Unforgettable Song “Beautiful Eyes” over Snow Covered Plateau
2016-08-16
Written by Nan Beiru
 
May 16  Monday  Sunny
 
A paragraph describing Tibet written by Author Ma Lihua is: "For those who haven’t come, Tibet is an aspiring Buddha pure land; For the inhabitants, Tibet is a way of life;And for those who have left, Tibet makes them always dream of.
 
Early in the morning, I and my assistant little Wang traveled from Pudong International Airport, Shanghai to Tibet, a mystery holy land in my heart. I have been to Tibet three times, each time I go there with different mood of expectations, memory and touching. But the main purpose of this trip to Tibet was not to travel, but to accomplish SSCLF - Jia Public Welfare Fund’s mission —— delivering the lovely gifts for the children at the Blind School in Shigatse in Tibet Autonomous Region.
 
The plane descended slowly at Gonggar International Airport in Lhasa. Upon arrival, I feel it difficult to breathe in fresh air. Local friends picking up us at the airport had some oxygen bottles ready on the car. And after aspirating some oxygen, I felt a little better. The car took us straight west for Shigatse city. It will climb over karuola glacier at 5300 meters above sea level. It is really a severe test for me because I am particularly sensitive to the plateau reaction. 
 
 
Fortunately, the picturesque snowy scenery with blue sky, white clouds and distant glaciers we saw along the road made me forget the physical discomfort. Especially at the thought of the blind children waiting for us, I am gradually getting much better.
 
At about 9 o'clock in the evening, we finally arrived at Shigatse at 3800 meters high above sea level. We spent almost fourteen hours on the journey, we are so exhausted that fell asleep quickly.
 
 
May 17  Tuesday  Sunny
 
In the morning, after eating breakfast at the hotel, we went to Tashilhunpo Monastery to carry out a special task. Entering Living Buddha Wangdu’s room, his housekeeper offered us the buttered tea (Tibetan for "Soma"), the local daily essential beverage. With a variety of foods, it can not only warm one’s body but also supplement nutrition. I sip the tea and it tastes very special and delicious with mixture of sweet, salt and milk flavor and I suddenly feel a lot of spirit.
 
Living Buddha Wangdu told me that since the last time I went to Shigatse city to invite him to be a director of SSCLF- Jia Public Welfare Fund, he has tried to read something about Shanghai Soong Ching Ling Foundation. After careful consideration he has made a decision to accept our invitation. As soon as I heard his decision, I was overjoyed and immediately presented the director’s certificate to Living Buddha Wangdu. He received it with smile. Then Living Buddha Wangdu and I had a talk on the topics about the public welfare. He said, we must do real public service for those who have difficulties and need help. For the children in the blind school, we can give them real help, can't do the work just for some image purpose or to exaggerate some propaganda. Living Buddha Wangdu's words are very simple and also very deep. With Living Buddha Wangdu’s support and encouragement, I am more confident in doing public welfare service in Tibet.
 
We Left Tashilhunpo Monastery and returned to the hotel to take rest. I still felt a little uncomfortable, and I absorbed some oxygen for a moment.
 
May 18  Wednesday  Sunny
 
At 10 o’clock, in the morning, accompanied by the local Shanghai cadres supporting Tibet, a car drove us and three full boxes of materials to the Blind Children’s School in Shigatse. The full name of the school is Tibet Shigatse Technical Training School for the Blind. It is located at Bianxiong Township, 20 km away from the urban area of Shigatse city. The school was founded in 2004 by Mrs. Sabriye Tenberken, a Germany blind woman who served as the school headmaster. Ms. Sabriye Tenberken was born in a small town in Bonn, Germany in 1970. She was diagnosed pigmented retinopathy at the age of 2 and went blind when she was 12 years old. She invented the Tibetan Braille in 1992. In 1998 she and her husband established the first non-religious, non-profit and non-governmental organization dedicated service to the blind - - Braille without borders, BWB. And they respectively established two schools for the blind in Lhasa and Shigatse and operating funds entirely come from donations from the public.
 
 
About 10:30, we arrived at the Shigatse Blind School.  At the school gate hung a horizontal inscribed board of "Braille Without Borders, BWB". This is the second time for me to come to the school. At seeing us coming, the executive vice headmaster, my Tibetan elder sister Jane embraced me, affectionately called me her younger sister, and deliberately took out a piece of long time prepared green robe and help me to put on. I suddenly looks like a genuine Tibetan girl.
 
When the vice headmaster led us to the school auditorium, a large group of the blind children waited us earlier. The vice headmaster told us, the children heard that we were going to bring them lovely gifts, they were so excited that they couldn’t fall asleep quickly. In order to welcome us, one blind student played the accordion, another blind student played the matouqin and about ten blind children sang the song “Beautiful Eyes". The Song lyrics and music came from the students of the school for the blind, expressing their expectation for bright. When the song begins, my tears can’t help pouring out...... Having done public service for many years, we give needy children some material’s help, but the children give me even more spiritual shock. At this moment, the gratitude from the bottom of the children’s hearts is turned into a beautiful song. Though they could not see the sun rising every day, but their ceaselessly self-improvement figures always appear in the public; Though they could not see the season’s change, but they always have their eternal hope in their hearts. On the snow covered plateau, a group of blind children haven’t given up their hope and they learn to weave carpets, learn to play the musical instruments and learn how to do a variety of foods…... What they need is not to pity them, but to respect and love them from the community, so that they can live in the sun and with hope. After the performances, we sent lovely gifts to the children. Every student got one thermos cup, a school bag, two sets of new school uniforms, and some cotton-padded clothes, etc. Looking at the children's smiling face, I was deeply moved again.
 
I took out a letter the blind children in Shanghai asked me to hand over to their counterparts in Shigatse. The letter expresses Shanghai blind children’s good wishes and aspirations to them. The blind children in Shigatse also wrote a letter to the Shanghai Blind children and asked me to transfer it to them.  Just before Parting, the vice headmaster Jane said to me, she hope one day we will be able to take these blind children in Tibet to Shanghai, let them know more about the outside world. I said I will strive to help these blind children to realize their dreams, bringing the song "Beautiful Eyes" to Shanghai.
 
 
Hurry to wipe away tears, I received the interview from an accompanying Shigatse television reporter. Then we ended up nearly 3 hour trip to the blind school. Back to the hotel, I have been tired with big mouths of breathing.
 
May 19   Thursday   Sunny
 
Today is the last day of our trip to Tibet. Early in the morning, local Shanghai cadres supporting Tibet and local friends sent us to the Shigatse Airport to take the flight to Chengdu. On the way to the airport via Bianxiong town, I once again saw the blind school, my eyes were inadvertently moist, and the song “Beautiful Eyes” sung by the blind children resounded in my ears.
 
Before parting, the local Shanghai cadre supporting Tibet, who once helped us and the blind school to establish contact, said to me: "My three year work in Tibet is coming to an end, and I will come back to Shanghai soon. The public welfare mission to help the blind school in Shigatse will be handed over to you.”  I suddenly feel a heavy responsibility. Surely, Love without limits! No matter how busy I am, and no matter how difficult it is, I have to try my best to continue our public welfare project, to help more blind children achieve their ideal......
 
(From SSCLF’s Quarterly “Change” first issue in July, 2016)