Friday, April 20, 2007

Our Tibetan friend

Earlier this week I was walking back to our guest house (Matthew was in town going some shopping), a young Tibetan guy(Tsering) started talking to me in very poor English. He asked me all the typical questions. What's your name? Where are you from? how long are you staying? And then he explained that he is taking 3 English classes a day. And asked if I could meet with him everyday and talk English. I was a little surprised because of the way he said it. It wasn't much of a question, more like he was telling me. "you will meet me everyday to practice conversational English, ok" I know it was because he didn't speak much English, so I wasn't to worried, plus he didn't look very threatening. He gave me his phone number so that we could meet the following day. I told Matthew of my encounter and asked if he would come with me. Although he was very skeptical, he agreed.

The first meeting didn't work out because our phone conversation was very difficult. He understood that we were going to meet at a restaurant, but he went to the wrong restaurant.

The next day Matthew and I were walking along the street and we happened to see Tsering. He was with one of his friends that happen to be a Monk. This is even less threatening. We both had free time, so agreed to go to his place and talk.

He lives in a one room apartment. It was very simple and cozy. We sat around and tried to think of questions to ask and he tried to answer them. the monk spoke a little more English, so we were able to have a decent conversation. We talked for over an hour and then agreed to meet the next day.

The next day we met at his place and then walked to cafe to get some tea. We talked about the US an he talked about Tibet. We found out that he has had a very interesting and difficult life:

He is 20 years old. In Tibet he wrote for the Tibetan newspaper. He wrote an article that protested the Chinese occupation of Tibet and wanted freedom for Tibet. The Chinese government came for him. He was sent to prison for 3 years. He was put into a tiny room with many other people. There was no toilet and only a very small window. After 4 months his parents and brother got enough money to pay for him to get out of prison. But he is no longer allowed to be in Tibet. He walked for 25 days from Tibet to Nepal, through snow and mountains. From Nepal he drove to New Delhi. After working at a magazine as a poet he moved up to Dharmasala. He hoped to learn English and get a job in England- where one of his brothers is, or the USA. He also has a brother in South India that is a Lama. So his life has been quite interesting. And he is only 20!

We are not sure if we will be able to meet him again, but I hope so.


Anonymous said...

What to say? Where do you put all of this? As a white, middle class American how does one come to terms with this? How do you make sense of this? Is it all karma? Sometimes that's the only way I can even begin to pretend to understand it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, so interesting that you encountered this guy. Hopefully you all gave him more excitment to move to England and perhaps Londan.
I'm pretty moved....gosh, some of the things we worrry about in the US are so frivolous.
I hope you run into him again

Anonymous said...

england and perhaps the US......can't wait to see you!!!