Friends of Tibet Foundation for the Wellbeing

Impressions on WB44
(By Sylvie Bantle, June 15, 2015)

Team Wellbeing at Centre for Social and Political Art (CSPA), Sylviander House, Alappuzha, Kerala during the 44th Wellbeing camp held from June 3-5, 2015. (Photos: Sylvie Bantle and Victoria Sheldon)

"Team Wellbeing at Centre for Social and Political Art (CSPA), Sylviander House, Alappuzha, Kerala during the 44th Wellbeing camp held from June 3-5, 2015. (Photos: Sylvie Bantle and Victoria Sheldon)

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June 2, 2015: Friends of Tibet Campaigner Eswar Anandan arrives a day earlier, bringing organic rice and organic vegetables to prepare meals for the Wellbeing Tibetan Medical Camp team members which includes doctors, assistants and volunteers.

5am, June 3, 2015: Eswar Anandan welcomes Men-Tsee-Khang, Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute of HH the Dalai Lama team members at the Alappuzha railway station. This time Men-Tsee-Khang team comprises of Dr Dorjee Rapten Neshar, Chief Medical Officer, Bangalore branch of the clinic; Dr Tamdin Sangmo; Sonam Wangmo; Tenzin Dhonden and Passang Tsering.

After arriving at Sylviander House, the team members immediately starts with preparations for the 44th Wellbeing Tibetan Medical Camp. And soon after the breakfast and Tibetan Buddhist Prayer for the Wellbeing, the consultation by Dr Dorjee Rapten Neshar and Dr Tamdin Sangmo begins exactly at 10am as it used to be.

The main entrance hall and the courtyard is packed with different herbal medicines, carefully packed and distributed to the patients by Sonam Wangmo, Tenzin Dhonden and Passang Tsering. And as always Leelamma is busy preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner for about 12 people with fresh vegetables and rice brought to the camp venue.

June 4, 2015: Victoria Sheldon, a Wellbeing Volunteer has already arrived to help with translations for the participants who cannot communicate with Tibetan doctors. Today, Tharanath Menon, who's the Administrator of Laxmi Nature Cure and Yoga Clinic, Thrissur has arrived at the new camp venue for the for the first time.

44th Wellbeing Camp at CSPA, Alappuzha, Kerala

Patients come and go all day long, waiting on the blue metal chairs in front of the house under the cashew nut tree or on the verandah in front of Dr Dorjee's consultation room. Some seriously sick patients seek help from Dr Dorjee, who treats a cancer patient to ease the terrible pain. After the treatment the participant feels better and smiles. I encourage him with some light breathing exercises, which Dr Dorjee prescribed him. And those participants who are not able to enter, especially the blind man having cancer, is being examined by Dr Dorjee Rapten Neshar outside the room and under the shade.

Interestingly, for our kittens, now 3 months old, this Wellbeing camp is their first experience. The whole day these kittens were hiding in the garden out of fear being seen by many strangers for the first time and on the second day afternoon, they dare to appear on the verandah and on the last day, they stay all day long on the verandah, playing around their bowls. It is heart-opening to see them playing — something all patients enjoy.

We have our food together in the kitchen in two rounds because of the limited space and too many hungry people. To some, fun and joy is the best remedy to relax.

44th Wellbeing Camp at CSPA, Alappuzha, Kerala

June 5, 2015: The Wellbeing camp is going to end today. While the Tibetan team is still busy with the last patients, others sit together, happily reviewing the camp. Around 140 patients had come, but none of us felt hectic during these the 3 days and we all managed it well.

Since Tharanath has to catch a train back to Thrissur at 2pm, we take the good-bye photograph just before he leaves.

The Tibetan Medical team still has some time left to reach Alappuzha station. After packing the remaining medicines and storing all utensils properly, they walk to Varghese's tea stall nearby, where they have their last Kerala-style tea with some fresh bites. Our cats — Simba alias Little Buddha, Moojoo and Leo continue to enjoy the silence and prepare to go back to their space in front of the house to hang around...

Thanks for this good time. We are looking forward to host the next Wellbeing Program from August 5-7, 2015.

(This report is prepared by Sylvie Bantle, writer and performer from Germany living in India. She built Sylviander House with Alexander Devasia in Alappuzha, Kerala. She is also the co-founder of Centre for Social & Political Art (CSPA) and can be reached at:

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Friends of Tibet

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