Dhawa Lama

The story of a little boy - a great hero, from the DSL monastery school in Nepal

"During the time, they (Dhawa's parents) were building their new home, they had to stay with their
retinue. And one early morning his mother went to his new home to see it leaving 9 months baby
with his sister. Suddenly, his mother heard his sister crying and then rushed to see the situation.
unfortunately, Dhawa was already caught by the fire.
(In the village, the room consists of a kitchen and bedroom )
Dhawa's parent was afraid of the situation and they immediately took him to Kathmandu for
medication without resting day and night. It took them 4 days to reach the hospital. Sad moment is
Dhawa couldn't get treatment in time so the burn part was got worst.
First, they went to Kanti Bal hospital ( children hospital ) stayed there till 3 months but the result was
not satisfied so they moved to Sushma memorial Hospital for better treatment but unluckily only his
wounds recovered. In winter of 2012 he joined DSL monastery with the help of Khenpo Lakpa Tsering
who has deep devotion towards Lama Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche.
Relationship of Khenpo Lakpa Tsering is Dhawa's great-uncle."

 Every country is beautiful and exceptional in its own way. You can feel it especially when you

1) visit what we call power places, the sacred places that are full of blessing, where many accomplished yogis of the past meditated. These places are full of power, full of energy that fills your whole being. You can feel something stirring inside you…

…and 2) when you meet local people who live there and who are special. Like for example highly realized Lama Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche, the founder of the Nala monastery outside Kathmandu. You come to this monastery, by accident (but we know that nothing happens just by accident), you meet about a hundred beautiful beings – totally joyful kids and then… your eyes rest on one of them and it initiates some kind of programme of compassion and help…and from that moment on, you are driven by some engine. “I have to help him! What shall we do? We will think of something!” And so we began to act. It was the beginning of a long journey of little Dhawa, who had an accident as a baby, fell into the fire, burnt his head and face and lost fingers on his right hand. Even we could see that it wasn’t just a cosmetic problem. Without a solution he could also lose his sight.

We got in touch with monastery’s khenpo – a lama who wisely and diligently looks after all boys in the monastic school, in a way he is like their father, a big lama.

We spoke to him about Dhawa and listened to the story of his family. Dhawa has both parents, which is quite exceptional among the kids there, but he is from the poorest class and from a far-away area in the mountains. We listened to how after the accident they transported little Dhawa to the first “hospital” and it too them three days to get him there. He was in pain, losing consciousness…but he survived. He himself likes to say laughing: “I am Ghurka. Ghurkas are strong!!!” Yes, he is unbelievably strong…

We wondered what we could do. We offered we would explore possibilities of plastic surgeries in the Czech Republic …

Once again, we could see how things work…Khenpola was quite enthusiastic. He told us he had already begun to plan some help for Dhawa, at some Indian clinic…All fitted in beautifully.

And there was another piece of good news. Our endowment fund was selected as a beneficiary in the MEDEVAC programme of support of the Czech Interior Ministry. This humanitarian aid programme focuses on providing medical care to vulnerable individuals.

This brought us together with another incredible person – dr. Filip Burget, who was later sent out to Nala monastery in Nepal with us to teach local monks first aid and care for the injured. The nearest hospital was more than an hour’s drive away from the monastery, so that such skills were of vital importance.

During dr. Filip’s visit, a first-aid room was established and equipped. When dr. Filip looked at Dhawa, he agreed that without a plastic surgery Dhawa could lose his sight in future.

All was clear and the conditions were favourable. We began to plan. Lama Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche gave us blessing and expressed his joy at such an opportunity for Dhawa…

When we returned home, the whole process picked up speed.

Dr. Filip knew of another „bodhisattva in action“ – a respected prominent plastic surgeon, a chief doctor of the Yes Visage clinic – Martin Molitor, M.D., who repeatedly went on humanitarian missions in Sierra Leone, where he did reconstructive and hand surgeries, in other words – he was our man J.

Our idea and vision looked good to him. He agreed he would operate Dhawa on his clinic AND he said he would do it for free!

Prvnínávštěva kliniky - MUDr. Martin Molitor, Ph.D., Dhawa Lama, Sonam Lama, Puja Lama

After preparing all necessary documents, getting Dhawa’s parents‘ approval and arranging the visa, Dhawa arrived at Prague, that was in early February 2017, together with Lama Sonam, who was to accompany him, look after him and continue with his study programme (meditation, pujas, lessons… sticking to the monastic rules is very important when you have 130 children living in one place, as in Dhawa’s monastic school J ).

At first Sonam also helped overcoming the language barrier, as Dhawa spoke Nepalese and knew very little English at the time.

 

Plastic surgery – phase 1:

 

First operation took place on February 28, under general anaesthesia – four pieces of tissue expanders were inserted under Dhawa’s skin. There were no complications.

We all anxiously expected Dhawa’s return from the operation theatre … Now I know what it means to have a high pain threshold! Dhawa quickly regained consciousness and immediately tried to communicate with us. Hi didn’t complain. In fact, I don’t remember him complaining at all during his stay at the clinic… He was incredibly strong! It helped a lot that Lama Sonam could be there with him. He was like an older brother…

The whole medical team at Yes Visage, led by “our” dr. Molitor, was totally professional, compassionate and kind. Everyone got to like the boys from Nepal and wanted to look after them.

 

 During the following six months, the expanders were gradually blown-up, increasing the size, tightening and stretching the skin to stimulate the skin growth. We wanted to protect Dhawa from the world full of people who stared at his strange, deformed shape of the head…But Dhawa was totally on top of it. So natural. When it wasn’t his day, he just pulled up the hood we had sown on several of his t-shirts and jumpers, and hid underneath it.

 

The second part of the intervention took place on August 2, 2017, under general anaesthesia again. The expanders were taken out and the new skin was used to replace the burnt parts.

All went well again and Dhawa put up with it wonderfully. If he felt any pain, he didn’t show it. After two days he was released from the clinic with a bundle of plasters and potions. Only the scars and stitches reminded us of the surgery. Otherwise he was very lively and active and acted as a normal healthy boy. We just had to follow certain recommendations of the doctors…

 

At the last check-up at Yes Visage, before flying back to Nepal in December 2017, dr. Molitor suggested it would be good to repeat the whole process once more, in about a year’s time. It would allow him to complete the reconstruction of the remaining part of the hair area, for which there was not enough new skin this time.

We were astonished by Dhawa’s response, when we told him the news. Without hesitation, perhaps even happily, he said: “Of course” and that he wanted to come again.

It was an interesting time. Tuning in the two completely different worlds, with very different view of what is important and what isn’t. It was real development and we were grateful for it!!!

During that half a year of our life together, we got used to our friends from the East. Saying good-bye was not easy, but we knew we would meet again, no later than in one year’s time.

When, in the meantime, we went to Nepal, our steps lead inevitably to Nala. There was that strange distance again when we met with Dhawa... We understood that this was the eastern Dhawa, Dhawa in the monastery who was different of course…he was at home, among his friends. We felt this integrity of the monastic community, monastic life and didn’t want to interfere...

 Dhawa’s next visit to the Czech Republic was planned for the 16h of January 2019, closely followed by the date of the next operation. This had to be changed because Dhawa had caught some virus probably already in Nepal, where it is quite cold at this time of the year. In a week’s time he was well again and could sign up at the clinic for the second phase of his treatment.

 

Plastic surgery – phase 2:

 

The insertion of expanders took place on the 30th of January 2019.

 

 All went exactly as the first time. Or maybe even better, because Dhawa was older and knew what was ahead of him... This time he arrived with another “buddy”, Lama Kunkhen, someone we will remember for his unbelievable compassion, gentleness and hard work. For me, he is the real person of the East. He radiates peace, Dharma, blessing…When you are with him, nothing seems to be a problem, all just flows naturally, supported by the universe…  Not once did he complain in that year, nothing was ever a problem for him…Something unimaginable for us westerners!!!

 

The second phase took almost a year and during that time we all, together with our own families and friends, enjoyed great moments with Dhawa and Kunkhen. We were a family…We learned from each other…and all went well, fast and without obstacles… We felt how much we influence each other, in the best meaning of the word. Kunkhen has taught us a lot about Buddhist traditions and meditation…We tried to spend time with them but also give them some time on their own, so that they could feel free and live independently as if they were at home, and it needs to be said that they handled it really well!

In August, Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche with Ani Tenzin and Kamsung (Kunkhen and Dhawa’s friend from the monastery) came to the Czech Republic. It was so nice to see this meeting…how the monks hold Rinpoche in deep respect. During Rinpoche’s visit, we organized a book signing event in relation to the publication of the first book our new publishing house issued – Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche’s book titled Buddha of Compassion, explaining the meditation on Chenrezig. It was wonderful that Kunkhen and Dhawa could be there. They helped us preparing the whole event, which took place at the Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia in Prague.

 

Dhawa and Kunkhen had visa until the end of the year, so we promised to show them real traditional Czech Christmas. They had no idea what to expect, but they looked forward to it😉

 

Dhawa’s recovery was swift again, the wounds healed well, so dr. Molitor agreed that he would be sufficient to have the last check-up at the end of December, before his flight home.

To make Christmas absolutely perfect, we went to my parents, who live in Bozi Dar…Where else can you experience better Christmass than at your mum’s? J Even our Nepali boys called my parents „babichka and deda“. And we had one more cherry on the Christmas cake – the Christmas was white, only for two days, but for the right two days, so that the boys could enjoy the snow…just perfect!!!

 

Then there was a „big-packing“ time after one year’s stay J…and on the 29th of December, the boys left…It was quite emotional… wet eyes…BUT we know that these boys will remain in our hearts forever!!!

 

We remain in touch with Kunkhen, and other monks, and follow Dhawa’s healing and progress…Let’s see what else might come our way …

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