Upcoming Shows

We've been named as a official selection in the Southern Circuit of Filmmakers Tour, March 17-24.

Shows are in Hapeville, GA 3/17, Madison, GA 3/20, Orangeburg, SC 3/22, Gainsville, GA 3/23, and Manteo, NC 3/24.
Learn more by going to the SouthArts blog.

View the theatrical trailer for A Gift for the Village

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Jane's Update...5 days away from flying to Nepal!

This note was sent to all of us on the team by Jane. Just reading it bumps up the anticipation level that much more (just how much more room is there on the anticipation meter, anyway?)

I have just written again to both the CEO and the general manager of The Kathmandu Guest House to thank them in advance for the help they will extend to us in a week. If you haven't, do go to their web site and glimpse some of the > details of that place. You may have read that all the famous explorers, literary types, and The Beatles would always have stayed only at The Guest House. I am always excited to go back there.

I have also spoken yesterday to Tammy, my cousin and old roommate from undergrad days at William & Mary. Tammy is married to Andrew, and with their younger son Luke, the three of them leave tonight from Dulles Airport in D.C., fly to Bahrain, and tomorrow to Kathmandu. Tammy and Andrew are also the parents of Cy, who is the 20-year-old from Blacksburg living in Kathmandu to study Tibetan language. They haven't seen Cy for many months and so they are leaving before us and reuniting with him, but they will be at the festival out west when we are there.
> >
Tammy was speaking to me from her cell phone while Andrew was driving them to D.C., and I told her that if she had forgotten anything, just let me know--that I could help. No, she said; she had triple-checked her list. Half an hour later, she called me, panicked. I FORGOT MY CONTACT LENSES!, which I went to her house and found and have already packed and told her are safely on their way; no problem. The lesson being, you are likeliest to forget what is closest to your nose.

Tammy and I discussed what Cy did while he was out in Mustang, in Tsampa's village of Jomsom. Mostly, Cy told his mother, he practiced the ten alphabets of the Tibetan written language. There are ten, because Tibetans use a different "font," you could say, depending upon the subject matter being written about. You would not use the same alphabetic style to write a note to a friend as you would to write a prescription for medicine, and you would need a third "font" to write a prayer, and a fourth to write directions on a road sign, and a fifth to sign your name. You get the idea. Isn't so much diffeentiation daunting, confusing, almost impossible? Tammy asked her son. Oh no, he said. It's relaxing, like drawing.

Cy wrote to me to tell me that Tsampa's priorities are to meet us in
> Kathmandu (we arrive on the 17th) and then to go to Jomson ahead of us, on the 20th, to make preparations. He knows to go ahead and have a Buddhist tailor lined up to get the edging/framing sewn onto the painting, so I am very hopeful that connection will happen easily if not promptly when we arrive. "Promptly" actually isn't a word you'll need in Nepal. I'm sure the British never
it during their 150 years of attempts in colonizing India, either.

I wrote to Tsampa's younger son, Tsewang, to thank him for agreeing to be our translator (probably with Cy's help too). Tsewang is brilliant, and is often called upon to translate when visitors come to Nepal. He has just been accepted into the Dalai Lama's prestigious and small private school for training amchis in Darjeeling, in the Himalayan foothills of northeast
> India, overlooking the enormous Kachenjunga peak, but he will be available to us for the time we are there. This is fortunate timing for our project, and nice in terms of content, since the younger amchi will be side by side with his teacher/father for our film. I expect one day I will also paint this next amchi's portrait.

I also wrote to Tsewang to contact Tsampa, to try to see if there is any way to get word to Jenna's and my friend Sonam Lama, who lives in the village of Manang, on the other side of the Annapurnas from Jomsom. Sonam was our chief porter when Tsampa and Jenna and I crossed the 18,00-foot Thorung-la Pass in January of 2001, in a serious snowstorm. He held our hands over patches of slanted ice that pointed down on our right into ten-thousand-foot ravines, and sometimes his hand was the only way we could cross dangerous stretches. His portrait is prominent in Jenna's painting, "The Land of The Three-Legged Crow," and we are bringing prints of it in hopes to present one with our thanks to Sonam and his family. You have read already in my e-mails that we have things to do and people to
> meet in our brief days in Kathmandu. Two of them are at the Tibetan rock shop, called The Lhasa Gift House, just across the lane from The Kathmandu Guest House, owned by our long-time friends Mr. Bhatt and his brother-in-law and business partner, Yusef. These two handsome men are Tibetan Muslims, highly educated, even more highly ethical. Richard Gere shops only with them. Tibetan refugees who sell their family's precious heirlooms sell only to them. If they name a price, that price is not only fair, but generous. Be completely at ease in their hands. They expect us and look forward to serving us chai in their amazing shop. On rainy afternoons, if our weather is rough, you might find yourself returning to their counters. They have both ready-made pieces and loose stones that you can point out and have them turn into necklaces for you. It is fascinating to watch them custom-make the pieces with the stones you

We also have introduction to this place called Wild Earth Nepal, a workshop that Carroll Dunham owns, to visit the place where the hand-made soaps and amulets, etc., are made, using traditional herbs and yak milk . And, to a small
orphanage in Kathmandu, a place where
no one speaks English (a sign that they will REALLY be grateful for any help)
but where we will have a friend taking us around and introducing us.

I can not control how polluted and crowded and possibly how godawful-rainy this crazy South Asian city may be, but we will have things to do and see. There is also the peaceful and beautiful Pilgrims Book House exactly next door to The Guest House, if you need to take a break and have a pot of tea and just SIT.

Kathmandu strikes people in different ways, and I am hoping that none of us recoil and get angry, but I have seen westerners feel a kind of repulsion or insult rise in them at the overwhelming amounts of chaos and damage and illogic and disrepair that go hand and hand with the gentleness and indomitability. You should expect not to know what you are doing at many points, and you should expect there will be times that you may turn to me because I have been there before, when you NEED an answer to some question, and, despite your urgency or frustration, I will not be able to know any more than you. What I will know is that fury or irony won't get you anywhere if we find
> ourselves, as is likely, in ludicrous positions. So know in advance that I won't be meaning to thwart you, and that I certainly will not be ignoring you, when we may
find ourselves having to navigate what I don't know how to do. We will find a
way. Whatever the obstacles.

As for those hours in Indira Gandhi airport, I apologize for how hard it always is to get to Kathmandu. I told our friends at The Guest House please to remember that we would arrive neither brilliant nor beautiful, but more like shocked zombies. But know that we do arrive into the capable hands of good friends. I would say, Get Ready, but I know and Jenna knows that there is no way for you to do that. Jane

1 comment:

giftforthevillage said...

Jane: thanks for all you're doing to make this thing happen. Wow!