Friday, July 24, 2009

Citizen Interviews

Standing in the courtyard starting at the water fountain, a small group of girls starts to crowd around our group. After several minutes of giggling and avoiding eye contact, one gains the courage to speak. “Excuse me ma’am.” We all turn around curious as to which one of us they were actually addressing. The small group of girls looks and me and moves nearer. In a whispered voice one little girl asks me “Do you want to do friends?” Being familiar with this trend that was quickly spreading over campus I knew what she was really asking was to be pen pals. After a few minutes of exchanging names and address, standard protocol for pen pals, I decided to take this opportunity to really get to know some more information about my new “best friend”. They call taking your introduction and that is exactly what we did. Here’s what I found out about my new friend.

Name: Tashi Chorol
Birthday: May 12
Age: 13
Hometown: Igoo
House name: Hor
Mother: Yanchan Dolma, occupation: shopkeeper
Father: Tsering Paljor, Driver for Tata Mobile
Brothers: Stanzin Namdol, 10 years old, and Jigmat Chostop, 1 year old
Sister: Jigmat Norzom, 17 years
Favorite pastime: watching TV
Favorite TV program: Tom and Jerry Cartoons
Favorite Summer Activities: Swimming and Sports
Favorite Sports: Football and Skipping
Favorite School Subject: English. She really enjoys learning to speak English.
What do you want to be when you grow up: a teacher for little kids
Favorite Colors: Red and Pink
Favorite Animal: Dog
Pets: Cat named Dolma, Dog named London (He was named by her older brother, Stanzin.
Favorite Flower: Roses, especially red.
Favorite thing about DWLS: changing classes
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor (Softy flavor): orange
Favorite number: 16
Favorite movie: Cinderella
Favorite food: sandwiches
Furthest you’ve traveled: Jammu & Srinigar
Dislikes: Snow, it’s too cold.
Likes: Wearing suits and playing inside. She also likes her family’s garden. They grow turnips, carrots, sunflowers, lilies.
Best friends: Padma Angmo and Tsering Angmo. They are 12 year old twins.

After the questions, she wanted to take my introduction as well. We sat on the sidelines of the ongoing cricket game in the blazing sun. I was surrounded by a group of 8 or 9 girls all anxious to hear what I had to say. Tashi asked the questions although there were several suggestions that came from our audience. Some of my responses evoked confused faces while others, especially if we liked the same things, evoked giggling. After spending a little more than an hour, Tashi left school and was gone for two weeks of summer vacation. Shortly before leaving she had promised me that she would be back the next day with a small gift for my birthday which had happened the week before. I thanked her and told her I’d see her tomorrow. The whole time I was thinking this would never happen. Yet, there I was the next day, standing at the same water fountain when I out of the corner of my eye I see two figures enter the courtyard. It was Tashi and her mother, Yanchan. They had brought me a birthday present afterall. I was completely caught off guard and surprised. I had heard stories of how generous the Ladakhi people were but hadn’t really encountered it first hand. Yet, here in my new “best friend” I was able to experience the openness, honesty, and generosity that characterizes the region.

Written by Laura

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