Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tibetan Refugee Centre in Darjeeling

 In September this year, I went on a 12-day trip that started when we landed in Kolkata where we spent a night before flying to Badogra to commence a long journey by car to Darjeeling where we stayed two nights. Thereafter, we took the same car to Sikkim where the highlight of the trip was to see a glacial lake. Because of the earthquake that preceded our arrival, the road to the lake was closed. Consequently, we spent an uneventful day in Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim where the poor weather continued to rob us of the beautiful mountain views from the various scenic spots the guide took us to. 

From Gangtok we embarked on an arduous journey to the border of Bhutan passing through the poorest parts of India where the giant potholes on the roads told their tales of woe and neglect to visitors like us.  We 'swam' in our vehicles as they wobbled from one deep pothole to the next. Anyone with motion sickness would have had a near-death experience sitting in that car driven by a driver whom we suspected had not chosen driving as a vocation. Fortunately, my stomach was strong enough to withstand this part of the journey and after around 7 hours of travelling, we arrived at the border town of Phuntsoling in Bhutan. To be continued....

The photos I have chosen to post here are those taken at the Tibetan Refugee Centre in Darjeeling. Only the older folks were around because the children and young people had gone to school in town. At the Refugee centre, these very old men and women laboured away the hours and the minutes trying to forget the fact that they were never ever going back to their homeland in Tibet. 

Day in and day out, they went about the daily chores of sustaining a cottage weaving industry with hard work with no hope of returning to a land that was once theirs. I could see it in their faces - the toil and the yearning and soon with their passing, later generations of Tibetans will grow more distant from the homeland of their forefathers. However, amongst these photos was one that stood out as representing a glimmer of happiness that was experienced when love and care was shown. See for yourself which one it is.


alicesg said...

Hi Mable, nice to see you back in cyberspace. Lovely photos of the centre in Tibet. Glad that you are safe from the earthquake. Their handiwork are really beautiful and fantastic. Whenever I travel, I would like to buy handwork crafts instead of those ready made or mass production stuff from factory.

Mable said...

Hi Alice, glad to hear from you too! These are my favourite photos. I will upload more over time on the places I visited in my Sep trip to India, Sikkim and Bhutan and also a short trip to Shanghai in Oct. Cheers!