Can You Feel A Big Love: Tzu Chi University eco-camp’s invaluable tips

Master Cheng Yen helping the sick.
The following is a report by Taipei Medical University (TMU) International Students on Tzu Chi University’s Eco-awareness Camp. Team leader: Trista di Genova (US); with Olaiya Tunbosun (Nigeria), Van Tuyen Duong (Vietnam), Yudha Nur Patria (Indonesia).

“At the Co-Exist with Mother Earth Eco-Awareness Camp, we learned about some of the forward-thinking initiatives that Tzu Chi University has been undertaking — such as recycling reusing eating utensils as a means of conserving resources, international aid, disaster relief, humanitarian philosophy, promoting vegetarianism — and instilling in us more compassion and appreciation for the amazing world we live in. We networked with 60 students from other countries and shared our experiences and friendship. Let’s do this kind of event at TMU!” – Trista di Genova (USA)

“I think this event is very useful for us, especially for the foreigners. We have a good chance to understand more about the Taiwanese people and country. Furthermore we learn how to protect the environment and right now it is very urgent for us to do things like prevent pollution. We can do some activities like this in our school to promote environment protection. There is other meaningful lesson here, that we can turn theory into attitude and practice. We need to collaborate with other schools and organisations to do it. Then we can create a balance between economic development and protection of our environment.” — Van Tuyen Duong (Vietnam)

“I got so much experience at Eco-camp (Co-exist with mother earth) held at Tzu Chi University. This event surely opened my new sight and exposed me with the real situation that we must do to be aware with the recent condition of our earth. Many disasters, extreme climate changes, and global warming issues are truly facing us at this moment, and for sure human took part in making that situation. One point I want to share here is that please do start with ourselves by reducing the use of plastics, paper bags, and please commit with the Taiwan Government policy in managing rubbish by separating the decayed rubbish and recycled rubbish. Moreover, other important thing that must be taken into consideration is that living in harmony with the environment — water, earth, air and sun — because we need them as human beings, please be respectful to them and say thanks to Who create them and us, that is The Lord Allah.” — Yudha Nur Patria (Indonesia)

“The only note I will like to add is that TMU should have a program of this nature so that we can also share this information with the TMU community and environs. Many thanks.” — Olaiya Tunbosun (Nigeria)

The four-day Eco-awareness camp in Hualien, Feb. 15-18, was an opportunity for 40 international graduate students at a dozen universities around Taiwan to get to know the excellent humanitarian and environmental work carried out by Tzu Chi University and its Buddhist Compassionate Relief Foundation. Also participating in the event in eastern Taiwan were 20 Tzu Chi graduate students, also from many disciplines.

Tzu Chi University in Hualien. Photo: Trista di Genova
About Tzu Chi University

In 1966, Master Cheng Yen established Tzu Chi Buddhist Compassionate Relief Foundation which practices the philosophy of “relieving suffering, giving happiness, helping the poor and educating the rich”, according to their literature. After devoting herself to compassionate relief work for over ten years, she realized that sickness is the root of agony and the mother of poverty. Tzu Chi University was thus established in eastern Taiwan to raise the level of health care, education and to nurture students to do good deeds.

The food was delicious, vegetarian fare. Photo: Trista di Genova
Wednesday, Feb. 15The TMU team was met at the station by Tzu Chi student Leron, who drove us to one of two Tzu Chi campuses, and we were led to our rooms, assigned bags with a bag with reusable bowl, cup, and chopsticks, and ate our first vegetarian meal (as were all meals), although the food was prepared by a restaurant. One suggestion (Trista) was for Tzu Chi Nutrition students to prepare food for participants, making it more special, and an explanation of what the foods were for foreign students new to Taiwan (seaweed, ‘dragon’s beard vegetable’, several types of tofu, fried tarot and sweet potato etc). Games were played to get to know each other.

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