After our interview with the Dalai Lama we got in our cars and traveled up a beautiful windy road with a steep incline. We finally reached approximately 8000 feet where the Tibetan Children’s Village peacefully sits. Although there was an apparent presence of serenity, the minute we stepped out of our cars, tons of children were screaming on the monkey bars, skipping around laughing, and dribbling loudly across the basketball courts. We made our way across the large and hilly campus to the auditorium where we watched students perform traditional Tibetan dances and songs in traditional Tibetan attire. We then interacted as groups and talked about the similarities of our education systems and what we see in our future. We then moved to the cafeteria where we freely talked over tea and cookies.
One boy that was in my group interaction earlier sat down next to me and we started talking. I was a little hesitant to initiate conversation regarding Tibet, but it was largely apart of him so asking was necessary in getting to know him. I asked him if he crossed over the Himalayas to get to exile. He told me he paid someone to guide him over and he traveled with nine other kids. He said he saw two or three of the kids die along the way and explained through rough English the dangers due to the Chinese guards and the extreme whether conditions. I asked him about his family and he told me he has an older sister and a younger that are both in Tibet with his parents who he only gets to speak to two or three times a year. I looked at him and said, “This must be really hard”. He looked up with a huge smile on his face and explained that it’s something he had to do and how lucky he is to be safe and where he is. Since this conversation, I’m struck by his positive outlook through such a hard situation and it made me reflect on my attitude given how fortunate I am to have everything that I have in my life.