Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Brothers who share only a few words

Guest author: Craig Gilbert

Durga Dulal and Craig Gilbert wearing
a topi hat and Durga's scarf

To the Bhutanese community, Thank you for the recent "Thank you" party for Atlanta Bhutanese Refugee Support Group volunteers. It was very powerful to me.

At the party, I was honored to be given a beautiful kudzu basket and a topi, a type of hat popular in Nepal. Topis come in many in different colors and patterns, and I find them all striking.

And then, Durga Dulal stepped forward and placed his scarf on my neck. It brought me to tears. How can I take from someone with nothing? It was like giving the shirt off his back. I could not take it, but now it is mine.

He wore and used that scarf; it kept him warm all winter. I always believed it to be something that someone gave as charity. Its bright Day-Glo pink does not go with anything, and its origins seemed obvious: something that someone had to get rid of.

He, too, was full of emotion. We used napkins to wipe our eyes and blow our noses. We were not embarrassed crying. It turns out that the scarf is from Nepal, and he brought it with him to America. It is now in my house, and if my house were to catch on fire, Durga's scarf would be among the first things I would save.

Durga Dulal is a leader. He impressed our kudzu basket-making teacher when he used his bare feet to turn and hold the baskets as he was weaving. He has been weaving baskets since he was twelve, and now he is my age: 54.

After four months of going together to farmers’ markets, artist markets, Christmas markets, and stores; relying on each other; problem solving; and working together, Durga Dulal is a brother. We know each other though there are only a few words we share.

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