Thursday, September 18, 2008

Nomad Boarding School

In August, I had the privilege to travel to a boarding school in the southern part of Qing Hai Province to help distribute coats, hats, mitts, shoes, toys, and candy to needy nomad children. The money for the project was donated by children from a summer camp in Washington. Here are some of the highlights.

Tents and yak grazing could be seen at just about every turn.

A few days into the trip, a snow storm caught up with us and we needed to wait it out in a small town for a few hours. This was the first time I had seen snow in August. Snow at this time of year in this area, I am told, is quite common. I am mostly impressed by the amount of snow. Our Land Cruiser could handle the roads, but we passed a lot of people in cars whom I'm sure had a hard time making it to their destination.

Above are the children welcoming us as we arrive. In total, we had 325 traditional Tibetan coats to give out along with over 200 pairs of shoes. For most of these children, the thick coats arrived just in time as the snow seemed to follow us from the mountain pass. We left the next day with a few centimeters of the white stuff on the the ground.

Some of the girls waiting in line for their coats. We had quite a mess of a time trying to figure out which children needed the coats the most. There were only about 250 students there at the time, but many others would be arriving for classes in the following weeks and we wanted to make sure that we saved some of the supplies for them.

Showing off the new coats!

All of the kids were very shy at first, but after showing them a few photos they all decided to give me their most striking poses!

After we were finished handing out all of the clothing and toys, the kids wanted to sing some songs for us.

We were happy about that, of course.

These girls are very talented
To watch video go here

So, all in all, it was quite a memorable trip. Over the last 4 years I've been on a half dozen trips out to the countryside in Qing Hai and it is easy for me to say that this was, by far, the best trip I've been on. Just knowing that these kids will be warmer this year makes the whole thing worth while.

On our way back home to the capital city of Qing Hai, Xining, we ended up stopping at 2 other boarding schools. These schools were literally in the middle of nowhere. Even though these visits were not planned, the staff of the schools were very hospitable to us. They gave us all of the yak meat, fresh yogurt, and butter tea we could handle! It was also really nice to see how well these schools are kept. Though they still have many needs, the current living and studying situations are excellent. It was very nice to see. We hope that we will be able to work with these schools on similar projects in the near future.

Yak meat... it's what's for dinner!


goooooood girl said...

Well well well......

Becky said...

I would like to come on the next trip.

I fell in love with the musicians again.