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

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Back to civilization - Tom Reba and Diane

OK, we all know that it's been a while since anyone heard from us – first things first: we're all fine. Reba, Diane and I just returned to Kathmandu after some amazing times in Mustang, in and around Jomsom. I haven't been able to read any of your comments yet, because the connection here is pretty slow, but those of us with a connection will try to fill you in over the next few days.
Beth: I love and miss you! I'll try to call in a few hours after you wake up.

I'm going to start with the day before the festival day in Jomsom, which was amazing. The women began cooking a day in advance, starting with the buying of fresh cauliflower and greens at 5:30 in the morning on the front steps of the Dancing Yak, Tsampa and Karma (his wife)'s hotel in Jomsom. There were probably 20 women cooking and cutting, including all of the women in our group. By the time I got up at 7:30 the courtyard was filling up with bodies, and there were wood fires and propane stoves lit everywhere. There were frequent breaks for tea – yak butter tea for the locals and milk tea for the rest of us.

Meanwhile Tsampa and his brothers were cutting katas, or prayer shawls, for hundreds of guests. Then Tsampa and another lama went into the shrine room and made special dough decorations to help bless the ceremony. I'll let Jane explain that one, but let me tell you it was very cool. Tsampa also printed 5 big prayer flags using ink and a wood block he carved himself when he was 16, and they were hung outside the hotel.

Then it was down to the community center, a big brick building by the airport, where the men swept the floor, set up folding chairs and argued and discussed where to hang the tangka. The whole town was mobilized. Tsampa thinks there were a thousand people there, but I'd estimate closer to 500.

It started to rain, but that didn't stop a group of guys from going behind the community center for some archery. I think there was money on the line, but I couldn't quite figure out the betting.

The next day we got up at 5 for more craziness. I shot video of Karma milking a cow for the day's butter (Jenna had done the same, and better, the day before). More vegetables were bought from the women who carry them through town in huge wicker baskets they carry on their backs. A group of women began singing/chanting old songs that they knew by heart, a sound that would continue through the festival and into the next morning. We both shot nonstop all day – the preparations, the procession to the community hall led by drummers, Jenna and Jane in nepali clothes (yes, Jane wore a dress, and we have pictures!!) carrying the tangka to the community hall, the unveiling before the community, the speeches and dances and songs, the beautiful altar constructed in front of the painting, more speeches, another processional back to the Dancing Yak, this time with Jane and Tsampa and lots of other guys on horses, a contest of picking up scarves off the street from horseback at breakneck speed, more eating and singing… I'll leave it to others in the group to fill in the blanks, but you should all be aware that it was a huge deal, and amazing to all of us who were there.

I'm going to check my email now, but we'll send more later, and hopefully add a few pictures. Love to all!


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