As I sat outside the Sera Monastery in Lhasa, Tibet, waiting for my group to complete their tour, I had a fun experience with several Tibetan folks.
First, 3 young women sat on the bench with me. They were fun and seemed very happy and interested in what I was doing. I tried talking to them but they didn’t know English and I knew no Tibetan, so I tried drawing images to communicate with them. First, I wrote my name, repeated it and pointed to myself. Then I drew a house and wrote USA then America. They seemed to understand both of these attempts. At that point we had reached the end of our introductions so I tried to get them to learn to count to 10 in English….I wrote that down, too. After we worked with that for a few minutes, one of the women wrote their names and the numbers to 10 in Tibetan and tried to teach me. All in all it was fun to interact with them and when they left I had a feeling of having been able to connect with them.
While this was going on, a young Tibetan man was watching us. When the women left he came over and sat with me. I showed him a few of the drawings that I was doing and encouraged him, using pantomime, to try drawing. He did! He drew a tree and started drawing the mountains when we were interrupted by my group exiting from the monastery. I had to join them and waved good bye to my new friend. Art really does make the world a better place….we were able to communicate because of it.