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Published: April 30th 2006
Kids at Dicky Orphanage
The kids were so well behaved and appreciative.
I had read about an orphanage in Lhasa and I planned to visit it.
Getting ready for the visit while still back home, I packed pens, small dolls and stuffed animals, and a little more. I had an address and I thought that was all I needed. Well, it turned out that it was not that simple.
Taxi drivers in Tibet are usually Chinese, can't read, don't understand English, sometimes not even Tibetan, and don't have a clue on how to read a map.
The first driver nodded, like an "yes", drove and dropped me off at "who knows where". I walked showing my little piece of paper with the name of the orphanage for 30 minutes. Went into a hotel where I didn't get any help and to a second, where nobody knew what I was looking for. I asked if there was a dictionary, and found the meaning of orphanage in Chinese. Eureka!!! Now they knew what I was looking for, but still, not where it was. The phonebook showed that that address didn't exist, but I follow the young man who put me in another taxi, and assured me I'd be taken to the Orphanage. Welll, NOT!
At Dickey Orphanage
Two remarkable women with the babies
He dropped me off in some nice building.... to make a very long story short, I ended up on a "chatter" bus with 4 Chinese men, not a single word in English spoken, who dropped me off "somewhere" and pointed to a non-specific area. There I went again, showing my paper/address. It had been already 2 hours and 40 minutes of search, and I was willing to ask one more person. No, she didn't know, but suddenly, an old Tibetan man approached me, tapped on my shoulder and pointed. I followed him, and after a 5 minute walk I was in front of the small Dickey Orphanage.
A barking dog is the first to greet me. An older woman, founder of the orphanage, approached me but language barrier was at play again. An young woman, her daughter, came already saying "hello". 15 kids gathered arrond us. I was glad to hear that 60 were in school.
The 85 kids are cared for by these 2 great women, with no help from the government. They run the place with contributions. A couple of monks come by each week, sometimes a traveller. The kids are brought in by monks or neighbors when parent(s) have dieded.
I distributed the little gifts, gave a contribution, took/gave polaroid pictures, and learned that my taxi drive back to the hotel would take no more than 8 MINUTES.
Yes, it took me almost 3 hours to find a place that was 8 minutes away!!!!!
To get there, take bus number 106 to the final stop. The Orphanage is a 3 minutes walk from there. The phone # is 13989010358, e-mail email@example.com
Contact Sonam, the young woman. They can use your help.
I learned later that there is another Orphanage in Lhasa for handicap children, run by a German couple.
I said good-bye in English and Tibetan, and as I turned away, I was taken by a wonderful surprise. The kids were all together singing "You are my sunshine". My eyes filled with tears, my heart with a smile. It was unexpected and emotional.
I promised Sonam and her mother that I'd spread the word so that others could help a little too. So, please take 8 minutes to reach out a little to these kids or at least let others know about it. THANKS!
PORTUGUESE: Levei 2 horas e 40 minutos pra chegar a um orfanato que ficava a 7 minutos de distancia do hotel. Eh o que acontece com a dificuldade de comunicacao . Mas, cheguei la e foi gratificante. Uma senhora tibetana e sua filha cuidam de 85 orfaos....
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