After her epic journey from Ireland to India by bicycle in 1963, Dervla Murphy immersed herself in the life of the sub-continent, working for six months in an orphanage for Tibetan children in Northern India. She fell in love with the 'Tiblets' - the cheerful, uncomplaining, independent and affectionate children of the new Tibet-in-exile - but she also managed to explore India's Tibetan frontier, leaving the reader panting in her wake. Alongside her enchantment, Dervla became a perceptive witness to the realities of aid work: the corruption, smug piety and power struggles of the bureaucrats, and the dangerous, long-term side effects on the recipients - cultural enfeeblement and dependency. Tibetan Foothold not only confirmed Dervla's status as a traveller, but also revealed her to be a truly independent voice and an acute observer of politics and society.
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