On our visit to the Tibetan Settlement at Mungod, Karnataka, we visited an old age home that the Trust has been associated with for with for several years. This was a very interesting window into the lives of Tibetan senior citizens. Old age homes are not common in Tibet or India. Usually in India as well as in Tibet it is customary for children to take in and care for their elderly parents.
But what happens when children are estranged, abroad or do not intend to honour this often unspoken understanding? Especially in the Tibetan community, the elderly without families are mainly interested in pursuing their spiritual practices and living independently and peacefully. So within this home, although we saw illness and atrophy, we also saw peace and care.
This community is home to over 200 people, who are divided into different sections-those who can still care for themselves, and perform their daily tasks by themselves, then there are those who require part time or full time care. There is also an Intensive Care Unit for those with illnesses that require full-time medical care.
Mrs. Tamdin, who runs this home confided in me that sometimes, the elderly can be like little children, requiring much care and patience. She has been committed to this cause for over two years and is an incredibly positive and upbeat personality. She explained that the funds donated by the Trust have gone into building a water tank and some solar-powered outdoor lamps.
The fragile condition of senior citizens requires special hygiene and the number of people living there was making it difficult to have adequate water. The water tank is only a small part of the home and yet quite significant. Access to clean water for bathing, cleaning, washing clothes and cooking is essential to hygiene given the very warm climate and humidity of Karnataka.
In a place like this where government sanctioned water is in short supply and summers are brutal, access to abundant water is a welcomed luxury. The smaller project carried out through the Trust’s funding was the installation of solar powered lamps on the grounds. It was important to do this because there had been instances of residents falling and hurting themselves while navigating in the dark.
We were inspired by the efforts of the director and were touched by the happy lives of these elderly people with kind eyes. We are glad to see that our contribution has helped in improving the quality of their lives so that they might continue with their lives comfortably.