I am writing to you from the whirlwind of Dharamsala from a small internet cafe trying to think of words to describe the adventures we’ve had so far. I believe that my role here in my exploration of the Tibetan people in exile and their history is to be a listener and to pay attention to everything I see in order to feel their past struggles, their motivations to persevere and preserve their culture, their visions of a future Tibet and to truly learn from their words of wisdom that can only be acquired through hardship and eternal hope. As Halle mentioned, we listened to an old, inspiring Tibetan woman, Ama Ade, on one our first days in Dharamsala and her words were truly profound and evoked a lot of emotion within me. She told us of her 27 years in Chinese prison and the lessons she learned throughout her experiences. She inspired me so much that I wrote a poem for her that attempts to describe her effect on me as her listener:

A wisdom cultivated only in autumnal suffering,
Where the monsoon rain of summer travels down her wrinkles
As she cries for the lives that were stolen.
How does she have the courage to weave her aging hair with blood red ribbon
After witnessing the red of blood?
She clasps her humbled hands together
As if to answer my question with a physical expression of hope.
A hope that can melt the ice of desperation.
Listen to old, smart people said the old, smart woman.
To listen is to empower, to give purpose,
To feel each of her 27 years in prison
In the span of 27 minutes.
To understand the depth of her story
So as not to be ignorant.
To share her passion for life
Without having to experience the real fear of losing it.

I can’t wait to continue discovering this mystical place filled with the inspiring stories of its inhabitants.