By Lodoe Gyatso
Moving to McLeod Ganj was one of the best ideas I had in my life. My wife and I have lived here for two years and have had the privilege of meeting many new friends.
I was born in South Africa. My wife and I have been married for 32 years and have three beautiful daughters: two teachers and an occupational therapist.
I used to work in a high stress job where I would work on fixed-term contracts. The work itself was rewarding, but the insecurity of constantly looking for new work became too much for me, so I decided to put the corporate world behind me and do something meaningful. In South Africa we heard about the plight of the Tibetans and we thought that we could make ourselves available to assist in some way.
Our first action on arriving in India was taking on the study of Tibetan. We have been learning at the Library and have had a tutor for a time. We both underestimated the difficulty of the task of learning a new language, and so we have a long way to go. We can hold basic conversations in Tibetan, and we are very keen to improve further.
When I was still in school I had a dream of becoming an English teacher. Living in McLeod has allowed me to live my dream. I often volunteer at Lha for English conversation classes and enjoy the varied interaction that I regularly have there.
My wife and I also had the pleasure of teaching English at Namgyal Monastery for several months. The monks were enthusiastic in their participation in class and being there was very fulfilling. We also have individual and small group classes where we teach intermediate English on a voluntary basis.
Another of my dreams when I was younger was becoming a journalist. This dream has also come true. For the past few months I have been writing for Contact magazine. Each story has been a huge challenge for me, and there is no satisfaction like getting a story sent in ahead of its deadline.
For the future I dream of being able to stay in McLeod Ganj for as long as I can. I look forward to the day that I will be able to truly speak Tibetan fluently.
My wife and I also dream of starting an English school in McLeod Ganj. So many other dreams have become real here, maybe this one will come true too!