Adam’s Year in India: Heeding the Call of Children in Need

Adam Johnson at the Jhamste Gatsal Children’s Community

On Thursday, April 18, while walking home from a yoga class, I passed by Adam Johnson, who like me is a member of Self-Realization Fellowship. I didn’t know Adam well, but had spoken to him briefly a few times. He was talking to a friend so I nodded and waved as I walked by. A few seconds later, Adam called out my name and walked over to talk. He looked happier than I had ever seen him. He gave me a business card highlighted with the words Jhamtse Gatsal Children’s Community and said that he was leaving the next day for India to volunteer teach at a children’s school for the next year. He would be chronicling his experiences in a blog, and asked if I’d look at it and give him some feedback. I said I’d be happy to and wished him luck.

A few days later, I watched the above video on the community’s website and was deeply moved by what I saw. What Adam is doing is incredible, dedicating a year of his life to helping poverty-stricken children half way across the world. Then again, I suspect Adam will be benefitting as much as or more than the children he will be helping. I was glad that I ran into Adam on the eve of his trip. In support of Adam and the Jhamtse Gatsal Children’s Community, I am presenting excerpts from the first few entries on Adam’s blog.

Click here to read Adam’s blog, Nanu Helper.

Click here to make a donation to Jhamste Gastal Children’s Community.


There is a need. We have known about communities around the world lacking water, food, shelter and education. The crisis has been ignored long enough. The time has come for all of us to answer the call and do our part. That is why Nanu Helper has been created. Nanu means small in Hindi. We will be the small helpers that together will make a collective difference.

My name is Adam Johnson and I am going to be a volunteer teacher at Jhamtse Gatsal Children’s Community in Arunachal Pradesh, India for one year beginning late April.

Posted April 21, 2012

After traveling through the various airports and arriving in Guwahati I was greeted by Teke. He is one of the management staff. He has been here since the beginning of Jhamtse Gatsal. We traveled for a few hours by car to a hotel to stay for the night. We awoke at 3:30 am and on the road again by 4:00. Driving for 12 hours we come upon a landslide that kept us from our destination. We then went to Tawang and stayed at a hotel there for the night to return the next day to the location of the landslide to await the clearing of the rocks. Once it was cleared we were on the way to Jhamtse Gatsal. Upon arrival I was greeted by the entire staff and all of the children standing in line to greet me with beautiful gestures of welcome and kindness. Conversation, food and a grand tour of the place followed. I am sorry to have written events as they happened and not the emotion that was attached to them, but I’m tired and just wanted to fill you in on what has transpired and to let all who may be reading this know that I am safe and happy.

The view from the edge of the Jhamste Gatsal Children's Community

Posted April 26, 2012

So, I’m an English teacher. I teach 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th. Each class is 35 minutes long. I first thought that I wanted to share every moment via this website, but now I find myself thinking that the interactions I have with the children are personal and private. Simply amazing are the times we share. They are so interested in learning. We begin each class with a two minute meditation and finish with a two minute meditation, except for the 8th grade which wants the meditation to be five and five. I had no idea how moved I would be by their interest in the idea to begin class with a moment of silent breathing. Developing the lesson plan is of course a challenge due to my lack of training, but I’m learning fast. Today I managed to hold the attention of every class and moved smoothly through the classes. :)

Aside from school there is time to play games. Hackysack is the game all the children love. There are many other games as well, but I don’t understand how to play them yet…lol

The mornings start at 5:00 with getting dressed and ready for the day, then 5:30 to 6:30 is morning walk, exercise and prayer time, 6:30 to 7:30 is breakfast, 9 – 1 is spent covering the subjects of math, science, social studies, tibetan, hindi, and english followed by lunch from 1:30 to 2:30, then arts and music classes, then evening meal from 6:30 to 7:30, there is free time in between for the children. The entire day is very well organized and EVERYONE is involved and happy to do their part. The days go by so quickly.

Today we were praying for two people with whom the staff are connected as well as all those who need love and positive energy. The entire community spent 30 minutes reciting two Buddhists Sutras which took us 30 minutes to complete. The love and sincerity off all involved was tangible. I feel so blessed to have been a part of sending healing energy into the hearts of all those in need.

We will be taking a trip to Tawang Monastery within the next two weeks. That is something I am looking very much forward to.

The food is limited in selection but very well prepared, the shower is cold water only (but you can get hot water for bath), the bed is not my serta sleeper, but comfortable…, I hand wash my clothes and dry on a line, its cold at night and warm during the day, rains every evening…, I absolutely love the entire experience…. I’m alive and fully in my body, engaged in life and working with the community.

I may never leave. :)

Talk to you all again soon, my love goes out to all.

I bow before you, Adam, as you follow your heart and contribute compassion, love and peace to the world.

Adam Johnson (far left, second row from the back) with students and staff at the Jhamste Gatsal Children’s Community


Arunachal Pradesh, a state in northeastern India, has fifteen districts and is called “Land of the Rising Sun.” The literary meaning of the “Land of the Rising Sun” is “the land of the dawn lit mountains.” The state has its capital in Itanagar, which is also its largest city. The state, known for its natural beauty, is backed by a strong agricultural economy: pulses, sugarcane, rice, wheat, maize being its main crops. It has a considerable amount of forest cover, which ensures that forest products also contribute to its economy.

Covering an area of 83,743 sq km, Arunachal Pradesh extends from the snow-covered Himalayas to the Brahmaputra plains. Lying at the country’s northeastern tip, the state is surrounded by Tibet in the north and northeast, Bhutan in the west and Assam and Nagaland in the south. The Himalayan range, besides the Himalayan foothills and Patkai hills, covers the majority of the state.


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SiSe_fullcover_final.inddPhil is the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.

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Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.

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