Monday, May 23, 2016

Sarah and Norzin's Giveaway

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.

Sarah's Elder, Jane, is home-bound due to a stroke, and for years Sarah has made a special trip to Big Mountain to visit her in her home.

In addition to her dedication to ANE, Sarah has her own non-profit, 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.

Here is a closer view of one of the sashes as worn by Ella White Katoney, our coordinator at Sanders.

We express our deep appreciation to Sarah and Norzin for this gift and for the feeling that the world has thus become a smaller place in which to share a sense of community with others around the globe.