Mama Carms and I went up the mountain to the grassland of Gannan in Gansu to visit our favorite art school. Tenzin and the students at Snowland were so welcoming and eager to have a cross-cultural exchange. And what better way to learn a new culture than through food? Especially when Mama is cooking! She introduced them to pasta with puttanesca sauce, and they enjoyed trying capers for the first time. Another day, she made a rice dish that had peas – they had never seen peas before! Perhaps the most interesting was BBQ. We had a picnic and made Shao Kao skewers – another first for the students. They taught us Tibetan folk songs; we taught them a card game. They shared their artwork with Mama for her review, and I bought anything I could carry home. Aside from being incredibly talented and working so hard at their craft, the students are a family, taking care of each other and their environment. They were warm and generous, with a curiosity that never stopped and a gratitude for Rotary’s presence in their lives. If you have a chance, go. From “Hungry Boy” to Choe, every one of them is special and leaves a brushstroke on your heart. If you can find the time, go… it is a life-changing experience.
Written by PP Rita Malvone