The world of Tzu Chi Nov-Dec 2022 (Vol.144)

2022 • 12 40 By Cecelia GC Ong Abridged and translated by Wu Hsiao-ting & Chong Pei Fen lobal Presence O n April 28, 2022, I arrived in Nepal again from Malaysia, along with three fellow volunteers, Tang Kiat Beng, Ching Chen Hua and Lee Meow Hong. We were there to help with Tzu Chi work. Two days later, we travelled to Lumbini, the Buddha’s birthplace. On May 4, we explored areas in the vicinity of Lumbini Park, taking in the living conditions of local residents. Looking curiously around, we saw cattle on the road, huts with their outer walls coated with cow dung, and village women dressed in colourful saris. We felt as if we had entered a time tunnel and had been immediately transported back to the Buddha’s time. As we were wondering whether the Buddha and his disciples had once crossed the nearby wooded area 2,500 years ago, we suddenly heard volunteer Chuan Yeong Ming, also from Malaysia, cry out, “Look!” Everyone turned towards his voice and saw a little boy covered with dirt, squirming on the floor of a house, trying to reach a nursing bottle with his mouth. Despite his struggles to feed himself, he was not having much success. Kiat Beng, a medical doctor, entered the house. He picked up the nursing bottle, cradled the boy’s head with one hand, and began feeding him the milk. The boy eagerly sucked on the bottle, making a happy “um, um” noise. He was swaying his head and Sharada’s Wish Sharada Harijan, a visually-impaired mother in Nepal, was shy to ask for help from Tzu Chi volunteers. But she said she did have one wish: to send her daughter to school. hands at the same time, as if trying to express his joy and satisfaction at the ease with which he was eating. Dr. Tang said that he had grown up in a rural area and that his family had once kept pigs. The little boy reminded him of how he had once seen newborn piglets, their eyes still closed, trying to reach their mothers’ teats with their mouths to suckle. “This child, lying on the ground like a kitten, working to reach his bottle with his mouth... What dignity does he have?” At this, the doctor became too overcome with emotion to say anything more. That was how we first met Aman, Sharada Harijan’s three-year-old son. Visiting with the family We met other members of the family that day. After talking to them and finding that they were having difficulty getting by, we decided to first help them with food for the month. A few days later, we purchased rice, beans, nuts, cooking oil, salt, sugar and coconut powder at a local store, and packed them all into a large plastic bucket. Then, we all crammed into a small car driven by local volunteer Lilamani Sharma Poudel, nicknamed “Jupiter”, to deliver the goods. Finally, after much bumping and bouncing, a small brick house came into