Still here, but not for long; they have been telling themselves this since the last twenty years.
These Tibetan refugees whom I met in the Handicraft Centre of Dharamsala are all women, when they arrived in India they were not more than adolescents. And today, they are all mothers of some children.
Hope and courage, because of this they left their hometown, eastern Tibet of the Chamdo province. When I asked them why they left, they all answered with the same kind of simplicity that they just wanted to see the Dalai Lama. Now that they did, they said that they were happy.
I have no idea how to measure their happiness from seeing the Dalai Lama and I wonder if it was really worth the risk of leaving their home forever. I did not dare to ask. In fact the situation was obvious when I saw the longing through their eyes.
Mama is getting older, they told me with a simple smile. Then they looked at their children, saying that so they are. Then I asked what do they wish now, they answered, go back to Tibet, go see the family.
I was aware to the fact that as a Chinese passport holder, I do not need a visa to enter Tibet, so I set forth the idea of me going to Tibet, and bring there messages. I can film them with my camera then I can go find their families and show these videos to them back home. And on my return, I can also show the videos filmed from there.
They all loved the idea.
So I go on with my camera. Finding them at home with their children on a Sunday afternoon, I invited them to sit and talk to the family through the camera. They all took it so simply but seriously, changing themselves into the traditional Tibetan dresses they just sat there, in front of the view finder. Most of the time they didn’t talk at all, they just sang. And when their children were crying their voices dry to sing Tibetan songs to their grandpa and grandma, these mothers showed nothing more than genuine pride. And when they looked at me through the camera, thinking of their families, I knew their trust and confidence will bring me far.
Now with these beautiful moments taped, I am setting out for Tibet.
And when I will be back, I shall have the other half.