Indian Mela in Belfast – report by Lynn Carrington
As is our yearly ritual now, Rinpoche’s Centre, Jampa Ling Northern Ireland attended the fabulous annual Indian Mela here in Belfast. It’s a great day outside in the beautiful Botanic Gardens and we have a stall there selling items to raise money for the Elderly Monks in Exile in India (this is a particular project which has been taken on for Rinpoche by Anna and Sarah here for some years now), and also money for the Centre. It’s a very good opportunity for us to meet many people and let them know about Rinpoche’s Centre in the North, Jampa Ling in Cavan and his charitable works in Mongolia.
About 17,000 people attended!! There was superb live (deafening!) music all day, freshly cooked food from all regions, dances from different cultures, acrobats, people on stilts and a procession celebrating all the different peoples living in N. Ireland, and included the Lord Mayor of Belfast. There were Chinese dragons, Irish dancers, Indian dancers and lots more. We were all astounded by a young man spinning on top of a pole on his stomach!!!
It’s a long day’s work for us, lots of planning and then we were at the grounds from 6.20 am setting up. We fly a big Tibetan Flag above our stall – this requires someone brave and with a good head, to balance on wobbly steps and hoist it aloft on Rinpoche’s student Sam’s tent poles! We were delighted this year to have our dearest friends Ani-la, Younam and Des with us. There was much laughter and shouting in order to be heard over the brilliant but hugely loud music!
So many of Rinpoche’s students contribute to this event, planning, donating funds, donating a fabulous Hamper for the raffle, printing out loads of raffle tickets and hundreds of Programmes, sourcing items to sell for the Elderly Monks, keeping our shop well stocked so we can sell from there too, Jampa Ling Cavan shop sharing some stock with us, setting up, cheering everyone along, running for coffees, handing out leaflets about both Rinpoche’s Centres and Mongolia, manning the stall, delivering the hamper to the winner, packing up and next day doing a massive sort out at the Centre. (we are all so exhausted at the end of the day that everything is bundled together in a heap in bags and left at the Centre while we go home to sleep!!).
Many, many thanks to everyone who helped either on the day itself or by sorting things out beforehand or indeed were happy to wear the fantastic Mongolian hats- you all know who you are! It would not happen without you. Best of all it’s a fun, happy and joyful day shared by Rinpoche’s students and we can feel we are helping to fulfil our Precious Lama’s wishes in benefiting people.