Congratulations to my friend, Deachen Dolker for her amazing hockey accomplishments. Daechen made the 2016 Indian Women's Ice Hockey team, which played in the IIHF Ice Hockey Challenge Cup of Asia. Just as impressive, she was awarded the best player award! So proud of you, Deachen!
Daechen is from Ladakh, India, and is a student at SECMOL, an amazing school, filled with inspiring students, and even more inspiring staff--many of whom are graduates. Everyone at SECMOL is filled with passion, which is why I keep coming back to it. I only recently learned that they have an ice hockey team.
I feel overwhelmed with gratitude by the outpouring of support from friends, family, colleagues, and students. Thanks to you, we received about a dozen boxes and two dozen bags of donations! Not all of it was completely appropriate clothing, so some of it will be donated to local homeless shelters. That said, the vast majority will be going to Nepal.
We had so much stuff I had to call in reinforcements, and had to move to a larger location. Thanks to my friends and family, we got it all done in one day. It didn't seem possible, but between the sorting, and the packing tips from J, we got it done!
Nepal was struck by a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake in April, leaving millions homeless. These people then had to struggle with the nearly non-stop monsoon rains and ensuing mudslides, while still living in tents. The rains have subsided, but the struggle continues. In late September, Nepal's deliveries of supplies, food, medicine, gas (petrol), and fuel for cooking have been cut off due to protests about the new constitution. People have been forced to cut down protected forests, as that is the only fuel available. Now winter is coming, and people are still living in tents, lacking warm clothes and fuel to stay warm.
In Nepal, no petrol also means little or no electricity, as 100% of Nepalese have no access to reliable electricity. . . . (click below to read more)
This isn't my favorite photo from my trip, but it is one of the ones that I'm most proud of, simply because I didn't not take it. I pulled my motorcycle off to the side of the road to take a photo, but when I pushed it up onto its center stand, the side of the road broke off underneath me, launching me into the field below. The bike then fell on top of me, pinning me underneath while leaking gasoline and oil all over me. I quickly turned off the ignition and (with some difficulty) managed to wriggle my way out from under my bike. I was a bit hurt, but nothing seemed broken. . . . (click below to read more)
This is a perfect example of a photo that I probably wouldn't have been able to take if I hadn't been carrying a Polaroid (actually a $100 Fuji Instax) camera with me in addition to my regular camera. The Instax was invaluable for my summer trip to Ladakh, India.
Older Ladakhis are often not keen to have their photo taken, which is totally understandable since they are photographed without permission and treated like zoo animals by hordes of camera-toting tourists. After having known the one on the left for 24 hours and NOT taking any photos (though I very much wanted to), I offered to make each of the ladies an instant print, as well as an extra for the grand-kids.
I asked them to sit by the green wall where I liked the light, and when I grabbed my camera and turned around they had both put on their sunglasses - Awesome! After making instant photos for each of them, they were happy to let me take a few shots for myself with my digital camera.
End result: Everyone was totally happy and the woman on the right invited me to visit her nomad camp - I wish I'd had the time to go. Total film cost: $2.25.
Tomorrow, it's off to Costco to make another 134 prints to mail off as a small thank you to some of the people who so generously let me into their lives.
Summer 2015 was my third trip to Ladakh, India. On this trip, I brought prints of some portraits that I had taken in 2006 and 2009, hoping to find the same people again. I bumped into this monk again by coincidence at a ceremony in my friend's home. The photo below shows the monk holding a copy of the photo I took of him in 2006. In the photo from 2006, he is wearing a white bandage across his forehead. In 2015, he is still wearing the matching scar. -TT