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

Monday, July 9, 2007

Today is July 9th, but I am writing about yesterday, before we walked back up to the village of Kagbeni. Jane here, while Jenna and Sherrie and Jason are out hunting footage of the village's preparations for a special lama coming to town tomorrow morning at 8 a.m.; we are not only invited, but the woman who runs the Red House hotel, our friend Pema, has promised to dress us all appropriately. Her small daughter is one of a few children who gets to greet the lama with a flower. One message to our teammates who fly home tomorrow: we MISS you. Tom, keep posting those photographs--some of them came up and others didn't (but then again, this is a Kagbeni computer we are talking about). Reba, the whole country already misses you, but no one more than your roommates. Diane, I hope you got the khatags you wanted, and I know that seeing Sunil again for dinner at his and Sarita's home was amazing. Belinda, Mary (my sister), Kirby, Anna Sankei in Norway who is NOT a Norwegian, Beth, Bev, all of you who respoded to our last e-mail, thank you, and please do keep posting responses to this blog. You sweeten our days and our work with your writing. And let me say one other thing: lucky people who are getting Reba and Tom and Ken back, and lucky us to have had them for these brief weeks. Jason and Sherrie and Jenna and I hope the trip was everything our earlier-departing friends could have dreamed.

Now, about the village of Jomsom, where our thang=ka now hangs, amazingly! In the afternoons, especially if it rains, our group sometimes sits in a glassed-in rooftop room here, overlooking part of the village of Jomsom. We order roasted peanuts and masala chai, and write and read and watch this one-street town. From this vantage point, I can see nine trees, some of them junipers and the others, short willows. I see a bare-footed, bow-legged, short sadhu, a wandering Hindu pilgrim, walking alone down the street, with his right hand holding his gleeming brass cooking pot out from the plastic, possibly to gather rain for his evening drink. I see twon Nepali women in plastic sandals, dressed in salwar khameezes, pants with calf-length shirts, drenched in their cotton head-scarves, clutching themselves against the rain. One wears mango and teal; the other , sky-blue and tobacco-broown. On the cobblestone street, half-yaks and mules and an occasional dog or horse wander by, seeming to go nowhere, but going somewhere, unsupervised. Puddles collect on the crooked grey pieces of inset slate. Here come twenty monks, in saffron and red, or burgundy and red, one of them in royal purple socks. This delegation is leading one plastic-swaddled monk on a white horse. At forst we think he is the elderly and kind-faced Japanese gentleman who has started a fisheries plantation here (but who eats fish?); then we think he is a woman, a nun; but no, this is a monk, in Tibetan robes, with a round face and a motherly expression. We wonder, Who?

The buildings here all have flat roofs, most of them covered with smooth earth, and lined, rectangularly, with knee-high stacks of of short, wiry firewood. On some of the roof-tops are black plastic water-collecting ttanks, misspent planks, and open spaces good for looms or for large circular hand-woven trays on which to dry chilies of hlaved apricots, when the sun is out. Some trays hold apricot pits, cracked open for their single, oily nut.

Since it is summer, no tourists are here. The guidebooks direct the tourists to visit in the fall, when the skies are flawless, and thirty thousand trekkers will obey. But now the lodges, including Tsampa's Dancing Yak, are quiet, mostly empty. That is why our festival felt thoroughly local, a thousand Nepalis and Tibetans, , counting the groups who trooped in from far-flung villages like Manang and Lubra and Jharkot in the days immediately following the main festival, when word of the huge thang-ka of Amchi Tsampa spread up and down river. This local population, compared to maybe twenty-five foreigners: our crew and friends; a young Dutch couple who happened into town at the right moment to get good seats in the community center during the festival; a wonderful Ameriucan family from Dartmouth and a sweet American woman from Seattle and her two Nepali-adopted kids; and--fantastically--a woman from Norway in her late fifties, perhaps, named Line (say it, Lena) Tvete, who had (are you ready?) ridden her BICYCLE alone from Norway, through Europe, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, and Indai. We felt honored to have her writing grace Tsampa's comment book which now accompanies the painting, and thrilled to have her ask such perceptive and patient questions about the thang-ka which vistors must look up to for several minutes, it seems, before they say a word. Good luck to you, Line, and thanks for your inspiration! I will send this much, and continue with Part II of Jomsom.


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