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Friday
Mar072014

International Women's Day

Tomorrow is International Women's Day and I'd like to share a few exciting things.  Above is a video we made to announce our Dining for Women Partnership.  You can get a real inside look at the magic going on in the Kopila Valley Women's Center.  Sometimes the problems seem so intense and embedded but I'm so proud of my team of women for working together to find a solution. 

We are so thrilled to have Dining for Women, by our side.  Today at 2:00 p.m. EST I'll be doing a live streamed interview with DFW on Google + and you are all invited to join in on the fun, ask questions, and talk about changing our world together.  Join us here!

Another eye-opening video on the issues surrounding child marriage released by the Council on Foreign Affairs to watch here.  It's well done and backed with a lot of girl effect-like stats.  There are loads of images of women and girls in Nepal. 

Last but not least in honor of International Women's Day, I'd like to share a personal piece I wrote on Nick Kristof's blog, "A Silent Killer of Women- Suicide."  It was a difficult piece to write but I'm proud that I did and honored that Nick wanted to share it with his community.  

Tuesday
Feb252014

magic moment

In love with this photo captured by the most incredible photographer Michael Collopy

This weekend was such a dream. I've been floating on cloud nine. I also got on the plane yesterday with an urge to "get back to work" like I haven't felt in a while. I feel revved and rearing to go, like suddenly I get a new fresh start. 

It all went by so incredibly fast, moment to moment. First I have to say, the other honorees were just amazing, each of them was warm and kind and encouraging and with each exchange I'd start to feel more hopeful and positive and a lot less alone. Everyone is working hard, doing what they can in their corners of the world and meeting the honorees gave me less to worry about. I know I will think of each of them and let them carry me through the hard times. We all had a special bond and sitting in a circle with them all on Saturday morning was the coolest feeling.

I got to spend the entire weekend with my mom and Nisha. It was a mother-daughter-daughter reunion and exactly what I needed.  Nisha has turned into quite the chatterbox and watching her perceptions and ongoing commentary on life in the U.S. and in a new city is so much fun. We laughed a lot. On our second day we were walking through our hotel lobby and  she asked me why the Dalai Lama was so lonely. Turns out for the entire trip she was hearing people saying "His Lonliness the Dalai Lama," instead of "His Holiness." We laughed about that for a good ten minutes after I corrected her. Later in the day when a little kid asked why there were dogs sniffing everywhere and police officers, Nisha and I told him that the Dalai Lama was in the building and with the cutest look on his face said "WHOSE the LALI DAMA!?!"  And we laughed some more.  Our little inside joke these days is "Whose the LALI DAMA?!?"

We got to chat with the former Prime Minister of Tibet, Mr. Tenzin Tethong. He and Nisha really hit it off, talking politics and world history. I was so proud at how much interest and insight Nisha gained from talking to absolutely everyone. She could hang right in with the conversation and had something to contribute and that made me the proudest mother ever. 

We rehearsed on the morning of the event when the butterflies and wobbly legs started to kick in. I accidentally missed breakfast and felt like I was going to faint from the nerves. Dick Grace, the event organizer, and one of the most incredible men on earth, kept hugging me all morning and letting me hold his hand. Getting up on stage for rehearsal was enough to do me in. I started texting my friend Megan to ease my nerves and wrote an email to the kids and our team on the ground to thank everyone and share my excitement.  

The room where the event was being held started to get REALLY REALLY crowded and people started pouring in. We all ate together and then there was a beautiful musical performance with Nisha's new favorite musician, this Tibetan Floutist who Nisha swears looks and acts exactly like her father did.

By the time everyone was settled in their seats and I met up with my mom and Nisha, and saw the Quicks, long time supporters and friends, I started to calm down a lot.  When everything started, the music, His Holiness walking into the room, Grandmother Aggie spoke, there was a calm that swept over the entire room.  

Grandmother Aggie is a 90 year old Native American tribal leader who spoke about the mother earth and how we all need to care for her.  I loved every word that came out of her mouth.  She opened with "listen, we're all in this leaky canoe together, let's support eachother."  She was funny and inspiring and she made me laugh and cry at the same time.

The Dalai Lama spoke about how he felt like the future of the world was in the hands of us young people and of course talked about kindness and compassion and making our way to a more peaceful world.  When he's speaking you fall in love with him and his every word resonates with fills you with hope.  This Compassion Awards was really truly a call to action for everyone.

When the awardees were called up to the stage I got nervous but but the time it was my turn to be called up to receive a blessing I thought about everyone in my life and my children and when I locked eyes with HH I just couldn't help but smile a great big smile, the biggest I've smiled in a long time from ear to ear.  I've never felt so full so happiness and joy and love than the moment when He reached out and touched my hands and whispered in my ear.  You know what he said?  "You are wonderful" in a hushed whisper.  And that's when I started to cry.  It was just a moment and it was over so quick but I will go back to that moment for the rest of my life and you were all there with me.  I'm so grateful.

Mommy, Nisha and Tenzin TethongNisha and Tibetan floutist Nawang Kechog

Thursday
Feb202014

really exciting news

So I have some really exciting news to share. This weekend we are being honored by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as an Unsung Hero for Compassion. Over the moon and thrilled to be able to have this experience on behalf of my children, you, and ALL of our amazing team at BlinkNow.
 
Update: Wisdom in Action will be providing a live webcast of the Unsung Heroes of Compassion program Sunday, February 23, 2014 beginning at 12:50 P.M. Pacific Standard Time.
Live webcast: http://newunsungheroes.org/2014-event/live-webcast/

You can learn more about the weekend here and below.

 Wisdom in Action, a California Bay Area non-profit organization is for the fourth time presenting Unsung Heroes of Compassion on February 23, 2014 at the Ritz Carlton hotel in San Francisco, California.
 
This event is a celebration of the extraordinary effort of 51 individuals from around the globe who work to alleviate the suffering of others without expectation of reward. In addition to their acknowledgement by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the event is a call to action—a reminder that the well-being of our communities and, in fact our world, is ours to shape through our own daily acts of kindness and compassion.
Although His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a world-renowned Buddhist teacher, this is not a religious or political event, nor is Buddhism or Tibet its focus. The honorees are a diverse group of men and women representing different faiths, countries of origin and ways of working in the world. The characteristics they share with the world include kindness, quiet dedication to others and belief in the importance of caring for our underserved brothers and sisters.
Our 2014 Unsung Heroes of Compassion come from and/or are doing compassionate work in the following countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Honduras, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Peru, Sudan, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda, United States of America, Zambia.
Thursday
Feb132014

Meet our Home Fellow: Caroline Porter

Our Home Fellow Caroline Porter grew up in Virginia and went to college in South Carolina. She discovered her passion for traveling when she spent a post-graduate year teaching English in Argentina and Peru. Once back in the States, she settled in Denver, and while she loves the region and hopes to eventually return, she jumped at the opportunity to apply to Kopila once she heard about the program. As with Caroline’s previous travels, she hopes to push herself out of her comfort zone, thus expanding her conception and appreciation for cultural diversity.  Caroline believes that embracing and understanding cultural differences is imperative for advancing the increasingly global society we are all a part of today.  Along with developing her own personal perceptive, she hopes the children can learn as much from her as she will from them. In her words, “Although our upbringings were significantly different, the students have the same ability to learn and grow as I do.  Individual talents are not segregated by nationality, race or wealth.  I feel that my time in Nepal will be equally beneficial for the students as well as the fellows and an experience none of us will forget.”

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From Maggie: As you can see from the photos Caroline exudes a warmth and nurturing spirit that makes her a wonderful home fellow and mother figure to the kids. Look at her wearing that mumu for goodness sakes! Caroline's smile is contagious and her disposition with the children is always genuine and loving. Caroline will be the first to tell you that she is NOT a morning person.But no matter what, she wakes up in her mumu, lemon tea in hand and makes sure all of the kids have breakfast, brush their teeth, do their duties, and are dressed and ready lined up at the gate for school.  She is also a certified ESL teacher and stellar in the classroom.  It's been especially sweet to watch Caroline help with Manisha's transition into our home after the loss of her mother.  Late nights, early mornings, homework, discipline, family meetings and keeping the house in order.  Caroline really does it all and I am so thankful to have her by my side. 


Wednesday
Feb122014

kabita + nisha

Hi everyone!  Maggie here. I'm in the states for a short visit! So thrilling to see Nisha and Kabita and hear all of their insights on life here. What an incredible opporunity they've been given. Nisha, her principal and I all had a meeting yesterday and I read through her report card from her teachers. I'm so proud of the hard work they have both been doing in school.  Kabita's spine has just about healed and she grew two inches. It took everything in me not to burst into crocodile tears when I saw her. Just a note to say I'm feeling extra blessed. And how about all this snow? What I'd give for all 44 of my kids here for some sledding.  

Stay warm, big love, and a big thank you to absolutely everyone in our BlinkNow Family! Also hi to all new readers and kids from Mount Saint Mary's, Dalton, and Friend's Seminary. I really enjoyed our time together this week. Thank you for having me at your schools :)