by John Aldrich
As a dedicated participant with 20 years of service to the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program, Sarah Sifers has distinguished herself as one of our most senior and distinguished volunteers. She has been a devoted sponsor of her Elder, Jane Biakeddy, as well as a faithful participant in yearly food runs. Sarah's calm judgement and experience make her a highly valued member of every food run team in which she participates.
Indigenous Lenses, which is devoted to helping Tibetan refugees in Nepal. Sarah travels annually in the fall to the Pokhara region of Nepal to help these people with whom she has become very close.
An earthquake in Nepal in the spring of 2015 led to a touching intersection of these two organizations to which Sarah is dedicated. Here is the story in Sarah's words:
In the spring of 2015, Nepal suffered a devastating earthquake. So
Grace Smith Yellowhammer, during the Sanders, Big Mountain and Teesto food
run, asked me to take a bracelet that a Tibetan Rinpoche had given her
to Nepal and to give it to an elder on that side of the world in
the hopes that the prayers in the bracelet would bring peace and
healing to a nation in recovery. When I arrived in
Nepal last fall, I made my way to the Tibetan refugee camp and
gifted the bracelet to Norzin, an elder who has lived in exile from Tibet
since 1959. She is a weaver. She sits on her front porch
and weaves traditional two-sided incense bags...which they fill with ground
juniper. The juniper is then placed on burning embers as an offering
to their deities. In a wonderful synchronicity, and as a giveaway to honor my twentieth year of food runs, Norzin wove enough incense bags
to gift each volunteer who participated in this year's Sanders, Big Mountain and
Teesto food runs with one of those incense bags.
Those of us who were privileged to attend this spring's food run to Sanders, Big Mountain, and Teesto were blessed to receive one of these sashes.
As a gesture of solidarity with Norzin and her people, all of us wore our sashes at the time of the group picture which began our food run at Sanders.