Sedona Film Festival Presents: “Monk With A Camera”

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Thanks to the Sedona Film Festival, years ago I watched a film: “Blindsight” about blind children in Tibet. That led me to my Tibetan visit in 2010 and meeting Kyila, now director and founder of Kiki’s Kids! Want to know more, start reading my blog from the very beginning…and learn how you can help Kiki’s Kids with me!

This year I saw the movie “Monk With A Camera” and truly loved learning the story about Nicholas (Nicky) Vreeland who becomes a Dalai Lama-appointed abbot of a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in India. He is the first Westerner to achieve such a position; therefore, it is a worthwhile documentary to see. I loved Nicky’s photography and the story of how his photography had helped raise funds for Rato Monastery. Of course, I loved seeing the Dalai Lama, his laugh and I always enjoy his humor.

 

 

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Update: Holiday Time For Kyila, Yet Working!

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I recently heard from Kyila and was glad to hear she took some holiday time. As everyone knows when working with young people it is a full-time task, and especially so since she has residential responsibilities.

I was expecting to hear that she truly had a holiday time of relaxation; however, Kyila was also traveling the rural areas of Tibet and had discovered twins with major physical disabilities. Yes they were blind, and also unable to move around; therefore, the family had kept them often in one place. When that happens leg bones do not grow as they should, especially in the growing years of ones young life. Everyone needs movement! Leg bones and muscles to grow and take shape….from birth to old age, so do not forget this information!

Kyila made connections for the family to have the young children see a doctor in Lhasa, and if there was hope then they would travel to a Shanghai hospital. BUT, the children are with bodies so deformed there seems to be no hope to help them with their physical disability. When I receive an additional update, I will keep you posted.

Namaste!

Childhood, Oh So Precious!

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It was simply stated on a roadside sign board in the USA, “Their future is determined by their first 5 years.” As I read the statement my mind snapped to the children I had seen in Tibet in 2010, and what had also become the start of my journey to help a young woman realize her dream. She too knew the importance of the early formative years of every child needing a safe environment, good health, safe food and water, and a supportive loving family.

This young lady is blind and knew how fortunate she was to develop skills early on in life thanks to The Center for The Blind where she attended school…and it allowed her to learn at other institutions too. But most importantly she knew that some children are literally tied to a location in their home so they do not get hurt, yet with no social interactions and no movement, they also have not much of a life. Family members go on with their responsibilities but they have no way to care for the blind baby. Even if they knew how important the first 5 years of life are for a child, they have to eke out their own living to be able to provide their child with something!

Fortunately, Kyila, founder of Kiki’s Kids, is most interested in helping the 3 – 5 year olds who are not getting all the necessary support they should receive from their own family. We who are interested in helping Kyila’s children and who  know every childhood is precious, try in our own way to support her efforts. Through donations to Global Roots, earmarked for Kiki’s Kids, much success has been happening to have these children have safe, healthy, and happy childhood! Please donate what and when you can to support Kyila’s efforts. All is greatly appreciated. If you can too, follow this blog to learn more about what is happening at Kiki’s Kids.

Kiki’s Kids to Move in 2014

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Currently, Kiki’s Kids is located in Shigatse, at a beautiful location on the Braille Without Borders farm … but, quite a few hours drive from Lhasa … I know this first-hand because I had spent some time in Shigatse before Kiki’s Kids had been located there. It is a drive….and worse yet when one needs to get to a hospital in the middle of the night with any number of sick children!

The children in Kiki’s Kids range from 2 – 7 years of age and often are ill; therefore, being closer to the hospital in Lhasa, which is a better one than the Shigatse hospital, is what has prompted the move to Lhasa. With the help of some individuals and the Tibet Disabled Person’s Federation, a new location has been determined. This may also help those of us who are interested in visiting an easier opportunity to do so.

Will keep you posted as more information becomes available about the move. Twenty-three students and 8 adults will be transitioning to a new location with Kyila sometime in 2014. I know they will be successful there too. Thank you for your support of Kyila’s work with her team and children!

Namaste.

 

Pumchung and the Team

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Projects are successful only because the leader has the vision and determination to create and produce an idea that may also resonate with other individuals who become part of a then successful team. This is the case with Kyila and her 4 teachers and 4 house staff. They are committed to the goal where Kyila believes that “all children have the right to feel safe, cared for and treated as individuals whether they are blind or sighted, rich or poor…”.

Kyila had recognized Pumchung specifically in her latest newsletter. Pumchung was the first staff member at Kiki’s Kids. Since her start she has been learning computer skills, English, does plenty of management and runs the project with the other team members.

Kudos to the teachers and house staff! You are each very special people because I hope you realize, everyone cannot do the work you are doing each day with these young people! Thank you!

What is this plant?

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I have my eyesight. I had the ability to travel in China and Tibet and see various sites. One plant I saw was the one pictured here. Can you imagine being blind and working to solve, what is this plant? You may touch it, if someone could acknowledge that it is safe to touch. You could smell it, if there was an aroma to smell. You could taste it, once again if that was safe to do. Check the bush or the tree it came from….and whatever else….to eventually determine….tea leaves!

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Did You Miss My Book?

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I wanted my nieces and nephews, and their future children, to know something about my past adventures. So I wrote about my Nepal 2001 trek to Everest Base Camp. The experience was tremendous for me because it was my first high altitude trek with a well-known Everest climber, Wally Berg. He did summit this mountain a few times; he was our guide on this trek and he is a warm, genuine human being.

Along the trail I met Erik Weihenmayer and his father and brother, yet did not think much of any of it because we were just a day on the trail and I had lots to look forward to as we moved closer to the big Himalayan Mountains. A few days later though, I realized we were leap-frogging with the National Federation for the Blind group of trekkers and mountain climbers. I was especially intrigued with how Erik was moving along the trail like me, yet he was blind! Really fascinating to see him move as quickly as the rest of us, thanks to the team with him.While I only went to base camp, he continued on to summit the mountain….I followed his progress via the websites once I returned home.

The book I wrote, My Trek to Everest Base Camp, 2001, is on sale via Blurb.com. There are many books about Everest, but this one is my story. I-Pad format for $9.99 and soft cover book for $27.99 with proceeds from all sales going to Kiki’s Kids and the story for my family members and interested friends. If you wish to support Kyila and her students, this would be another way to make a donation. Buy a copy of the book and send it on to some person who is thinking of an adventure. It was a wonderful trek and surely one many more people will enjoy in the future years as that mountain will there for a long time to come!

Enter www.blurb.com and in their search box type in Trek to Everest Base Camp, 2001 and my book will be available for purchase.

Thanks for your support of Kyila’s student at Kiki’s Kids too.

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