Tibetan Refugee Camp

In the last chronicle of the Great Singing Bowl Investigation, our curious heroes embarked into the tourist lands of Lakeside Trail, Nepal. It was here that they gained information from Jono the shopkeep about the spiritual value of Tibetan singing bowls (AKA, why tourists should buy them). Yet, perhaps Nepali folks and Lama Gurus are not the informants we seek; perhaps Cigar, @pleinedevie, and @jayurbzz should head to the true local Tibetan populace, in a Tibetan refugee camp… which is exactly what they did.

Tibetan Refugee Camps in Nepal

Tibetan refugee camps are all over Nepal. Tibet is a region of China. Whether it’s because of the region’s natural resources, or merely because of a conflict of interest in culture, regardless of the reason Tibet believes that it should be independent. Because of persecution in China, many flee Tibet, including the Dalai Lama (currently in Northern India). Oftentimes, these refugees set up camp in good old Nepal.

Visiting a Tibetan Refugee Camp

The crew visits the Tashi Palkhiel Tibetan refugee settlement in Hemji, Nepal. Welcomed by hungry goats and smiling faces, Cigar leads the way and translates wonderfully as the team asks numerous inhabitants questions regarding singing bowls, Lamas, and the Buddha. One woman interrupts the serene interrogation in hopes of selling the kids a beautiful rainbow belt. It works, and now @jayurbzz is travelin’ in style–once again caught in the web of tourist propagandizing.

“Why do you want to know about the singing bowls? It’s unnecessary. Don’t waste your time.”

This condemnation, straight from the mouth of a Nepali man translating for a Tibetan woman (speaking Nepali, of course), further convinces the group of the value of singing bowls lying only in their ability to appeal to tourists for profit.

To confirm this lingering suspicion, they visit another shop at the Tibetan refugee camp, where they learn that as far as modern Tibetans know, people use the bowls in order to… well, to eat. And that they are “never used in a monastery, no no.” If there is a deeper spiritual purpose, us curious travelers are not being told.

So the plot thickens. What will the adventure offer us next?

Stay tuned, PRCPTION Travelers… we’ll soon find out in the next installment of #GoingToNepalWithACameraOnMyForehead.