Here at Home and Oats, we were initially inspired by a chance to explore “homemade” ways to improve your life, both materially and mentally. Gardening, cooking, cycling, and inexpensive D.I.Y. projects give one a sense of accomplishment and self-sufficiency that is deeply satisfying. But the heart of the mission, for me, is a knowing that I am contributing in a positive and creative way to other people’s lives. Now, I would like to expand the agenda a little here, politically speaking, so bear with me.
I just got back from two eye-opening weeks at theNorbulingka Institute in the Dharmsala area of Himachal Pradesh in India. Oversimplifying, Dharmsala is where the Tibetan government has operated in exile since 1960, after Communist China invaded Tibet in 1959. The Dalai Lama also lives in Dharmsala, along with approximately 8,00 Tibetan refugees, many of whom are monks who fled to Tibet in order to avoid religious persecution by the Chinese government. There are 80,000 Tibetan exiles worldwide today. The population of Tibet is only about 2.6 million. Since 1959 1.2 million Tibetans have been killed by the Chinese.
Essentially, a holocaust is being ignored in Tibet because China owns the US Treasury…sorry to be dramatic, but it is ironic that our government and press will not address Tibet, considering the extent at which we’ve chosen to meddle everywhere else. I am not particularly politically correct, but this for me was overwhelming and heartbreaking.
But, as I discovered, there is something you can do! Something useful, meaningful and creative. You can sponsor a Tibetan child through theTibetan Children’s Village.T.C.V. is a legitimate and incredibly well-managed program/community/orphanage that cares for Tibetan refugee children (many of whom left their homes at a young age and walked through the Himalayas for 30 days, at night, in the winter to get to a safe haven). T.C.V is committed to educating the children in the Tibetan language, which is not presently allowed in Tibet. It is a remarkable place, filled with love, laughter, and, incredulously, hope. It is $40 a month to sponsor a child––it is: 1 week without Starbucks, 1 less dinner out, or 1 less impulse buy. In other words, we can all afford this.
Once a year I go to India for some soul-searching and to remind myself that this life that I have is big and wonderful. My trip is a great extravagance, both in terms of time and money, and I am grateful for having the means to do it. I can, in the business of life, become apathetic and lose the plot, so to speak. Traveling and feeling the gravity of how others in this world who are beyond my everyday live is the ultimate “homemade” inspiration.