Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's All Happening

    It happens when you open your eyes after meditating with the students in the school yard. The mountains of mythical proportions now are familiar and comforting. It happens when one day you instinctively turn and respond when a child cries out, “Madam!” in the street. It happens when late one night when you are returning to Thimphu on a bus and you think, “Almost home.” It happens in the middle of the night when you wake up and you no longer have to remember, “Where am I?” It happens when laughing sincerely around the dinner table with a group of people who just a month before had been unfamiliar faces in a staff meeting. When you leave the city, climb a mountain and really see with your eyes that you have done it, found the place where nature reigns. Where humans have not harnessed it in national parks and greenbelts. It happens when spending thirty dollars in one week seems like a small fortune. Or when you realize that you lived on three hundred dollars in a month, rent included.  The last couple weeks have been filled with moments like this, when I understand that it’s all happening for me.
    When you leave home, what are you looking for? I know that when I left, what I wanted was to know was what is revealed when layers of familiarity and comfort are removed. In these small moments I am finding that what is revealed is definitely not fear and worry as we anticipate in the unknown, but rather new forms of familiarity and comfort. Happiness is to be found underneath and the excellent news is that happiness is not dependent on everything that you think you need at home but exists abundantly in the world at large. So when I say, “It’s all happening” I mean that over and over the universe is proving to me that it provides graciously.
    Spring is seeping through all of the cracks around here. Bright pink blossoms on trees pop out of the dusty landscape. Between uncharacteristic thunderstorms the sun shines. Going outside or to bed no longer requires three layers, beanies and gloves. I like this new side of Thimphu.

    School is three weeks underway. Today a parent walked through the gate during the all-school assembly. “Where is your son?” Asks Madam Deki, the principal. “He’s not coming today. He had very bad diarrhea all night,” replies the parent in front of THE ENTIRE SCHOOL. I wait for the thunderous laughter. It doesn’t come. I think about the lifetime of social ridicule that would have befallen an American student who’s father made such a comment in front of their entire peer group. Later in the day a student doesn’t have his homework, “I didn’t do it, Madam Kellie, because I had diarrhea last night.” That’s a new one, much more believable than the dog eating it.


  1. did you say, "that's ok, me too"

  2. Love this. It all makes so much sense and I'm sure hits home for many. Thanks for capturing such incredible realizations. Beautiful!

  3. even ray charles was laughing. love the pics kellie. love you more. more songs to come soon. xoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox


    BORUNGO KHOLA, Bangladesh – A pinch of salt. A fistful of sugar. A half liter of water.
    It's a recipe 8-year-old Meem Akter recites easily while squeezing and scooping her tiny fingers through the air with precision, pretending to measure just the right amount of each ingredient.
    "You take the salt with three fingers," says the little girl in a pink- and blue-ruffled dress, smiling shyly. "I learned it in school last year."
    Over the past 30 years, this simple 'poor man's Gatorade' has become a cheap, trusted home remedy passed down to generations of Bangladeshi moms nationwide. It is bought or whipped up and sipped down at the first sign of diarrhea to stave off dehydration, which can drain a weak child of life in just hours.
    Bangladesh, one of the world's poorest countries, is a leader in the fight against diarrhea, which is the number two killer of children under age 5 worldwide after pneumonia. Diarrhea claims 1.5 million kids annually — more than AIDS, malaria and measles combined — and the United Nations has projected the number of deaths will rise by 10 percent each year over the next decade.
    "When I talk to people in developed countries about diarrhea, they don't believe me when I tell them it's killing children," says Dr. Olivier Fontaine, a diarrhea expert at the World Health Organization in Geneva. "We have the magic bullets, and now we need to apply them to make sure every kid has access. What we need is money to implement what we have seen in Bangladesh."