A few short scenes from Jyekundo taken over a period of 10 months after an earthquake leveled the area in April 2010. This city is the the administrative seat of the county of Yushu, to the north of Gebchak Gonpa. Wangdrak Rinpoche was directly involved in rescue efforts.
April: These children are shaken and sad after their parents were killed in the earthquake. Filmed just days after the quake, they are standing in front of the stove that protected them from falling rubble and saved their lives.
Newly orphaned, Wangdrak Rinpoche became their custodian. How? Days after the quake people started coming forward, requesting Rinpoche to take on the orphans. He thought – “I’m a lama and the meaning of my life as a bodhisattva is to help where help is needed. I do what I can to help the Gebchak nuns and that is a lot for me, but here are these kids so destitute, compared to the nuns they’re much worse off. There’s no way I can refuse to help these orphans. I must do the best I can to care for them.”
Over time more orphans grouped around him.
September 2010: Taken from a hillside near Jyekundo town, every blue spot visible is a tent. Thousands of residents continued to live and work in tents during the summer and into the long cold winter of 2010-2011 (temperatures in winter fall below minus 20 degrees Celsius / minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit).
January 2011: Ten months later, Wangdrak Rinpoche is responsible for more than 30 orphans. As the children eagerly open their gifts of books, Rinpoche explains to visitors how the children survived the earthquake. The baby in her mother’s arms on the right was in utero during the quake which killed the father.
Camera: Gebchak Wangdrak Rinpoche & Xiao Han. Edit: CDR. Copyright: Gebchak Gonpa, Tibet, 2011
HELP Rinpoche fulfill his wish to build a small orphanage to keep the children together and provide them with a well-rounded education in a nurturing environment.