Newsletter January 2010

Dear friends and foundation members of 'Bridging East-West'!

Unfortunately the holidays went by much too quickly and I'm already back home from my last trip to India. Luckily so, things went well and we managed to achieve in that short time what we set out to do.

We had planned three eye-camps in different locations:

The first stop was a Tibetan old people's home in Herberpur - near Derahdun. A home for men only, who after fleeing Tibet, had served in the Indian Army as border patrols in the Himalays and fought in the war against Bangladesh. Being without family they have to provide solely for themselves. Everyone was very friendly and I was warmly welcomed. Actually staying overnight at the home left me slightly bemused, since I was the only female in the vicinity. Being constantly offered tea and food, everyone made me feel very much at home.
The Indian eye specialist who we already had worked with last August, managed to accompany us to all eyecamps again. Only this time he was joined by his brother, as it would have been too big a task for one person in such short time. Eighty three of the Residents, incl. some Tibetans from the settlement nearby, have been provided with spectacles.

The second stop was at a Tibetan Settlement called Dekyiling. Since the date of the eye camp was announced well in advance, people arrived on busses from afar, including from another settlement, as well as other old age people's homes. I was overwhelmed and surprised how everything fell into place despite the demand. That day Threehundred Fiftyfour people were seen!!!

The third destination was a very remote Tibetan village called Dolanji. On the way to get there, I sometimes wasn't quite sure anymore where or in which country we actually were.
In Dolanji, twentyseven people were tested and once again I was moved by their modesty and simplicity of their lives!

Alltogether four hundred sixty four old people were provided with spectacles, ninety two of them received even glasses for far-sightedness as well as short-sightedness. When the spectacles were given out, it was delightful to observe the reactions of the recipients; their surprised expressions being able to see clearly again, their laughter, their visible joy and gratitude for this gift.

Alltogether we could hand out five hundred fifty six spectacles, which was only made possible through many of you in the West, due to donations of spectacles as well as financial contributions. For that a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you!!

A big THANK YOU to Mr. Dorjee Tsering (Njing Jay Yul) who managed all the pre-project work. Lots of official paper work, lots of phone calls and letters are necessary to register and arrange such a project.
Without his help and collaboration it wouldn't be possible for me to do all this work. Additional the time I spent in India was too short to distribute all the glasses. After my departure Dorjee finished the project.

At the last settlement we also gave out fifty walking sticks. The old people's pure childlike joy about being aided to move around more easily again, is very touching.

Additionally we're able to provide ten people with monthly financial support for their needed medication, and we could also extend the payments of wages for a nurse working at an old age people's home in Southern India, for another six months.

I'm really happy and grateful to see the 'Bridge' we've begun to build, continuously grow, become more stable, increasingly connecting and more supportive as time goes by.

A huge THANK YOU to everyone whose support and help made this possible!!

TASHI DELEK & Lots of Love,

Judith Mauritz



A special Thank You

Herewith I'd also like to express my gratitude to the company ARORA Optical in Chandigarh, who truly stands out for their amazing team work and collaboration.

The first time we approached them, this company not only spontaneously decided to carry out the planned eye tests at the Tibetan Settlements and manifacture the lenses, but also agreed to use the donated spectacle frames - instead of their own new ones. Already last August, one son of the family run company 'ARORA Optical' and his wife came to meet us in Dharamsala. Following that, they agreed to come to other Tibetan Settlements in Derahdun in December and January. At this time two more sons additonally came to help, as the number of old people attending the eye camps, had dramatically increased. Thanks to their effort everything worked out perfectly and many old people left happy and satisfied with their new glasses.

Their integrity and reliabilty to honour time tables and agreements, the effortless co-operation as well as their understanding of how the foundation operates, is truly remarkable.

On a personal note I am happy to see, that it is possible that another bridge spans the Indian, Tibetan and European 'way of thinking & working'.

The next eyecamp is already planned for July 2010, in Ladakh.