Editing Contact magazine has brought enormous riches to my life. Nearly every Lha volunteer who tells us their story says they gain so much more than they give and how true this is. I feel that I am at the centre of a wonderful network of people all over the world who are thinking about Tibet, keeping in touch because they care and often carrying on supporting Contact long after they have left McLeod by responding to our requests that they write articles for us.
And they do! They write on trains and planes, they write when they are back home or at university, managing to somehow fit it into their “real” life. They write while doing their next volunteer project in another country and facing completely different issues and challenges. They never forget.
Some of our writers have never written before. Many are not first-language English speakers and just as many again have not thought about human rights or saving the world. They came to McLeod for fun, or for the mountains, or because they had heard it was a cool place to be. And they get involved through writing for Contact and then go back and tell the folk back home, and so the word gets spread around the world.
But it’s not all about writing. People contribute in so many ways. There was the friend of a friend who gave us the idea for the “people” section of Contact – have a look online –she was features editor for a big daily newspaper and offered to give Contact a professional lookover and suggest ways we could improve or develop. She said why don’t we start telling the stories of all the people who make up McLeod? And we did!
.contactmagazine.net/dhAnother volunteer had the brilliant idea that we include QR codes (those funny bar-code things) so people picking up Contact in McLeod can easily get the link onto their smartphones – and she has made it happen. That means that people can follow the news online when they leave McLeod.
And then there is the question of who edits the editor? Friends of mine back here in the depths of the Shropshire countryside who have never thought about Tibet and have no idea what is going on there find themselves inveigled into proofreading the Contact layouts, or doing emergency editing of articles I have written at the very last minute, and so they become a part of this amazing web of people.
We couldn’t do it without you all, whether you distribute the magazine around McLeod, or write, or give us your ideas or help with online marketing or, indeed, edit the editor.And the people of McLeod – beware of bumping into me when I am out and about because I’ll be wanting you to tell your story! How I love the stories!
What I love about my involvement with Contact and Lha is that it’s a joy to be part of this great team of people – the staff at Lha – ever cheerful, committed, helpful and welcoming.