Good morning everyone,
This morning Kamal met me in town and we went to visit a woman and her son who I sponsored last year. At that time I went to her home once but she was not there so met her on the street where she works selling clothes. This time we met her and she took to a different home that she had moved to. It is in the heart of old Kathmandu where the slums seem to be the worst. The stairs were dark and there was a well at the foot of them that was leaking water so it was wet and the stairs very unstable.
When she opened the door and I stepped in, I was shocked and so was Kamal. I have been in so many poor homes but this one in picture on the right had to be the worst yet. It was no more than 3 to 3 1/2 feet wide and about 10 feet long. Containing only a bed, cupboard and small unit for cooking. Nothing else could have fit in. I immediately got a lump in my throat. It was also very dark requiring a light at all times. She told us that her son was not doing well in school because she could not supervise him properly. This was because she had to work from 5pm to 9pm selling clothes on the street as this is the only time it is legal for her to do so. He is now 11 and starting to hang out with street kids. This woman told us she was married at 14 and then her husband married two other woman. She had to leave the village and he took her possessions from her.
In talking with her, it was decided we take the child to the orphanage so he could be safe and get an education. I was fighting back tears the whole time as this boy was the only thing she had but she was willing to give him up for his sake. It was the best decision because she needs him to be able to work to keep her in her old age. I asked her what I could do for her and she said "I need nothing for myself only for my son". This made me feel worse and as much as I wanted to leave and let my emotions free and have a good cry I accepted her hospitality to stay and have tea.
Tomorrow she will bring her son to the orphanage. I have never felt so sad in one these homes as I did in this one. This woman at 35 had had no life and no hope of one to come. We could barely get the four of us in this room. I could not even buy her a little gas range as there was no room for the gas cylinder. She represented one of thousands in this city. I love these women for their courage just to carry on. I do not think I could. Last night I stayed at the Kathmandu Guest House so I could dine with friends and I thought about the 20 dollars I had spent and that it would have paid a months rent and food for this woman. And I did not sleep as well as I do at the shelter. Namaste