Written By: Jenny Liu
Edited By: Anik Ghose
In order for attendees of the 2019 Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) Global Forum to better understand what services Tzu Chi USA has provided to the local communities, volunteers arranged for them to visit various mission locations around the Los Angeles areas. El Monte Service Center is the first stop of this tour. Where Stephen Huang, Executive Director for Tzu Chi Global Volunteers, started his business when he first immigrated to the United States from Taiwan. The El Monte Service Center location is where Dharma and love converge. When visitors enter the front door, they will see a two-story mural, which depicts the country scene of the location from over 100 years ago.
During the tour, the bustling service center was filled with joy and eagerness as more than 30 volunteers were making desserts for the 2019 TIMA Global Forum. Shiu-Ren Fang, a volunteer from Wisconsin, designed and helped baked these delicate sweets for the attendees of the forum. Volunteers used rulers to measure the size of the sesame cookies and Mexican wedding cookies into 1.25” square desserts. It’s with a thoughtful warm heart Tzu Chi volunteers wishes everyone who tastes these delicious treats are completely satisfied.
At the end of the first stop, Ms. Chiuhua Tsu, the wife of Dr. Ming-Nan Lin, Vice Superintendent, Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital, gave everyone a special “Love” charm from Taiwan. The design of this charm combines the Chinese character of “love” with English, the image of a dove representing peace and an infinity sign connected to a heart. The charm symbolizes infinite love and has an interesting back story, as well.
Ms. Tsu works in the Dalin organ donation department. Every year, the hospital organizes a Thanksgiving event to honor the donors. This charm is a gift of gratitude and remembrance. In the hall of Dalin Hospital’s hospice, people can see her work come to life and appreciated. This gift of love will also be passed on to every attendees and volunteers in the forum.
Attendees then arrived at the first Tzu Chi Medical Clinic outside of Taiwan. This clinic used to be a free health service center. Dr. Chin-Lon Lin, CEO of Tzu Chi Medical Foundation recalled the difficulties of starting this service and told many touching stories. One such, in order to save cost, he and his wife personally used typewriters to type up various application forms to apply for licenses and permits; in consideration of the homeless, shower stalls were installed so patients could shower when they came to seek medical service. These memories are still vividly clear to Dr. Lin and his wife.
Finally, the attendees arrived at the Education Campus in Walnut, CA. Chia-Hui Mu, the CEO of the Tzu Chi USA Education Foundation explained how her team implemented Master Cheng Yen’s teachings into the school’s curriculum. The hard work and mindfulness of the educators and volunteers who worked to include humanistic culture into children’s education filled the air in a tumulous glore. Children at the school reciprocated this ideology by welcoming the attendees: “Welcome uncles and aunts to our school. We love you!”
Students of the kindergarten then presented each physician a present, a little stethoscope made by their own little hands. In a sign of respect both the students and physicians bowed down to receive this gift. The physicians then used the stethoscope to make a diagnosis for the children.
This tour showed everyone many touching stories and gave a better understanding of Tzu Chi volunteer’s mindfulness and dedications. Mr. Powen Yen, the CEO, Tzu Chi Charity Foundation, who used to be head of an international technology company, expressed his awe during this tour and said that he has witnessed many miracles and that the Dharma has surpassed science. Dr. Sou-Hsin Chien, MD, Superintendent, Taichung Tzu Chi Hospital was deeply touched by everything he saw during this tour. The hard work and devotion of the overseas volunteers are truly inspiring.