Day 13: Up to the Mountains in XiaHe

by Lan Friesen:
The beating heart of this Tibetan mountain town is Buddhist so, naturally, we started off our first whole day in Xiahe by walking around a large monastery. A monk showed us around and taught us more about Buddhism in Tibet and life in the monastery. It was very humbling to see the dedication that monks and many of the Tibetans on Xiahe have to their religion.
After a wonderful Tibetan lunch, we had some free time. Some of us student shopped for things like prayer beads and colorful scarves. It happened to be Fran Martens Friesen’s birthday, so we had a little birthday bash with pastries from a local bakery and presents.
Next, we walked to a small art school of about 15 student, ages 16-29 from underprivileged nomadic families. We got to see lots of beautiful art by the students, get a short art history lesson from the art teacher, Tenzin, and play games with the students. I was blown away by the paintings and drawings of the students and really loved everything Tenzin is doing. I was actually informed that the art school takes volunteers for a month sometimes, so I hope to return to Xiahe for a longer stay in the future.
We spent our evening in large tents in the foothills outside of Xiahe. After dinner, we got to watch the sun set behind the rolling hills and see a performance of Tibetan singing and dancing.

Monks at the LaBrang monastery
an art school for less-privileged Tibetans
a Tibetan cultural festival

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