Hopkinsville Community College (HCC) Religion Professor Dr. Ken Casey will be taking 11 people with him on Friday for a study abroad experience in India. The group’s homebase will be in Dharamsala, India at the foothills of the Himalayas, but they will also be traveling throughout the region. The trip will last from June 29 through July 21.
The backbone of the trip, built upon the idea of compassionate tourism, is structured around a service learning project through Lha Charitable Trust, a Tibetan run social work agency. Group members will each be paired with an adult Tibetan Refugee, enrolled in Lha’s school, for a mutual learning experience each morning while in Dharamsala. Participants will teach conversational English skills as they learn about Tibetan culture and life. “The Refugees who cross the board from China need English to get around India,” explains Dr. Casey. “English teachers, especially those who are native speaking, are prized for their knowledge.”
Afternoons and side trips will be spent with, Tsering Phuntsok, a practicing Buddhist monk for more than 23 years who has visited Hopkinsville and western Kentucky giving lectures for a month over the last three years. He will introduce the group to Tibetan religion, culture and the natural beauty in the region. A visit with award winning author of “The Voice that Remembers” Ama Adhe is planned. Ms. Adhe’s tenacious struggle to remain human in the face of inhuman torture and deprivation while imprisoned by the Chinese for 27 years inspires those who visit with her, and she now works in helping refugees settle in Dharamsala. Visits with monks, nuns, hermits, thankha painters and outings to temples and monasteries are also planned. Participants will also visit the Holy Lake and hike in the Himalayas. It is possible that participants will also be able to hear the Dalai Lama, who gives public teachings on regular intervals in the town.