Dear friends of Restored Voice Project,
Having been back in the USA for a few months, I am feeling back in the groove – though very much missing the Tibetans of Dharamsala!
Here are some updates for you:
I am about to launch a new site for the project, so this site has been and will continue to be under construction for a while!
Additionally, the book is well underway, with almost all of the interviews translated and transcribed by the fabulous Choekyi-la. She continues to provide clear and beautiful translations for the editing process that will turn interviews into narratives for the book.
Now that the writing and publishing are underway, this page will go from blog\-style to website-style, and there will be less exciting updates as there were before during the fundraising and research on the ground. However, stay tuned for releases of Restored Voice Project’s media: photography of the women and their home, and two videos of the ani-la of Dolma Ling praying together as a community and practicing their fiery dialectics!
Until then, enjoy your summer, monsoon, mango season, fishing season – whatever it is where you call home! RVP is working hard and thinking of you.
Cheers to forward movement!
Ani Yangchen takes a ride down the natural slide outside Dolma Ling, with intern Palden in line for the next go
Restored Voice Project’s research phase is reaching its close, with only a little over two weeks left in McLeod Ganj, and India!
The journey has flown by, and simultaneously also seemed take a lot of time and patience. January and February were full of set-backs, whether they be related to health, inclement weather, or the logistics of creating contacts with the nuns themselves. I knew, as I made my plans, that there would be struggles; I simply had no way to predict what they would be! But arriving with contacts made and plans laid out has been a saving grace – if I had started from scratch upon arrival, there would have been absolutely no way I could have finished my research goals in three months.
And if I had hadn’t done that preliminary outreach, I wouldn’t have found my interpreter, Tenzin Choekyi, who has been the final and most necessary piece to this new kind of puzzle. Choekyi possesses the perfect energy for this project – she is genuine, collected, reserved, and warm all at once. She is present. She invites your confidence and affection within minutes of meeting her. With her working hard at my side, RVP has already progressed past its goal (in terms of number of interviews), more than tripling the amount of interviews I had in the first seven weeks of my stay. The next few weeks give us time to meet even more amazing women than planned – and to plan for the journey home.
Hello and tashi delek, friends!
RVP has now been in Dharamsala for a month. In that time, I’ve acquired an interpreter, an intern, a better understanding of Tibetan culture and Tibetan issues, meetings with local NGOs and nunneries, many new friends, and about a third of the ani-la’s (Tibetan nuns) interviews necessary for the publication. And more are to come! Next week – Dolma Ling and Tibetan Nuns Project down in Sidhpur, a valley in Dharamsala with a spectacular view of the mountains. I look forward to writing more about Dolma Ling – it is a place that is as powerful as it is beautiful.
View within Dolma Ling (photo property of Restored Voice Project)
The book is now much fuller and tangible in my mind. My instincts on the structure, goals, and spirit of the project were solid – descriptions of the project have been met with support and enthusiasm from the Tibetan community, which is most important to me. The ani I’ve interviewed have been so thankful for the chance to speak, and flush with emotion and smiling humbly at the thought of our support. I always take the time to explain how we came together to make this happen – how many individuals, not an organization or institution, wanted to hear their stories, to learn from them. They are generally at a loss for words for a moment, in response to this. The constant oppression they and their people have faced is tempered by our interest and concern. I thank you again for your support. And when the book is published, you’ll see the words of thanks from the women themselves.
Dharamsala itself is a beautiful and vibrant city, full of researchers and activists. I meet someone new every day who gives me fresh inspiration.