The Tables Story by Mary Kitchen

Back in the summer of 2009 my husband, Guy, and I signed on to go with a TCEF service group to India for their February-March 2010 trip to help the Tibetan refugees in northern India. Guy never planned on taking a trip to India until one day when he happened to see pictures of how the Tibetans and other people in the Himalayan mountains of Sikkim were living in such difficult conditions. He turned to me and said “I can fix that”. He was referring to leaking metal roofs on the small metal homes that housed the families. The rest is history!

He began his service work at Dubdi Monastery in Yuksom, by working with the cook, gardener, several other volunteers and with our TCEF service group. By sharing his talents and building a picnic table he enabled the little monks to sit in a dry place to eat their meals instead of on the cold wet ground.

The second picnic table was built by the older students at the Sukhavati Hostel in Phadamchen, under Guy’s supervision. It was hard to tell who had the most fun, the “students” or the “carpentry instructor”! Guy was clearly the most popular person on the service trip. All the boys were involved ,even the young one’s stayed near hoping to be asked to get a nail or piece of wood. The girls were invited even encouraged but just giggled their NO Thank you.
The third and final table was built with Guy’s instruction at Kytseling Hostel by the senior students there as well. The boys dedicated their 2 days off from school to build the table. Immediately upon it’s completion it was put to use .They painted it blue and it is used by many students to read and do homework out in the courtyard. Who knew that building tables could possibly be SO MUCH FUN!? A wonderful talent shared with many
Thank you GUY!!!

Upon returning to the Sukhavati Hostel in February of 2012, we were all amazed and pleased to see that the students had used the same design to build another table by themselves. The one difference was that the young carpenters had improved on the old design by adding more seating capacity than the original table. The students were
extremely proud to show off their newly designed table to their first instructor who was equally proud of them!
In 2012 under Guy’s supervision the students made 3 lovely functional bookcases. Thanks to Guy there is a budding carpentry program at Sukhavati Hostel.

Mary Kitchen, Marysville, MT