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 24, 2007

Pasang and The Shell Mala

One more from Pokhara, again from Jane. We have seen full blazing sun, cool rain, and humid overcast today, but all the while, we have had a great time. Jenna found an excellent map that tells details about the western terrain we will hope to reach tomorrow if we are fortunate enough to be able to fly and begin trekking soon after. Tom bought a topi, a Nepali hat, shaped not unlike my father's World War II paratrooper cap, and I must say, he does look handsome in it. I have just spent two hours with a Tibetan woman, a shopkeeper, named Pasang. She was born not far from where our team is going, sometime after the Chinese takeover in 1959. She isn't sure where or when she was born exactly--just that her parents fled successfully across the border into Mustang. But not long after, they came down to Pokhars, to get away from the possibility of Chinese invasion even there, and she has never been back to Mustang, let alone Tibet. Traveling there, several hours northwest from here (in fact nine days by foot from this town) would be a luxury she can not think of. Pasang is roughly my age but fifty million times more amazing and trillions of times more beautiful than anything I can seem on my best day. She is so calm, not resigned, but so at ease with thiry years or more of difficulty. Shge told me one fact in particular that helps explain the Tiubetans' plight. Her husband spent much money to gain what are called simply "Travel Papers," which Tibetans can get if they pay exorbitantly and then can use only one time and only for one trip to India. They as Tibetans can not get passports--why? Because even after all these decades, Tibetans can only present Refugee Status papers. They are still all refugees here, not Nepali citizens, even after all this time. Pasang joked that in America, a foreigner might live or marry in America and after only five brief years be eligible for a Green Card, leading to citizenship status. "Me," she said, "I am here for more than thirty years, and I am still only a refugee." See the problem: no citizenship, no passport; no passport, then few Tibetans ever coming to America; few coming to our country, then our citizenship rarely hears about this long genocide. But all of you reading this blog know, and I hope you will always remember the people of Tibet like Pasang who make their living only in the shadow of their rightful homeland, unable to go there, but still completely at home in its history and memory. It was such a pleasure to sit with Pasang. I helped her, of course. She has four daughters, one of them 25 years old whom I met. None are married. She, her husband and her four gorgeous Tibetan girls live without national status and work all day to try to sell small jewelry and some old fine antique pieces and prayer flags. Like Jenna, I bought prayer flags today for our trek. Four rolls to hang in the most amazing places we reach: one strand for my mother and father, who are both gone; and one for my incredible and loving daughter Iris, and one for my incredible and loving son Emerson, for their long, happy, and productive lives; and one for my best and most amazing friend Jenna, and also for all the team members here and their families, all of you, all of my friends who know and love this project or some member of this team, and for all the pets like Kunk the King of All Skunks, my black and white handsome prince of a cat who does not know why I am gone, and for even Ike, the Fox's dog who doesn't love me at all (still, I love YOU Ike), and for Katy Bowyer and Sammy Robbins, our heroes and friends who have done more quiet fighting and have created more victory than most of us, and for Resson Saville, my forever-friend, and for my Virginia Tech students, and especially for Hilary Strollo and her handsome, well-spoken brother Pat and their family and all the families affected by the loss of our Tech students and faculty on April 16th (Pasang already knew the story of April 16th completely), and for all sentient beings: that we may all suffer less, and come to realize what we may do to best give our world as much comfort and joy and beauty as we can, and come to be as brave and clear-minded and unassuming and as hard-working as my best friend Jenna Swann, teacher extraordinaire, and best imaginable travel partner for all of us. Tashi Deleg. And so so so so la, as the Tibetans say: Victory to the Gods. All of you please be wishing us safe and good flying tomorrow. Jane


Anonymous said...

Hi Jane, my dear friend, worlds away and yet your words bring us so close together. I loved your story about Pasang and I can't wait to see the Shell Mala...I will laugh at you, as always, but love you as much!

Wishing all of you the best of weather for flying and trekking over the next days.

Can't wait to hear about the festival in Jomosom when you present such an amazing gift to the village and receive so many gifts in return.

Love to all,

Anonymous said...

It's hard to imagine what it would be like to be unable to be a citizen in a country that you have lived in for so long. It's hard to imagine what it must be like not to be able to be a citizen of any country, to have no rights. Thanks for sharing Pasang's story.

Good Luck in your travels!

We are all thinking about you as you are the topic of many conversations!

With love, Sara

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