Archive for February, 2013

Young Monks. Northern India



Well, if you’re not attached to my facebook page or Paula Watts Photography blog, you may not have had the chance to see these images yet. If you are connected in those areas, I know you’ve seen these images at least once but I hope you can enjoy them again.
You might also check out the previous post as I have become aware that the “subscriber” notifications did not get sent for the last post. I apologize for any confusion. We’re still here, thriving and enjoying not only our beautiful surroundings of the Himalayan Mountains, but also the new friendships that are being built and the lives we have the extreme privilege of loving and serving. Just this morning, as Nick and I were talking over breakfast, we were realizing how privileged we actually feel to get to live life amongst the Tibetan people, who we are growing to love more and more each day. There is something so profound about the connection you feel with an entire people group after praying for them, loving on them, and serving them. They are quickly becoming friends, and people we cherish. We celebrate with them, we take on their struggles, we listen, and most importantly, we just try to be here and be present for them. See them and love them. For who they are. Who they were created to be, and encourage them however we can. Jesus did that when He lived here on earth, and He is our example. The ultimate example of servanthood, love, and sacrifice, but also speaking life and truth into the very lives of those he encountered. This is our prayer.
young smiling Tibetan buddhist monk boy portrait of young buddhist monk against interesting wall

young tibetan buddhist monk in classroom with alphabet

portrait tibetan buddhist monk poses with serious face

serious young tibetan buddhist monk in group

Refugee Status



Tibetan Refugees in India, Documentary Photographer Paula Watts

 

“Being clear about what we’re doing and why is the first step in doing it better. If you’re not happy about the honest answer to this question, make substantial changes until you are.” Seth Godin. Jan 15, 2013

Not a day goes by when I don’t have the extreme privilege of hearing stories of young Tibetans fleeing the Chinese government’s occupation of their land. The stories are shocking, filled with bravery, a fight for freedom and many times, end in tragedy.  Just today, a friend of mine told me his story of crossing the Himalayan Mountains (as they all do in order to get to India). He told me of being captured by the Chinese government the first 3 times he tried to escape, put in prison and then returned him to his home. The fourth and final time, he travelled for multiple weeks over the mountains, with some dying along the way. Food runs out, the temperatures are freezing, there are unmarked paths with dangerous cliffs. One young man fell to his death during their journey.

I want to help. I can’t just stand by. I serve a God who came to earth and died for justice, for us, un-deserving, but with Him, we have a hope for a future. He asks the same of us, to humble ourselves, to serve, and to fight for justice. “What you do to the least of these, you do to me.”

This has inspired me to start a documentary project of these young adults, coming from Tibet, as refugees, holding on to their culture, learning for the first time about their country’s history (as it is mostly banned in Tibet to learn of their own history), all the while trying to embrace their new surroundings in India, separated from their families and from the way of life they’re accustomed to. A beautiful mixture of tradition and modern appeals. Starting a new life…. with “Refugee Status”.

This is the first image of the series.

(Sengye, shown above, is a young Tibetan man from the Amdo region of Tibet. He wears a traditional fur hat and necklace, identifying him as Amdo. He was raised in a nomadic family (as most are in that region), breeding yaks, sheeps and goats. He fled Tibet on the same night of his father’s return from being imprisoned by the Chinese government for 14 years. They didn’t see each other.)

 

Please feel free to share your thoughts, input and comments.