An Old Woman in a Refugee Camp

In the back of a monastery behind the main shrine room in a Tibetan refugee camp in Chorepatan, Nepal, an old woman attends the butter lamps. People come throughout the day to light these candles in prayer, and they must be watched over to keep the mice from eating them and to clean and change them when they are finished.

At the gate of the monastery, monks sit discussing the latest news. There are new rumors that they might be able to move to the United States, not an easy thing since no one has a passport or any sort of documentation. Around the camp, it is nearing supper time; people are closing their small shops, returning to their homes, stoking cooking fires and sharing their day and the news with one another.

This woman will simply sit here all night, praying and watching over other people's prayers. That seems to me to be more productive.


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