By Rinchen Dolma

After 18 hours of flight, I landed in Indira Gandhi Airport New Delhi on the 3rd of July around 3am Indian time. Despite the heat and humidity, deep inside my heart, it was really nice to be back in India after a long time.

My project sites is in Himachal state . The night bus took exactly twelve hours to reach Dharamsala. By the time I reached Mcloed Ganj, in the foothills of Himalaya, the sun was about to rise and it seemed the Dhouladar Mountains were wrapped in the midst of the foggy monsoon.

Four years ago, I took a bus from the same parking lot to New Delhi for my journey to high school in Norway. Nothing had changed. Even a promised multi-layer parking lot had yet to be constructed. Along the main road worked the same Tibetan bread sellers I remembered.

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Delek Hospital

Soon afterwards, I met my project partners at Delek Hospital in Gangchen Kyishong. This is the center of Tibet’s administration in exile.

On the way to the hospital, I saw many Tibetans heading to work. I was happy and also inspired to see that new generations of Tibetan youths are taking in charge of our home away from home.

The chief administrator of Delek Hospital is Dawa Phunkhill. I presented my ideas and plans and he connected me to a number of departments and nurses. The next day, the interviews with current tuberculosis patients started.

Some are nearly finishing their dosage, so only need to come to Delek to take their medicine Others are new patients and are staying at the hospital for three months of treatment and medication.

It’s not easy to interview people who are going through tremendous hardships. The challenge for me is not a physical/technical one. Hearing the inner voices of patients, the sufferings and every day challenges they tackle in their life is mind blowing. Sometimes, I found myself breaking down with the interviewees. Only in the first few days, we had to stop the camera three times.

At the same time, it’s enlightening to hear peoples’ optimism and the way they want to keep others from being infected. I am learning from them and also forming lovely relationships with them. One of my interviewees mentioned multiple times that in life little things make the biggest difference. In his case, he said, “some minor negligence and carelessness has led me to go through very serious stages of TB. Many times I almost lost hope. But now in few days, I am finishing the complete medication and fully recovering.” He is excited to go back in to society and start healthy living. He also said “ TB is like a droplet of water in a vast quantity of water. It can spread like the ripples if the person with TB neglects important safeguards.”

Many more stories coming up…