Checking our Aid 2014

 

 

Checking our Aid 2014 - Update 18-12-2014

Gesar Fund - Han de Wit    Gesar Fund - Nyima Kunga

After all another Checking our Aid this year! Usually boardmember Nyima Kunga in summer travels to SouthEast China. This year however he was not able to get a visum. But immediately after summer we started a new procedure and the result is Nyima allready will leave for Xining the next week!

 

Nyima will be joined by boardmember and Shambhala teacher Han de Wit and his wife Ineke, founder of the Gesar Fnd Foundation. In his capacity of Shambhala acharya Han will give the Windhorse of Authentic Presence lung to the local Gesar vulonteers.

 

As it is winter now, and temperatures can fall down to minus 20 degrees Celsius (-4 °F), Ineke and Han won't travel farther than Xining where Nyima's family lives. Due to the height, the low temperatures and the thick snow it is dangerous to travel to the countryside.

 

Nyima wíll try to reach Dönda. But as he will have to conquer several mountain passes, it is not sure if he will make it.

 

In Xining Han en Nyima will talk with the local volunteers regarding the status of the Gesar Fund projects. Also they will try to contact a representative of the Könchok foundation to which the Gesar Fund yearly donates a substantial amount for education projects.

 

At the end of this Checking our Aid campaign we hope to have a well-founded idea regarding the several projects and to make decisions regarding financial support in the upcoming year.

 

As a conclusio of this update we'd like to state clearly - as we do on our webpage Checking our Aid - that only the travel expenses of Nyima are paid by the Gesar Fund. Other boardmembers pay all tickets themselves.

 

 

Checking our Aid 2014 - Update 22-12-2014

 

Gesar Communiteit Centre Finishing

Han and Nyima arrived in Xining and the local Gesar volunteers informed them about the latest developments in Dönda (where the Gesar General Store en the Gesar Community Centre are located).

Gesar Community Centre     Gesar Community Centre

The `buildings are there. And also there has been bought some furniture like emergency beds and school furniture. In previous updates this allready has been mentioned; also see the photos o nour Gesar Community Centre album.

 

In the fall of this year the plan was to build the gate, but after consulting the board this was postponed until a borehole was drilled to provide the water. Normally inhabitants of Dönda fetch water with buckets from the river. A few weeks ago the drilling has started in the middle of the square between the Community Centre buildings. The expatation is that in spring the gate will be constructed. Has en Nyima will try to find out how much money is left from the total of the original budget, and how much still is needed for furnishing.

 

Rabies outbreak

In the Chengdu prefecture (next to the Yushu prefecture) there has been a rabies outbreak at several locations. On the China countryside dogs allmost allways are stray dogs and of course their health is not monitored.

Yushu en Chengdu

Near the Chengdu-Yushu borderlines the dogs wander around in packs. As there allready has been one human casualty, authorities take this thread very seriously and people stay in when it's dark. Apart from Yushu-city Dönda as well is located close to the Chengdu border.

 

Checking our Aid 2014 - Update 25-12-2014

The Könchok Foundation

Han has sent an mail regarding the education project of the Könchok Foundation. Later this week he hopes to meet a representative of the Könchok Foundation on which we will send an update as well.

The most important activity of the Könchok Foundation is rebuilding the shedra of the Surmang Dutsi Til monastery. Also the Wechen Nunnary is supported and there are education projects for adults and children

The Surmang Project             The Surmang Project

Regarding the eduction: for adults a training for monks will start in fall 2015 and for children currently two programs exist. This used to be one program that until now has been supported by the Gesar Fund with 10000 euro per year (since 2010).

 

The new first program is for student monks. Most of them live in the monastery. The new second program is for nomad children, boys and girls.

 

According to the latest rumours these nomad children have posed quite a challenge for their teacher Khenpo Tsering last year. Khenpo Tsering has dedicated all his time and energy to this group for many years.

What these rumours exactly mean is not so clear yet. Will the Khenpo stop teaching? That would be a severe loss for the Könchok Foundation, and for the Gesar Fund it would mean losing 805 of oour education program!

 

Later this week Han and Nyima will meet a coördinator of the Könchok Foundation and hope to receive more information

 

 

Checking our Aid 2014 - Update 30-12-2014

 

Following the example of the Gesar Projects!

Last year local authorities in Chengdu county also started various projects for the poorest citizens of the population.

 

The local Gesar volunteers reported there always has been interest in the activities of the Gesar General Store (which also sold to the local authorities), and since the foundations of the Gesar Community Centre were poured in the summer of 2013, various groups of civil servants have visited the site.

 

The current situation now is even that varrios municipalities almost a a competitive manor are trying to set up projects and lend micro credits to help out the poorest citisins in winter!

 

The Gesar Fund is exceptionally proud that 'our' manifestation of the enlightened society is spreading. Even if the consequence is that getting the proper licenses for the Community Centre has become more difficult, as the authorities pay more attention to the other projects.

 

Gesar Community Centre Kindergarten

In septembre we posted an update about the classrooom, including some photo's.

 

Our local volunteer still are looking for a teacher for Chines, Tibetan and English. But that is not easy. Teachers from the city cannot handle the altitude for a longer period of time. It would be unhealthy.

 

So for teaching in wintertime in fact only Tibetan teachers are suitable, which means English lessons cannot be given. So Han and Nyima will speak with the local volunteers about alternative lessons. We hope to do an update on the results!

 

Checking our Aid 2014 - Update 01-01-2015

In a previous update we allready told about the group of nomad children who were receiving lessons thanks to the Könchok Foundation. Yesterevening Han and Nyima met a representative of the Könchok Foundation and were informed in detail about the current situation.

The Surmang Project            The Surmang Project

Khenpo Tsering, the monk which has been teaching the children for so many years, has expressed he has trouble in maintaining the groups behaviour.

 

Especially the boys are wild and there has been much damage like demolished furniture and broken windows. In the past year the Khenpo has twice done a whole program of fixing windows and they immediately started getting broken again!

 

As long there are not enough adults supervising this group, the Khenpo does not believe in continuing the program. He did not say this in so many words but did express his wish to have a container with more adults.

 

The Könchok Foundation now decided they will focus on the adults program starting in the fall of 2015. In result there will be more adults available for supervision for the 150 up to 200 lay children.

 

According to Chines law education programs which are not part of the official curriculum have to run outside the regular hours. This means that the Könchok program we support only can take place in the three / four months in the winterstop. Happily by then the Könchok adults program allready has started, so Khenpo Tsering - assisted by adults - will be able to resume his lessons.

 

But: due to this above mentioned new law, the Könchok Foundation understands that if the supporting partners will prioritize other projects as the number of lessons will decrease drastically.

 

Han and Nyima assured that educating the nomad children remains a priority for the Gesar FUnd. It is not only the education. The fact that the children get warm meals during those months and - if necessary - medical aid, garantees that this very vulnerable group has chance on a healthy future!Nonetheless we will decrease our financial support with 25% to $10.000 dollar (EUR 7500) which is much more than enough for support for the remaining wintermonths.blijven waarborgen.

 

 

 

Checking our Aid 2014 - Update 03-01-2015

Nyima now is in Dönda! And - what does not speak for itself - he managed to talk to Han on the telephone. Han wrote to us: "Nyima, together with his brother Sojong and the nomads who were present, made an inventory of all material and immaterial assets.

 

The Kindergarten

Kindergarten

First: as mentioned earlier in this Checking our Aid campaign: regarding teaching hours we are bound to Chinese law: lessons only can take place outside regular school hours. For us that leaves only the three months in the winterstop. But winters are extreme cold and teachers from the city cannot stand the Dönda altitude which is much higher than the Xining altitude.

 

Therefore there has been decided for an alternative teachings program. On the China countryside teaching is done in a strict classical manner which means: the teacher talks, the students listen. It is comparable with our schoolsystem a century ago. So plans have been made to buy lessons material which help the children get insight in shapes, colors, numbers and space. Materials which are meant to work with, stimultate the children to work with themselves. A risk is that the monk-teacher should support this way of working. Our local Gesar volunteers will try to guarantee this!

 

Self-sufficiency of the nomads

The Gesar Fund wants to make sure that with the building. of the Community Centre the nomads regard the Gesar Fund as a kind of money provider.

 

The past and previous year a lot of time and money has been spent in construction of the buildings. Nyima and Sojong make an inventorty of what still needs to be bought, e.g. for each building a stove for burning yak excrements. A central heating is too expensive

Gesar Fund Nomads     Gesar Fund Nomads

But now, as the centre allmost is finished, the nomads need to be stimulated in Maar nu het centrum er eenmaal staat moeten de nomaden verder gestimuleerd worden in self-sufficiency. The Gesar General Store has a new manager, and now we also want a caretaker for the Community Centre.

 

Nyima and Sojong talked to the Gesra Bakery lady from Zhenzing. She has a injured hand and still cannot work, especially in the cold. Nyima proposed her to become caretaker for the Community Centre and will coordinate all our plans for the Centre. Also she will train new bakery personel in spring or summer, preferably young peoople.

 

The problem with selfsufficiency of the nomads is that in general they have not more skills than nomad skills as herding yaks, making stoves and building tents.

 

As Dönda is a mandatory bus stop for touristic coaches, it seems that the best option is to sell souvenirs: small butter packets, miniture stoves, miniature nomad tents, chains et cetera. By selling products they make themselves a direct link is created between creating and earning money.To be continued!

 

Checking our Aid 2014 - Update 07-01-2015: Impression Han de Wit

Gesar Fund - Han de Wit


Meeting our Ling family in Kham


The ninety year old grandmother of our board member Nyima Kunga has seen it all: the invasion of the Chinese communist troops in Yushu in 1959, the fights, the hunger, the humiliation, the captivity, the work camps and later in 1966 the social and spiritual destruction during the three years of 'cultural revolution.' And now she sings an old Buddhist song for us which she learned from her mother.

 

Ayi singing

 

Ineke and I are sitting in the smallest room of the house, packed together with four generations of Nyima's family: our grandson Chado, his father Nyima, Nyima’s mother Achi and Ayi herself, Chado's grand-grandmother who is singing for us, barely audible in the silence of this little room. Ineke, founder and honorary member of our Gesar Fund and Achi -  the two grandmothers of Chado – hold each other’s hands. I am sitting in front of Ayi and marvel about her. Dressed in her Tibetan chuba she seems as timeless as Tibetan culture itself. While she turns the prayer wheel, I stammer out a few words  in Khamke, the local Tibetan dialect.

 

Every year the family comes from the high Chendu down to Xining. And this time Ineke and I also are present. Not only we are the grandmother and grandfather of Chado, but, according to Tibetan tradition, we are such for áll grandchildren. They all sit up and crawl over us just as easy as against their biological grandparents. Very cosy, all the little ones!

 

Ayi and so all her descendants belong to the clan of Ling. Ling was the county where Gesar was king around the 11th century. The husband of Ayi was a student of the 10th Trungpa. Our own Dharma teachers, Chögyam Trungpa and Sakyong Mipham, are descendants of Gesar himself. For these teachers the spiritual and the secular are no separated areas. This is the vision of Shambhala and of Gesar of Ling. This is also why we chose the name Gesar Fund for our foundation.

 

Ayi thinks it speaks for itself that all these karmic connection now culminate in our gathering. In our family social and spiritual exercise always went together, translates Nyima for us. It reminded me of all the actions they deployed for the Gesar Fund after the 2010 earthquake (take a look at the photos on our photo stream): their own houses were destroyed and on the Altiplano's of the Himalayas they lived through three severe winters in tents. Still they kept on working for the relief of others.

 

In line with these dharmic connections Sakyong Mipham had given me permission to transmit a meditation practice that evokes the inspiration and spirit of Gesar: The Windhorse of Authentic Presence, written by the Sakyong in 1995. Such a transmission can only be done orally from person to person and is called a lung. So now there was the opportunity to give this lung for the Gesar practise to our local Gesar volunteers. After a formal request to receive this lung was made and some initial verses – the Seven line prayer to Padmakara and a short mandala offering – were recited in Tibetan by the adults, also the little ones listened silently to this Dutch ‘khenpo of Shambhala’. I gave a short talk on our lineage and the place of Gesar in it, as not different from the Rigden kings. I mentioned that this lung is a permissions to practice with this text or that one could just see it as making a further connection with the energy of the warrior tradition of Shambhala.  After the lung our local Gesar volunteers told me they truly wanted to practise this. For the generation of Nyima practising the Buddhadharma is still a matter of course.

 

Ineke and I saw what we already thought to have seen earlier: the Buddhadharma and the practice of it are so deeply rooted in Tibetan culture, that they can be destroyed by nothing or no one.  The same counts for the heart and the self-evident willingness to stand ready for other people and to help them improve their living conditions. And that is the same heart as the heart of the donors to our Gesar Fund.

 

Han de Wit

 

 

 

 

Gesar Fund Projecten

Checking our Aid

 

Underneath you will find hyperlinks to previous Checking our Aid campaigns.

 

Each campaign consists of some six messages directly received from Kham.

 

   *     Checking our Aid 2016

   *     Checking our Aid 2015

   *     Checking our Aid 2014

   *     Checking our Aid 2013

   *     Checking our Aid 2012

   *     Checking our Aid 2011