13th of March, 2015
The Following is an article form the Soul Quisine Magazine.
We decided to ask the owners Andrew & Craig to share some of their experiences they have had from their involvement with sponsorship.
Intervier: How many children does the shop sponsor?
Andrew & Craig: We've been sponsoring a child in Guatemala since he was 5, now he's 15. We had another girl in Africa; fortunately her father got a better job and could afford to leave the sponsorship program. We have had another sponsored child in Kenya for about 8 years and we also sponsor a complete Tibetan Monastery of 24 students including their monk teachers. Our sponsorships helps pay for food, clothing, medicine, education and building repairs etc. Plus we have a donation tin on our counter to raise money for luxuries like a solar light and a new toilet, which they purchased from the funds in our last customer donation tin.
Interviewer: You obviously enjoy the sponsorships, have you ever met any of them?
Andrew & Craig: In 2007 we backpacked from Mexico through Belize, onto Guatemala, stopping at Tekal to visit the Mayan Pyramids, then onto Guatemala City. We were met here by the Child fund team and were driven for a couple of hours out to a remote valley community where we met the Guatemalan family we sponsor.
Above: The Guatemalan Family we sponsor.
Above: The Tibetan Monastery that we sponsor.
Andrew & Craig: For many years we have thought they were a Spanish family and even through the letters they wrote to us we had no idea they were Mayan Indians. The mother wore her traditional indigenous clothing and wove us a beautiful piece of Mayan cloth as a gift for us to keep. We had to hire two interpreters, one to speak Spanish and the other to interpret Spanish to the local Mayan dialect. We had a great day together. We were shown around the local village, the school and medical facilities. We took everyone out to lunch at the best local restaurant and had a meal of meat, vegetables, bread and drinks for eight people at a cost of NZ$20 for everyone! We spent the afternoon walking around the village talking and sharing time with a wonderful group of caring people. We were told that very few westerners ever come to the village and we were the only westerners to be in the village that year. Everyone in the village were tiny Mayan Indians and they kept staring at Andrew who is 6ft 2. The first question from our sponsored child to Andrew was "how did you get to be so big?"
We have also been honored to meet His Eminence Beru Khyentse Rinpoche twice.
Visit this link for more information about His Eminence Beru Khyentse Rinpoche.
Andrew & Craig: The first time he came to meet us and blessed our shop with a special Tibetan blessing -may all obstacles be removed from your life path. This is a special blessing bestowed over the shop for all people who enter. The next time he visited was an incredible honor for us to be able to have a meal with a high Lama. I (Andrew) sat next to him and there were several other guests. Imagine having dinner with a high Lama from Tibet, what do you talk about? Well I could not help myself, I just had to ask him if he had ever seen a Yeti, moments later I felt several people kick me from under the table. His eminence had a great sense of humor, and laughed, telling me that they leave food out for them! Tharjay Monastery, Mangchen Province is in a very remote part of Tibet and the Chinese will not let westerners go there. He said it is so remote that few Chinese ever go there either.
Interviewer: Why did you choose to sponsor an entire monastery in Tibet?
Andrew & Craig: Ever since started our business we decided it was important for us to not only earn a living from our business but in some way honour the cycle of properity by giving back. As soon as we were able, we decided to comit to charitable sponsorships and as our business grew we increased the sponsorships. For many years we have had a special interest in Tibet and also sponsored the Windhorse trust. This was a local organization that provided information and support for the Canterbury Buddhist community. A few years ago the director approached us to see if they could advertise in our shops on behalf of the Tharjay Charitable Works Association who were looking for individuals prepared to sponsor the monastery. After discussing it, we decided we could stretch our budget and sponsor the monastery ourselves. It was a little tight at first, but our business prospered and today our sponsorships cover 26 children and teachers. Thank you to all our customers who have generously supported the donation tin on our counter and thank you for being a customer. Your patronage allows us to continue with these sponsorships. If any customer wants to know more about any of the sponsored children, we have a photo album in the shop sent to us by Beru Khyentse Rinpoche, and any one is welcome to have a look.
Interviewer: Do you believe sponsoring children is a worthwhile cause?
Andrew & Craig: We have really enjoyed the experience. Some people have commented to us that the sponsored children don't get all the money. This is true, because it costs money to run any organization, however if you use a reputable program like CCF, they guarantee how much goes to the children. We have had first hand experience and have seen the great work being done in these impoverished communities. The benefits go well beyond the immediate children. Sometimes I feel some people use notions like this as an excuse to do nothing, but I firmly believe if your life can in any way make the world a better place for you having been here, and you can contribute instead of just taking, then your life has had great purpose. Even the smallest things can help like a $1 a day!