Diane Kirwin’s "Privilege-Sharing" Newsletter
Bodhgaya, Bihar State, India
Febrary, 2005

NOTE: This is an edited excert from Diane's email. If you wish to receive the Newsletter directly from Diane, please email her at: dikirwin-at-yahoo-dot-com. I've slightly disguised the address to shield Diane from spam.

   Needing to confirm that for many, many days there is no Internet here and many times no power. Much more difficult to communicate than any other year and it never has been easy. I think that e in email stands for elephant mail. We practice Buddhist breathing meditation while waiting, frequently it has been one letter per hour, if it is even working.

   The days continue to slip past, sadly Mike Bray is preparing to leave. He also is sad to go. We have spent many hours talking about the details of our future work with Sanjay and Pappu, who continue to do a magnificent job. We are still thinking and planning direction with the same heart. I am putting a great deal of effort into establishing a Trust, Indian Rules, so that when I die and if at some future time Pappu and Sanjay can no longer do this volunteer work, that the work itself is protected. Our concrete plans are progressing. Everything takes a lot of time. I must relax into it. Sanjay and Pappu are doing their best and I will continue to be a bridge and try to explain the very long Indian processes to individuals.

   The West is so very fast that at times life here and the problems are difficult to explain. Yesterday I felt encouraged to look at what has been achieved as we make very effort to continue the long process of Indian Registration.

   Life here is often like living in Topsey Turvey Land. Things just do not happen if expected and other things take their place. This week I had two lovely surprises. I was curled up on my bed on a foggy, cold, rainy Sunday afternoon, thinking a lot about my family and feeling quite homesick also very tired when there was a knock at my door. Does not happen very often. And there were Sanjay and his wife Rani. Rani always has been very loving and very shy, she seldom leaves the complex and spends every evening in the kitchen cooking. 35 chapattis that need to be made individually on a tiny stove for a start. I just could not believe that she was standing there in her beautiful sari. The manager, friend, sent up tea and we had a little party because I had some fresh peas. Then typical of the practical love here, Rani proceeded to give my face and head a massage and to make my hair a little more attractive and acceptable in the Indian way.

   We had our first Republic Day celebration at the new school. Everything was very festive and the children had practiced several prayers and songs. The young Llama who has taken an interest in these children was present. He is leading a group on a long pilgrimage and has someone making a documentary. This person took a lot of footage of the children and of the school. Llamagi as we call him, cannot manage the Tibetan name yet, said perhaps the movie will be of some help to our work. To my amazement Llamagi’s secretary from Holland insisted that I sit with Llamagi since I was the School Founder…I have never thought of myself in this light and it was somewhat of a surprise. I did give just a few minutes talk which was interpreted for the children. There was a very happy feeling and sense of well being. All of this contact began in the Bank during one of my frequent lengthy waits.

    Mike and I have been spending time in the Sona Bihar, Temple School with some of the poorest children and a dedicated teacher. Mike bought all of the children new slates and copy books and I brought pens and pencils. One of my perpetual frustrations is when the children bring up their work and there is no way they can write or do any work on the worn out slate!!!! This I find difficult to tend to slowly, slowly and it had the same effect of Mike.!!!! So we did it quickly!!

   During the rainy days we introduced the children to the building blocks and the sets of animals. At first, naturally there was a lot of grabbing, they were so fearful that they would not get any. Then they settled down and got the idea of building and setting up the animals very quickly. It was a pure delight to watch both the building and setting up of herds, and also their faces. We also gave them sidewalk chalk which they really liked. They drew many beautiful pictures on the verandah. It is a joy to see these things working out well. The teachers also are learning to play. This is an entirely new concept for both teachers and children.

Much love to you all, and hopes that you are well.
All the work here will now continue with renewed
energy, so many things had to wait until after the
election here.

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