Volume 75
Number 1

The Classes

Beyond the Basics
A message from AEA Executive Director Bob Carpenter

Six weeks in Tibet

Reflection on tradition

Charter Day redux

Eugene Williams Jr. '91C

Where Eagles have landed

Why do Voles Fall in Love?

The Once and Future Mummy Museum

Got bluemilk?

Pop Culture






Six weeks in Tibet
Scott Davis ’92C

NOTHING SCOTT DAVIS '92C had encountered since graduating from Emory College prepared him for Tibet. Not the field work studying grizzly bears in Wyoming or marine biology research in the Caribbean, Indonesia, and Micronesia.

Last summer, while tracking shark migration off the American West Coast, Davis, who is pursuing a master’s degree in marine biology at the University of California at Santa Cruz, signed on for a six-week medical relief project with the non-profit, San Francisco–based Tibet Child Nutrition Health Project, which brought a quarter of a million dollars worth of antibiotics, vitamins, aspirin, blood-pressure medications, and other basic medical supplies into remote areas.

"The [Tibetan] villages are very rural, tough places to get to, a lot like frontier towns or outposts, with no running water, no sanitation, very little electricity. Virtually nothing gets to them in terms of health care," Davis says.

The relief effort faced political as well as geographical obstacles, including the presence of the occupying Chinese government. Escorts were present at all times, travel permits were required before every foray into individual villages, and Davis and his team were strictly forbidden from even mentioning the name of the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people.

The Tibetan people were "amazing and incredibly warm. They would rush to hold your hand."

But Davis says he was always heartened by the receptiveness of the Tibetan villagers.

"Generally speaking they were amazing, incredibly warm. They would rush to hold your hand and want to touch you. The people would come out in droves and line up for hundreds of feet waiting all day just to be seen."

Davis was equally struck by the relative contrast, and comforts, of the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, where even Western pop culture has made inroads. More than once, children ran up to the blond-haired, blue-eyed Davis yelling "Brad Pitt! Brad Pitt!," he says, a testament to bootlegged copies of the recent film Seven Years in Tibet.

Davis also toured Buddhist shrines and scaled an eighteen-thousand-foot section of Mount Everest. But his most lasting memories remain with the Tibetan villagers.

"It’s a pretty emotional trip, and living under those conditions you just couldn’t help but feel the stress they’re under."


The blond-haired Davis, shown here with a Tibetan monk, was frequently mistaken for Brad Pitt, star of the film Seven Years in Tibet.

For Davis, that instilled a sense of purpose into the trip, one he plans to repeat this summer by spending eight or nine weeks in Tibet.— G.F.


Top: While volunteering with the Tibet Child Nutrition Health Project, Scott Davis ’92C took time to scale an eighteen-thousand-foot section of Mount Everest.




©1999 Emory University