Spokane North Notes

A weekly bulletin of the Spokane-North Rotary Club

August 11, 2014

Editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink

Program Coordinator and Photos: Jim Minkler

          School days: The club’s back-to-school Holmes Helper campaign continues.  Coordinator Melody Farance said responses and pledges or donations are still needed from several club members to reach the $2,000 goal.  Funds will buy essentials, including pencils, paper, backpacks and tissue to needy students at Holmes, where about half of the 400 student enrollment turns over every year.  Melody said supplies will be delivered after the Aug. 25 club meeting and volunteers are needed to help store the supplies in school closets.

          Condolences: Don Lynch, husband of club member Chris Lynch, passed away Aug. 6.  President-elect Lenore Romney offered heartfelt sympathies at the Aug. 11 meeting and she, as well as invocator Steve Boharski, asked the club to keep the Lynch family in its thoughts and prayers.  Members signed a card which was sent to family.  Don, 73, had battled brain cancer. A memorial celebration is scheduled from 3-6 p.m., Sunday, Aug., 17 at the Southside Senior Center, 3151 E. 27th.

           Practicing Rotary: President-elect Romney contributed a “happy buck” on behalf of the Ketchikan, Alaska, Rotarians who helped provide lodging and other assistance on a moment’s notice for the wife of a man injured in an auto accident there.    When Lenore heard of her friend’s accident, she made the cold call (perhaps literally a “cold call” to Alaska) to the Ketchikan club and the response was generous and immediate.  In Lenore’s words, “The power of Rotary” was demonstrated by the 44-member club, which meets Thursdays at 7 a.m.

Tibetan students find ‘second home’ at SFCC

           Highlighting the “international” part of Rotary International, two Tibetan students and one lama made a very good impression at the Aug. 11 luncheon.

           The students, Dawa Jigmed and Tubel Jigmed, described their nomadic upbringing – both were born in tents -- and education in an orphanage in Tibet, and their subsequent journey through schools in Bejing, China, to Spokane Falls Community College.  Some club members recognized Dawa, who was a volunteer helper at the club fund-raiser this spring at the Patsy Clark Mansion.

          Image Tubel Jigmed and Dawa Jigmed   -- The students, friendly and very fluent in English, were accompanied by Lama Leixie Sangbao, vice principal of the Sendruk Takste Traline School in Tibet and Dr. Dexter Amend, retired SFCC  psychology instructor and International Service Learning Coordinator.  Lama Leixie and Amend talked the club in 2011.

        Despite the students’ similar last names, Tubel said, “We are not biologically related, but in spirit we are true brothers.”  He added: “There are thousands of Jigmeds in our country and in our culture we don’t use the family name.”

         Dawa said, “We grew up in the nomadic life.  We moved to different pastures each season.  Life is very simple, but education we need to improve a lot,” he said.

         “In our (orphanage) school, there were not a lot of toys.  Our best activity was playing basketball,” Dawa said.

         “As orphans we were poor, but they gave us knowledge,” Tubel said.  “We are learning things that can help others; I can see that in him.”

         Tubel said the orphanage expanded its elementary school programs by adding a middle school (“like a junior high”) in 2006.  The two studied in Bejing for a year and a half and even established a Tibetan students club before they were selected for the SFCC program.  “We started our journey in America on Sept. 6, 2011,” he said.

        “We want to build (the education program) higher, make it bigger and make it better.  I believe education has the power to change our life,” Tubel said.

          Asked about other “take-backs,” Tubel cited “understanding of diversity and sharing the (cultural) differences.”  Dawa added:  “We learned the value of freedom and of human rights.  And we learned the spirit of helping others, like your club’s activities.”

                Tibetan students for the SFCC international program are chosen for academic excellence and spiritual maturity.  Lama Leixie said the orphanage is co-ed and female students as well as male students may be chosen.

        The two students were asked what surprised them most in Spokane.

        Tubel said “walking in Manito Park.  In China, he said, such parks “are just for display.  No one walks or lies on the grass or walks their dog there.  Here there is a true sense of freedom.”

        Dawa said: “Hugs.  That’s new for me.  In Tibet not until you really know someone.”  Drawing a laugh, he added:  “Now, even I like to hug.”

Ed. Note: Thanks to Jim Minkler for contributing to this report.