane University in Louisiana. The man that I met at the agency is Neil and he holds a MSW from Tulane. For more information on LHA you can visit the website at www.lhainfo.org

On Thursday June 26th I was invited to attend a cultural event of a spiritual and political leader H.H. Gyalwang Karmapa. This was a very special invitation as it provides the insight to the spiritual values of the Buddhist culture. The Karmapa is said to be the third most important leader of the Tibetan people. The Karmapa recently spent time in the US and is highly regarded by Tibetans of the monastic community and also lay community. The day started with a ceremony at Gyuto Monastery and then moved to another monastery approximately two hours from Gyuto. First at Gyuto Monastery they served lunch to everyone who attended after a prayer session in the morning. In the picture you will see a lot of shots from the road because our taxi driver decided to take a short cut which allowed us to meet up with the Karmapa’s entourage and travel the rest of the way in his entourage. This was actually a lot of fun.

It was very exciting to see all the faces of the communities as we passed through many small villages on the way. I also had an opportunity to see the respect of the Indian communities as they bowed and showed respect to the Karmapa as he drove by. When we arrived at Drubten Pedme Gyeypai Gatsal Institute, another monastery, the nuns, monks and lay people welcomed him with cultural banners and music as they lined the walk way. It was very much a pomp and circumstance that you would see when someone like the president or the pope arrived in the US except obviously different cultural acknowledgments.

Everyone moved into the prayer hall where they participated in prayer and chants. Then they served rice and tea to everyone and H.H. the Karmapa addressed the crowd with thanks. There was about an hour break and then everyone reconvened for a two hour teaching from the leader. His talk was focused on the importance of choosing a teacher. This talk was very good but when speaking with my friends from the monastery Gyurmey and Pasang they commented that it was an easy teaching. I think because there were so many foreigners present he may have kept it more simple. I was most surprised when the Karmapa asked for the foreigners to come forward to receive a gift from him. What an amazing experience. Keep in mind this is someone the Dalai Lama looks to possibly take over for a time period when he passes on.

After the teaching there was cake served outside the prayer hall to all the attendees. The entertainment provided was from Taiwanese group who gave song and dance in honor of the Karmapa’s birthday. I learned that usually there would be Tibetan dance and music but due to the conditions in Tibet this is a year of mourning. This is a very important subject- the Tibetan people are not celebrating any of the traditions as usual because of the hundreds of lives that have been lost in Tibet this year since March 10th. The situation in Tibet is grave and many Tibetans have been killed for speaking out for freedom of religion, and other basic human rights. In addition there are hundreds maybe thousands that have been imprisoned since March 10th as political prisoners. They are faced with horrible conditions in the Chinese prisons and they need the global community to support the concerns of human rights violations.

Tomorrow I will be interviewing nuns from the “Drapchi 14” which is a group known as the singing nuns. This is the current project I am working on for the Tibetan Women’s Association. In conjunction with the TEXT project I have compiled a number of questions for the interview that will focus on their life in Tibet and their life in exile. I hope to provide more details to this project as it progresses.

On Saturday June 28th I had the privilege to participate in a leadership workshop sponsored by the Tibetan Women’s Association. This workshop focused on the empowerment of women. The presenters were two amazing US citizens Ambassador John McDonald and Dr. Eileen Borris. All I can say is WOW I had no idea I would be sitting in a room with such quality leaders from the US and also from the Tibetan community. First I would like to give a little information on Ambassador John McDonald. He is a US diplomat first appointed by President Jimmy Carter. He has worked in UN affairs and is a major peace keeper. He has been working all over the world as a conflict resolution specialist. Ambassador McDonald has been working on a project known as the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy for over sixteen years. For more information please visit the website at www.imtd.org

At the workshop there was diversity in representation from western countries as well as many women leaders of the Tibetan community. It was such a great experience and the workshops dealt with qualities make a good leader. Also in the afternoon the workshop switched topics and dealt with Trauma, Healing and Reconciliation. It was at this time that the discussion opened up for the women to share their personal experiences of trauma and how they have dealt with it in their lives. I heard stories of the long journey over from Tibet and what emotions were experienced as a young child that felt abandoned because their parents sent them into exile. It was also addressed that their spiritual development was the means in which brought them comfort and understanding of why their parents sent them to India. I also heard a young women talk about how one time the local India population became outraged at the Tibetan community and broke into their homes. The main discussion presented by Dr. Borris is the importance of telling your story and having it heard. The steps to healing start with telling the story. It made me think about how important it is to sit and listen to the Tibetans tell about their time in Tibet, their escape and the hardships they endured in getting to India and also their longing for a return to their family and home in Tibet. I believe that I am right where I am called to be with regards to my future as a social worker in the global community. My first lesson is to sit and listen to the people and then try to give a place for their stories to be heard.

I would like to thank you all for your time in reading about their stories and your continued support for the Tibetan cause. Please check out the photos on the photobucket site to see the cultural celebration and also the pictures of the magnificent women that attended the leadership workshop.


Also a big thanks to the Tibetan Women’s Association and all the Tibetans for their time in sharing with me.

Thu jeche (thank you),


As always thanks for overlooking any typos or grammar errors.