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Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012


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Last night, we sat in a village home under the Great Wall, huddled around the television watching the Olympics. We munched on watermelon that our hosts had so graciously provided us and argued about the execution of each athlete's pommel horse routine. Back near a large capital, following Olympic sports, it really became concrete just how far we had come since our homestay and trek in Tibet. Although we still have another night together, it is now undeniable that our reintegration into American society is a quickly coming reality.

After our trek, we spent two nights in Xining, presenting our ISP's and meeting with a talented thangka painter named Tenzing Dolma. Many of us bought paintings made by her students and her and look forward to sharing them with our families and friends back home. Then, saying goodbye to Xining, we boarded a 26 hour train to Beijing and came full circle, ending back up where our trip began. We traveled to a small village under an unrestored part of the Great Wall and spent three nights doing group activities to prepare for our return home. We capped off our experience by waking up very early our last morning to hike to the Great Wall for sunrise. We are now in Beijing city, taking in all the sights before we have to go back to America. Today we went to 798. a contemporary art district, and explored the area and the art displayed there. Tomorrow, we will be meeting with journalist Paul Mooney and doing a little bit of sightseeing before our final night together. Together, we have traveled on many roads, both metaphorical and literal, and now we have just one left: the flight back home. While we look forward to the comforts of home, we will never forget all the miles we have logged as a group.

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Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012

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On the Road Again…

Silk Road Group,Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012

Description

Last night, we sat in a village home under the Great Wall, huddled around the television watching the Olympics. We munched on watermelon that our hosts had so graciously provided us and argued about the execution of each athlete’s pommel horse routine. Back near a large capital, following Olympic sports, it really became concrete just […]

Posted On

08/6/12

Author

Silk Road Group

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Mornings in the rural Tibetan village, Jenny, Danielle, and I would wake up to the smiling faces of our homestay family. Our Ani (Homestay mother) and grandmotherwould point us to the littletable set up outside. As we sipped milk tea, and ate bread with honey, and vegetables, we admiredthe stunning green mountain landscape. Abouta two minute walk down the dirt pathlead usto another beautiful spot.Nestled in the mountains,this point overlooked countless wheat fields. And in the distance was the shining top of a stupah. Since we arrived, all I wanted to do was visit the building. I asked one of our guides about it, bu in broken English he replied "Too far". Nevertheless, I was still determined to reach the golden stupah. After a rainstorm, Danielle and I were sitting in our home, deciding what to do with our day. Despite the rain, we grabbed our sneakers and rain jackets and headed out to reach our goal- the stupah. We walked down to the nearby stream. We hiked a minute in the opposite direction to a small bridge, fearing that this would be our only way to cross the river. After crossing, we began to climb the mountains, and soon realized that this would not be an easy hike. We slipped on mud, dodged thorns, and clung to rocks. We even slid down mountain sides on our butts. Eventually, we were able to slide down onto a small dirt path. The path took us to numerous wheat fields. We had to balance on the small dirt mounds inbetween the fields in order to pass them. It was amazing walking with the wheat running through my fingers. We climbed up and down through the fields untilwe were able to get down the mountain side. At this point, the stupah looked close, and the only thing stopping us was a large stream. We ran to the water, and Danielle quickly ran across in her sneakers- they were pretty destroyed from our last water trek. I decided to take mine off seeing as I didn't want to have wet shoes for the next day. I ran across the freezing stream and we anxiously climbed hrough the farms. Tired but excited, we reached a small village. We said "Demoo" (hello) to everyone we saw as they, like many, were surprised to see foreigners in such a remote village.After receiving some help from ocals and using a lot of body language, we were on the final path up to the stupah. There were some old men sitting outside a gate. We said hello and pointed to the stupah andtheykindlylet us intothe courtyard. Danielle and I were ecstatic! The stupah wasabsolutely gorgeous and much larger then we expected. The intricate detail was more amazingthan weimagined.As foreigners, we didn't expect to be let inside, but then a group of kids ran up to us shouting "Demoo, Demoo!" "Hello, Hello!" An older woman followed behind them and motioned to us to enter the building. A monk opened the door. We took off our dirty socks and shoes, and followed her in. After hiking in the mountains, we were covered in mud, so we quickly tried to clean ourselves off. The inside was even prettier than the outside. There were tons of Buddah statues, picures, paintings, and more. The monk handed us candles to light and place on the mantle. She then handed us gongs to ring. To the left and right of the main room, were rooms of scriptures spinning around and around. Each cylinder of scriptures periodically hit bells that chimed for the whole village to hear. As beautiful as the stupah was, we knew that we had to start the trek home to get to evening meeting. We walked down the steps and the children followed us out the gate. As we walked through the village again, everyone said Goodbye! "Demoo!" and the children followed us down to the stream. Once we reached the other side, they shouted in the little English they knew, "Good bye, I love you! I love you!" We said good bye and waved back. Climbing back up through the fields we could still see the little kids' smiling faces.Since we knew the way this time, we got home relatively quickly. Just before entering the instructors' homestay home to tell the group of our trek, I looked out only to find ha the stupah was once again just a small fleck of gold in the distance.

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Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012

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Trek to the Stupah

Anna-Karin Hess,Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012

Description

Mornings in the rural Tibetan village, Jenny, Danielle, and I would wake up to the smiling faces of our homestay family. Our Ani (Homestay mother) and grandmotherwould point us to the littletable set up outside. As we sipped milk tea, and ate bread with honey, and vegetables, we admiredthe stunning green mountain landscape. Abouta two […]

Posted On

08/1/12

Author

Anna-Karin Hess

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    [post_content] => I never really understood the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words". It just didn't occur to me that dots of light and shadows and hues could be worth more than words. But when we hopped on a bus back from our last trek and I decided to look at my pictures, it hit me. 

As I was looking through pictures of the trip, I made the fateful mitake of going to the first picture I took five weeks ago. It was of the five guys on our trip sitting on a rug. It wasn't a particularly special picture; no artistic shadow, no sepia-toned filter, just a regular picture. But there was so much more there that only someone who had spent the last five weeks with us could see. We have all grown so much. Roger and Will have beards that makes them look years older than when they got in the plane in Los Angeles. Rob's hair is two inches longer and trekking has made Big Al a lot stronger. And me, I didnt even recognize myself. It wasn't that my clothes hadn't yet acquired a dustiness to them that makes them a shade lighter. It wasn't that my hair had not yet been washed in Chinese water enough that it has a tendency to stay in whatever direction I pull it. It was the look on my face that was so different and showed me how far I've come.

It was a look so full of innocence and attachment, but with a hint of expectation, that I was taken aback. In that picture I saw how much of my preconceptions and misconceptions I had brought with me. I saw how I had questioned the culture and world I found myself thrust into. And then I switched to a picture of us from two days ago. You could immediately see the impression China and our adventures had left on us in our hearts and in our minds. In that one picture of us looking out across Tibetan mountain tops you could feel that there was so much more to the scene than light and lines. We were looking out across our entire trip and how far we had come. I will never again just mindlessly drink water from a tap without thinking about how much work it took for my homestay mother to get one pot so her guests could drink tea. I will never think of home the same way after hearing how Tibetan nomads are forced into compounds when their real home is as far as their cattle can roam. I have learned so much from Chinese culture and people thatit would be impossible for me to not bringhome more than just pictures and souvenirs.

We have all grown and changed because of this trip, and when I look back on it, the things I've seen and the people I've met have had a profound effect on me that words can only begin to describe. [post_title] => Reflections [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => reflections [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2012-08-01 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=40331 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 289 [name] => Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012 [slug] => silk-road-linking-people-and-traditions-summer-2012 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 289 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 252 [count] => 62 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 15.1 [cat_ID] => 289 [category_count] => 62 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012 [category_nicename] => silk-road-linking-people-and-traditions-summer-2012 [category_parent] => 252 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2012/silk-road-linking-people-and-traditions-summer-2012/ ) ) [category_links] => Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012 )

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Reflections

Jack Rosenberg,Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012

Description

I never really understood the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words". It just didn’t occur to me that dots of light and shadows and hues could be worth more than words. But when we hopped on a bus back from our last trek and I decided to look at my pictures, it hit […]

Posted On

08/1/12

Author

Jack Rosenberg

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I like to believe that I am Superman and that I wear an 'S' on my chest. It's a weird feeling when that air of invincibility we all carry with us in our gut runs away. Most simplistically, that sensation is described as fear.

My Dad is afraid of heights - I guess that's something that is genetic. I always knew I didn't like the feeling of being really high up and knowing that I could fall. I'd end up with some minor butterflies floating around in my stomach if I were to look off of my apartment balcony - but minor butterflies were something I could always handle. This fear never played a large roll in my life until a few days ago.

The group was hiking and finishing our amazing ten day homestay/trek through parts of Tibet. We had come to the end of our road, where vans were coming to pick us up to drive us to the bust station in Rebkon where we would take a bus back to Xining. We had two hours until those vans were coming and were informed that there was a Buddhist cave, where life supposedly originated, a steep trek an hour above us. Most of our group decided to go and embrace the opportunity presented to us as we know how little time there is left and how precious that time is.

I am not going to say that embracing this opportunity was a bad decision, but the whole hike up and down the mountain was certainly not enjoyable for me while I was doing it.

The fear that on my balcony produced minor butterflies was now essentially crippling, freezing me in place multiple times. I couldn't get it out of my head that with a single misstep I would fall, break my head, my neck, that I would ruin the trip for the others as they would have to witness my mangled, broken, bloody body lying at the base of the canyon. Not to mention death and dying.

Eventually, what seemed like hours later, as I was descending the fear rose from my body and I began to think. Was that so bad? Why ws I so scared - so traumatized? Was it because I felt death was imminent when it really wasn't? Realizing this was the case, I got upset. My mind is something that I should control, can control - I realized this fear is incredibly conquerable.

The next time I am in a situation like this, and believe me I will be looking to put myself in these situations, I now know to just talk to myself and settle myself down. This experience taught me that this is very possible and also just how to do it. Fear is conquerable. I am no longer afraid of being afraid.

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Fear

William Maas,Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012

Description

I like to believe that I am Superman and that I wear an ‘S’ on my chest. It’s a weird feeling when that air of invincibility we all carry with us in our gut runs away. Most simplistically, that sensation is described as fear. My Dad is afraid of heights – I guess that’s something […]

Posted On

08/1/12

Author

William Maas

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    [post_date] => 2012-08-01 00:00:00
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In alittle under seven hours, my fellow travelers and I will undertake our last great overland journey togetherin China: a 28 hour train ride to Beijing. We already have a few train rides under our belts, but there is a specific catch this time - we have hard seats and not beds. I, like any reasonable person, am a littleanxious about this train ride. 28 hours is a very long time to sit in a seat that doesn't recline, with no movies to watch, and no food other than ramen and vaccuum packed squid skewers.Therefore, asa mental exercise to prepare myself for the train, below I will imagine my perfect train ride and how it will play out.
Hour 1: I stake out my surroundings and settle down. We are all sitting together, and I get an aisle seat in a set of four chairs. I locate the food cartinhopes that this time the selection will be different, but soon realize it's mostly the same. However, in the drink case, I see water, and am comforted by the fact that if I get thirsty, I do not need to double my daily caloricintake with a soda. I return to my seat, and watch the landscape fly by the window as we talk about how easy and plesant the train ride will be.
Hour 2:The monotonous landscape outside the window has pushed me to engage in someother activity, so I take out the copy of Tess of the D'Urburvilles that I purchased in Urumqi and begin reading chapter 2. I am completely taken with the story, and switch to a window seat for optimal reading privacy.
Hour 3 - 6: I take a stroll with Tess through magical literary lands.
Hour 7: My eyes needing a break from reading, I purchase a spicy ramen from the food cart, and remove the noodles from the container before I add water. But luckily, as I am doing this, another member of the group is preparing his/herself ramen and decides to take my noodles, thus preventing food waste. The water from the hot water dispenseris such a temperature that I can begin drinking my ramen broth immediately, and the broth mixture has no globs of packaged sauce.
Hour 8:Eating my ramen takes a long time, andas a result, Ientertain myselffor a good hour by consuming the broth and havingjolly conversation with my fellow travelers about the splendor of the Great Wall. At the end of this hour, itis around midnight, and Iam sleepy.
Hour 9:A spaceis available under one of the seats we have purchased so that I can blow up my sleeping pad and sleep on the ground.The flooris incredibly clean, andalmost no peoplehave boardedthe train with standing room tickets. Isleep like a baby, with no one accidentally kicking me in the face, or taking photos of my strange sleeping arrangement with their iPhones.
Hour 10 - 20:I dream of rainbows.
Hour 21: I eat a lovely breakfast of yogurt and an apple. These food items have stayed fresh tasting throughout the course of my overnight journey. I continue with Tess because I have missedher in my sleep.
Hour 22 - 26: Tess and I catch up a bit.
Hour 27 - 28: I eat a quick snack of an apple, knowing that we have a several hour bus ride to the Great Wall. I pack my bags up, stretch my legs in preparation for fresh air, and disembark the train having hada restful, pleasant experience, and ready to make the most of my last few days in China. In the battle between human and transport, human will have won.
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Human vs. Transport

Kim Sarnoff,Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012

Description

In alittle under seven hours, my fellow travelers and I will undertake our last great overland journey togetherin China: a 28 hour train ride to Beijing. We already have a few train rides under our belts, but there is a specific catch this time – we have hard seats and not beds. I, like any […]

Posted On

08/1/12

Author

Kim Sarnoff

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Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012

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ugly as beautiful

Adee Yacoby,Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012

Description

from the moment I stepped off the plane all I have seen is deformed pants. At first I thught they were ripped, but as dodged babies relieving themselves on the streets, knew that this wasnt the case. I am so impressed by the practicality of the holes. the ease at which babies can do their […]

Posted On

08/1/12

Author

Adee Yacoby

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    [post_date] => 2012-07-31 00:00:00
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We woke to the sound of rain tapping on the roof of the house in which we had taken shelter the night before. It had been a cold and fitful night's sleep but we rose early. At 8.30am we set out across the Tibetan plains in the direction of a monastery and a nearby cave where, according to Tibetan folk law, humanity began. Our trek took us past numerous yaks and sheep, over hills, alongside streams and though lush valleys carpeted with bright purple and yellow flowers. We arrived at our destination around noon and ate lunch. With bellies full of bread and jelly we set out for the monastery and cave perched high above us on the hillside. We reached the cave within the hour,briefly explored its outer chambers, admired the view (see picure) and then descended in haste so that we could catch our bus back to Xining.

We are all now back in Xining, well fed, clean and looking forward to a good night's sleep in comfortable beds! The students will be sharing more stories about our adventures on the Yak board over the next few days so please keep your eyes peeled!

The Silk Road I-team

[post_title] => Rural to Urban [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => rural-to-urban [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2012-07-31 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=40352 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 289 [name] => Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012 [slug] => silk-road-linking-people-and-traditions-summer-2012 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 289 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 252 [count] => 62 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 15.1 [cat_ID] => 289 [category_count] => 62 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012 [category_nicename] => silk-road-linking-people-and-traditions-summer-2012 [category_parent] => 252 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2012/silk-road-linking-people-and-traditions-summer-2012/ ) ) [category_links] => Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012 )

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Rural to Urban

Silk Road I-team,Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012

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We woke to the sound of rain tapping on the roof of the house in which we had taken shelter the night before. It had been a cold and fitful night’s sleep but we rose early. At 8.30am we set out across the Tibetan plains in the direction of a monastery and a nearby cave […]

Posted On

07/31/12

Author

Silk Road I-team

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One thing that really struck me in this Tibetanvillage and throughout China is the basic treatment of animals. I knew coming here to China that the relationship between animal and human is very different than in the United States, it was rumored that people here eat dog, but I didn’t knowthatit would be like this.

In China and in this Tibetan village, Man’s Best Friend is tied by a metal chain about a yard in length to a stick in the ground right outside the family home and they don’t move from this general area. Some dogs have little mud houses to sleep in, others don’t. Pets here seem like they must fulfill a role, as each dog here acts as a guard dog and barks obnoxiously at anything and everything. Never in a million years would the idea of a doggy spa cross the minds of these Tibetans.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that the idea of a commitment to feeding a living thing some of your family’s hard earned food day in and day out just for some enjoyment is farfetched and ridiculous to people who live on and have so little. An animal or anything that takes away that much of the family’s resources must have a purpose, there must be a role that it is fulfilling. Ergo a guard dog. I get it. I really do. But at the same time can’t there be some kind of balance betweenhappinessand fulfilling a purpose that is found?

I took ourhomestayguard dog on a walk yesterday. The dog had no idea what was going on and was hit witha barrageofunderstandable emotions. It was at first ecstatic to be able to walk around in an area bigger than a one yard radius. Then anxiety and nerves set in as the dog was now in an area it had never seen before. Anxiety spilled into curiosity as the dog climbed up mound after mound of dirt every time so thrilled to be king of the hill, king of the world. The emotions of being bored, exhausted, and tired never even had a chance of entering this little dog’s head.Ecstatic, exhilarated, thrilled, and liberated won out.

Now, a day later, I wonder if the dog realizes there could be so much more going on in its life. I wonder why so many people here in China treat their animals this way and how so many people haven’t realized how loving a dog can be. Can’t there be some balance found here between guard dog and man’s best friend?

As I walk past the dog today, it squeals with delight in seeing me. It remembers me simply from the fifteen minutes I spent with it, showing it a world beyond this one dusty road.It futilelyattempts to breakits iron chain and get to me. The dog rolls over for me,andlets me scratch its belly. Can’t anyone else see this happiness, this excitement in such a simple thing as a walk down the road? I walk away slowly, feelinglike a perpetrator as the owner of the doggives me a dirty lookand then gives the dog a bowl of left over onions for dinner.

Dragons and the world Dragons has brought me to has taught me so many things that I want to incorporate into my life at home, but the idea of treating an animal like this is quite disgusting to me. I understand where this behavior stems from, but the blindness turned toward such utter happiness and bliss is completely inaccessible and incomprehensible for me. Can’t a balance be found between necessityand love especially as dogs so easily sharethislove? Can’t the owners of this dog at the very least show their gratitude for their guard dog doing its duty by providing a little bit more than a bowl of onions, or maybe by showing it that there is a world outside of this dusty street by taking it on awalk? Is this too much to ask?

[post_title] => Life on a Leash [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => life-on-a-leash [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2012-07-29 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=40365 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 289 [name] => Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012 [slug] => silk-road-linking-people-and-traditions-summer-2012 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 289 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 252 [count] => 62 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 15.1 [cat_ID] => 289 [category_count] => 62 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012 [category_nicename] => silk-road-linking-people-and-traditions-summer-2012 [category_parent] => 252 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2012/silk-road-linking-people-and-traditions-summer-2012/ ) ) [category_links] => Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012 )

Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012

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Life on a Leash

William Maas,Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012

Description

One thing that really struck me in this Tibetanvillage and throughout China is the basic treatment of animals. I knew coming here to China that the relationship between animal and human is very different than in the United States, it was rumored that people here eat dog, but I didn’t knowthatit would be like this. […]

Posted On

07/29/12

Author

William Maas

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Today the students are excited to be leaving on a nine day adventure to Tibetan regions of Xinghai province. For the first four days of the trip, we will be doing homestays with Tibetan families in the village of Xunhua. We have been so busy and excited by city life here in Xining that we cannot wait for the chance to relax, reflect, and connect with local families. The village of Xunhua is located in China's beautiful central highlands that will provide a great scenery for hiking, exploring, and interacting with our fellow Dragons and homestay families. To all the parents out there-- don't worry if you don't hear from us for a while. We will be connecting with nature and Tibetan culture, but not our emails. After five days of the homestay, we will then we embarking on our final trek. All students that participated in the last trek had an incredible time, and those that were sick are biting at the bit to carry their massive bags. So long, and next time you hear from us we will be in Beijing!

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Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012

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Itinerary for next ten days

Silk Road Students,Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012

Description

Today the students are excited to be leaving on a nine day adventure to Tibetan regions of Xinghai province. For the first four days of the trip, we will be doing homestays with Tibetan families in the village of Xunhua. We have been so busy and excited by city life here in Xining that we […]

Posted On

07/23/12

Author

Silk Road Students

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Pentokis a Tibetan word that means "to benefit and positively impact others". In Dragons, us students try our best to do Pentok for each other, our instructors, and everyone we meet, but we often meet outstanding people who are a service for their communities and make Pentoktheir lives. For the past two days, we have been spending all our waking at the Pentok Institute, a non-profit organization run by Shamo Thar. Shamo Thar is a young woman from the Tibetan region surrounding the city of Xining who saw a problem in her community, and decided she could do something about it. Shamo Thar started the Pentok Institute in 2007 with a group of her colleagues at Xinghai Normal University, and within two years, it grew into an amazing non-profit that provides education in Mandarin and English to young Tibetan girls. In addition the Pentok Institute also raises money to provide economic development services to impoverished villagers in Xinghai province. Through programs such as yak and sheep exchanges and motorcycle repair services, the Pentok Institute has helped over fifty families elevate their economic status so that they could send their daughters to school. Last year, Shamo Thar was recognized for her amazing work by the Clinton Global Initiative.

But Shamo Thar has not only had an important impact on the lives of Tibetan children, but her work has had an incredible impact on the people like us who visit and participate in her work. On the first day we met with her students, the atmosphere was unfortunately icy. Despite our best efforts, most of the girls were uncomfortable and shy around us. Fearing we were doing something wrong, we asked Shamo what we could do and she said not to worry. For most of these girls, we were the first westerners they had ever seen, and they had watched Nicholas Cage's Ghostrider the night before and were terrified that all Americans had the temper of Nicholas Cage. Luckily, things got better as we spent a couple hours with the students eating lunch and introducing ourselves and not a single student burst into flame or cracked a whip like they expected us to. We even were able to end the day by teaching a couple students how to play paddy-cake. The effect was amazing as we watched a few students teach more, and the ripple effect continued until everyone was playing it. As I was leaving, one of the youngest, shyest girls asked me what my name was. I responded "Jack, it is a pretty common name in America". She then asked "Jack?", a name that does not translate into Tibetan, but apparently Tashi is a common name in Tibetan so she told me "Tashi is common, you are Tashi".

Our second day with the Pentok Institute was even better than the first. We planned out a full day of activities that would not only be fun for us and the girls, but would also teach some English. As groups of girls cycled through Jenny, Kim, and my station, we watchedas their faces lit up as they learned how to say colors, animals, and objects in English. I also learned as they would hear a word in English, issue a collective "Ohhhhhh..." and then say the word in Tibetan among themselves. To us, these activities were rudimentary, kindergarten games, but to them this small, heartfelt move on our part represented an opportunity for a better life.

The Pentok Institute was an amazing experience that will last forever for girls like Emily, who was barely old enough to be in school, and for people like me, who travelled thousands of miles not knowing what to expect, but who find wonder at every stop. However, there are not enough places like the Pentok Institute, in this part of the world especially. People like Shamo Thar do amazing work, but unfortunately heart and effort do not always translate into funding. I invite all who read this to visit the Pentok Institute website, read the stories of the young girls, and do whatever you can to contribute to the cause, because as Shamo Thar said, "when you educate a young girl, you empower the community"

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Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012

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Pentok Service

Jack "Tashi" Rosenberg,Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions, Summer 2012

Description

Pentokis a Tibetan word that means "to benefit and positively impact others". In Dragons, us students try our best to do Pentok for each other, our instructors, and everyone we meet, but we often meet outstanding people who are a service for their communities and make Pentoktheir lives. For the past two days, we have […]

Posted On

07/22/12

Author

Jack "Tashi" Rosenberg

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