Living Conditions in Tsum
Life in this remote, high altitude area is hard beyond imagination. The weather is cold all year around, and in winter, snow is piled high, making any movement impossible for more than two months. A fierce wind is a daily companion, making life difficult.
Before the monastery and nunnery were handed over to the care of Lama Zopa Rinpoche, most of the nuns and monks depended for survival on the kindness of their family or maybe some rare benefactor. Each person had to take care of their own food, and quite often they needed to go begging to the villages. As the families are also poor, they will give food only in exchange for work in the fields. A little bit of tsampa, and some hot water, sometimes black tea was the daily diet, supplemented in summer by some herbs, potatoes and vegetables.
The rooms and sleeping places were very simple; a mat or some stones or a sheet of wood in the floor. There are no tables, no beds, no carpets, not even glass in the windows. The roofs consist of slabs of stone over a simple beam construction and do not provide much protection from the elements. There were no toilets in the nunnery or monastery, and the hygienic conditions were very poor.
Improvements that have already
been made with your kind help:
The monastery and nunnery now offer food and medical care to all its residents. To cover the cost of food in the coming years, a food fund has been established.
A teacher has been employed for Tibetan and English classes. The resident geshe of Mu gompa comes three days every week to the nunnery to teach on philosophy and supervise the memorizing of the prayers and rituals. A Tibetan doctor is available for basic medical care.
New buildings are cropping up - a new dining room, kitchen and storeroom has nearly been completed. The kitchen will have a fuel efficient fireplace for cooking, and a solar system for hot water.
Several classrooms are under construction now. All the rooms will have large windows with glass (quite a novelty in this area) and are built using a special stone construction with thick walls to keep the warmth in and the cold out. Special material will be used in the walls and ceiling to provide insulation from the cold and windy climate.
The new buildings are the first step to upgrade the buildings in the nunnery. Next year the renovation and rebuilding of the actual accommodation will start.
Work on improving the infrastructure of the monastery and nunnery is being carried out continuously: Water pipes have been laid to bring clean water directly to the monastery and nunnery buildings, toilets are being built. A satellite telephone available to all the villagers has been installed to help with communication with Kathmandu and the neighboring valleys.
Difficulties in carrying out the work in a remote area.
Work in the Tsum Valley is restricted to the summer months, when the temperatures are more conducive to outdoor work.
Due to the Maoists controlling the access routes to the valley carrying the supplies in by porters is not possible. Therefore most of the building material and supplies has to be taken by helicopter - at great expense.
How Can I Make a Donation?
Any amount of donation is welcome. To make a donation simply send your check in US dollars to FPMT Inc. and write Tsum on the check or provide your credit card details and mail to:
1632 SE 11th Avenue
Portland, OR 97214-4702 USA
Click here to Donate On-Line
|Your donation will go towards supporting the following activities
FPMT has established Tsum (TSUM) as a designated purpose fund, which with the support of generous benefactors, supports the work of FPMT's affiliate, Tsum (TSUM). All donations made to the fund are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.