Lama brought us to the local bakery. What would you like for breakfast? Unsure what was in the case, Lama explained a few items. One (1) loaf of bread, two (2) vegetable filled croissants and two (2) cheese filled croissants, and we were on our way. Driving quick around corners and swerving around scooters, we arrived back at the CED in no time. Lama wanted to show us something.
Dr. Lafleur smiled and said - you've moved it? Curiously we made our way into Lama’s grocery store. Lama explained the last store front was further away, and the rent was more expensive, so he opened his own store to the left of the orphanage. The Deli is staffed by the children from CED. It has ready to prepare food items, bottled beverages, snacks and candy. Within the grocery store, the children are provided a study area complete with desks to do homework and teach the other children while watching the store. This teaches the children responsibility, multi tasking, work skills (handling money and assisting customers), stock and inventory, along with many others. Lama has split the store front into 4 different bays - the second being similar to a whole foods market. Complete with produce (fruits and vegetables) as well as nuts, grains and toiletry items. Dr. Lafleur said it reminded her of a whole foods store. What impresed her even more, was the sign on the front of the building requesting customers to bring your home made shopping bags, as they were no longer going to carry plastic poly bags. The third store was an office supply store. This store carries all the supplies the children need for school (paper, pens, pencils, notebooks, erasers,etc) as well as various sandles and shoes. Lama explained he supplies the children with money to purchase some items from local markets, and some items he buys and brings back himself. The fourth store is a beauty salon, run by Lama’s sister, who we met today. The salon had 2 chairs for cutting and one chair and sink for washing. Today the children celebrated a holiday, and were off from school. While Lama showed us around, two (2) school children had just finished up getting their hair cut. Perfect activity for their day off. Through the back windows of the grocery store and salon you can see inside the orphanage grounds, which is perfect for the girls watching the store to observe the children at the same time. Time to go, Lama says, everybody in. We picked up his sister (from the salon) and his 2 small nephews, and continued on our way to meet Lama’s brother.
Happy Birthday to you! It was Lama’s brothers birthday. Lama brought a cake for us to celebrate as well as some items that were donated from the states as gifts. Lama’s brother has just finished a six (6) month journey of meditation and prayer restricted to the confines of his small home. Lama explained that his brother has not been able to be out in sunlight, cut his hair or nails or be visited by anyone at all. We were honored to be his first non-family guests that he has interacted with since being chosen to be high monk by the Dali Lama himself. Lama’s brother and his pet dog welcomed us into their home. Lama's brother instructed us to please take off shoes before entering his prayer room. After we sang happy birthday, and offered the first piece of cake as prayer, it is here all eight (8) of us celebrated his birthday sitting cross-legged together on the floor. Lama’s brother is very much into art, and has created and shown us a cardboard construction of a business center that he intends to have built later. After thank you’s and a few family pictures, we continued back to C.E.D.
Welcomed by the children, we were taken into the meeting area and served hot tea by the girls. We partnered this with our cheese and vegetable filled croissants. Lama had the children set up their mats on the floor and every one sat in a circle in front of us. A couple kids even joined Penpa in her tent. The children ate their cake, and, to our surprise, drank Mountain Dew soda while we ate breakfast. The children hurried to eat and get this all cleaned up, as once finished, it was activity time.
Regina brought nail polish and nail art that was donated by her and her mother for the girls. Lama also brought out some beads that were donated to CED. The girls we eager to have their nails painted, as this is typically not allowed for the school age girls. The girls that have graduated are allowed. Regina with help from the children, got the supplies out and ready for nail painting. The girls all sat in a circle around her, and chose Penpa to be first. “Purple” Penpa picked certain this was the color she wanted. The minutes flew by as each girl was eager to watch and learn how to use the nail art. “Pick Me!” “My Turn!” Did you pick your color? Regina brought 8-10 rainbow colors to choose from. After their nails were painted, complete with hearts, flowers or shaped jewels, they moved quickly to bracelet and necklace making. Boys were also eager to be involved. The elder girls were busy getting lunch ready as everyone was finishing up their bracelets.
During activity time Dr. LaFleur took two of the disabled girls accompanied by two (2) older girls as translators into one of the quiet rooms for an evaluation of their hip and leg deformities in preparation for a trip to the hospital for PT. Penpa who is moved around by wheelchair may actually have enough motor control to learn to crawl. She was very able to follow directions and do arm push ups and hold an on-hands-and-knee position as she laughed with pleasure at her accomplishment. A far cry from being tied up with the cows in the field 2 years ago with no human interaction at all.
"Lunch is ready.." the girls called for us. Rice, sautéed eggplant, soup, chili tomatoes, and yogurt with wheat puff. After a prayer, and some giggles about Regina taking yet more pictures, we ate. The food the girls make is delicious. Before leaving the lunch room, the children thank the girls that prepared the meal, put their hands together and bow their heads in appreciation. They also thank Dr. Lafleur and Regina for joining them. After lunch the activities continued.
Lama did office work with some of the girls. Dr. Lafleur noticed one of the senior girls looked unhappy at lunch, and asked her what was wrong. She admitted to having a headache which was happening often now, so Dr. Lafleur took her into a quiet room for ice, massage and trigger point release. This had much benefit as her facial appearance became brighter. After that Dr. Lafleur did some computer work in the study working on the bylaws and registration for an Indian version of MDI.
While Dr. Lafleur was busy, Regina got to spend some quality time playing with the children. They showed her some of the games they play including “rag tag” (similar to our duck duck goose) “fire and ice” (similar to our freeze tag) and “colors” (similar to our eye spy) only they choose a color and you've gotta touch that color before being tagged, or you become the color choosing tagger. The children enjoyed posing for pictures with each other as well as taking Regina’s digital camera to take pictures of each other, and everything. They got great amusement out of taking the picture then looking at it before taking another. The children also sat down with Regina and listened intently as she showed them american money. They looked and wowed and held it, and some of the the children tought Regina how to count in Tibetian/Hindi. Time flew, the girls called for dinner. After chow mein and white mushroom, onion, and carrot soup, we said goodbyes and goodnights and Lama brought us back to the hotel.