I cannot believe that I have been at Tara Rokpa for a year already. The time has gone so fast. It certainly has been a year filled with trials, tribulations, new experiences and great learning. It has been wonderful meeting interesting people, making friends, learning different cooking methods, getting accustomed to a new landscape, and of course the Buddhist culture.
The centre has been quiet over the winter months (and what a winter it was) with minimal retreats. The TRC staff have been very busy with repairs and maintenance. James Khumalo has headed this task with the help of our housekeeping staff – Kerileng and Mampope (and even our Cook Trish) have become quite adept at sanding and varnishing. Each of the cottages has had a mini facelift with the Brown House on the corner property left waiting for a bush stroke! The hardware store has become my most frequently visited store in town – they know my name! Fame at last – in Zeerust. Oh boy. Any budding carpenters out there? We have a challenge for you here if you are keen to help with advice and guidance.
We are delighted with the change of season, it’s going green! The landscape has changed colour in the last couple of weeks following some good rains. This of course means that our gardens are beginning to show beautiful colours and our vegetable patch is sprouting vegetables for the coming season. You will definitely get homegrown and organic produce on your plate here. There is a certain thrill that you get from harvesting your own vegetables – the crunch and smell are the best.
We hosted a Green Tara Practice weekend on 8 October and it was my first opportunity to spend time with Buddhist monks (apart from Choden in April). It was a delight to have Zangpo and Samten here to lead the practice. As you can see from the photograph alongside they had some downtime too. They were accompanied by Jinpa and Rigzen from Ireland. All four are very busy with the building and renovations at the Kensington Centre.
I need to take this opportunity to thank Ross Simpson and Linda Waner, who attended the retreat, for their donation of prayer flags. Sean and I hung the flags and they definitely have brightened up the gardens. We have also received flags from Lama Yeshe Rinpoche which fly outside our front gate and on the flag pole at the main site.
At the end of October, we hosted Vera and her group of mindfulness practitioners. As well as having her delightful daughter here to volunteer, the retreatants practiced being in the moment, and also enjoyed some self-compassion time out.
Winter is my crocheting time and completed quite a few blankets that will go to a charity in Zeerust, but the one photographed is for my godchild Lilja. I am getting into creating my own designs and I enjoy seeing the results.
And just for a laugh, here is a photograph that was taken of platteland fashion style. It was taken in the middle of winter in Zeerust. Goes to show you gotta be tuff in the countryside, no place for sissies.
Tanja Camacho, Oct 2021