Sunday, February 25, 2007

Kevin a big hit amongst the children at shelter.

Everything going well with Kevin. He has gone to see the temples with Kamal today. Yesterday he spent the day at the shelter and in the afternoon we went for a long walk through the fields around here. The sun was warm and reflecting the yellow of the mustard fields and it was all very beautiful. It gave Kevin a taste of the Nepali countryside.

Tonight he is going to stay in my room here and I will stay in his at the hotel. He loves spending time here and he will spend another night here on Friday. He is great with the children and wishes he could talk their language. He is enjoying riding on the back of the motorbike with Kamal. Tomorrow we are going to take him to the village of Hattiban where we have several children sponsored. It is a typical Nepali village so good for him to see.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Another sponsor with enjoyable visit with children

Kevin from Calgary arrived yesterday and today I took him to two schools which we toured. I took him to two families homes and to the SBCH shelter. He said so many times today that he is overwhelmed. He wanted to take the local bus which we did and I took him through old Kathmandu. He loves the children and played games with them at the orphanage. I was so happy to see him taking everything in and appreciating all that he saw. He thought Kamal was amazing and was impressed at how good he is with the children. He was so surprised at how much the children enjoyed seeing him and wants to spend a whole day playing with them when they are off school. It is gratifying being able to show someone from Canada all that we do here. Tomorrow we are going to see his sponsored child and her school.

This next photo is of a man selling fish that I picked up on my morning run saying what I thought was "Peace" and I said peace back but what he really was saying was "feech, feech" (fish, fish) I took him home with me and we bought a big feech which he then cut up and scaled for us. The children were very excited and thanked me for the fish. I was surprised at this, as in the west would children thank you for bringing home the dinner? It was a touching moment. There are so many of these cherished moments here.

This photo on left is of Moti. Moti is a wonderful young woman who helps us in Pokhara, and who does a lot of volunteer work for us. She supervises the children, helps with studies and keeps us updated on how they are doing. She also helps us pick the most needy children. She told me she always wanted to help poor children but financially cannot but through us she is able to fulfill her wish. Her help in invaluable.

Other's who help at the orphanage are of course Kamal and Samjhana shown here with their baby Milan, Jagat who is long time friend of Susan and who has helped her from the very start of the sponsoring and then we have Sima, another wonderful young lady who does very good and hard work at the orphange. She does cooking, cleaning, and spends time teaching the children with their home work.

We did buy the two sewing machines for our sewing classes and we have a teacher who will be teaching two hours per day for 6 days a week. She is only charging 1500 per month about $25. We are starting with Uma, Saku and Mina. I think this will really be a good thing. Now we have to get some fabric and supplies. Lara is sending some sewing supplies with Bob. I used her money for the machines and she is really pleased about that. Another 6 weeks to go and lots of work to accomplish to get the sewing class project off the ground before I get back in April. Namaste everyone.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Pokhara visit very rewarding.

Pokhara was a very rewarding time for us although very busy and long days. We are working in a very poor area like a refugee camp for poor people from villages. There were many sad cases here. The lady who was supposed to have been burned from cooking actually tried to kill herself by burning herself to death. Fortunately her husband awoke and saved her. We sponsored her little girl and bought them a two burner gas stove. Another little girl we sponsored her father was drunk and arrested by the Moaists some months ago and has not been seen since. We had long discussions here about who we should help.

A young lady named Moti helps us here. She told me she wanted to help poor children but could not afford to herself but by helping us she is fulfilling her wish. One boy aged 12 we met at the school had no school uniform or shoes. He was the only child in school without a uniform. He made himself known to us than then followed us for two days. We asked him into Moti's home and asked about his life. He had no parents and stayed with a man who was dumb and this is where he got his only meal of the day. He had recently returned to school and we told him if he would continue to go to school we would buy him his uniform which we did. To see this boy getting his new shoes was quite something. He was anxious as to when his uniform would be ready. We phoned last night and he will pick it up today. I am going to return to Pokhara again before I leave to see these children again and to see Sunil in his uniform.

Kamal and I both found this boy to be quite special and his persistance paid off. Susmita who I told you about recently had a very bad skin problem on her arms and legs. We gave the mother money to go to a doctor which she did the next day and she now is being treated with medication and returns to the doctor in a couple of weeks. Her mother was very concerned about this and now hopefully the problem will be cured.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A bright shining child's face stands out in a crowd of many

We are till in Pokhara today and have had two very full days so far here. The community we are working in is very poor. A lovely girl named Moti is working for us here and doing a good job. The Principal of the private school also very good and he just took us all out for supper.

A Little Girl named Sasmita

Sometimes a child shines in a crowd and this was the case with Sasmita. I was at the government school looking for one or two little girls. There were many children crowded around us but one little girl stood out from the rest. My eyes kept coming back to her. She was very poor, in ragged clothes, dirty and her shoes were broken, but her face was bright and alive. The children did not know what I was doing but I am sure Sasmita did. She is only 5 or 6 but very bright. I took her aside and we asked her about her family and then I asked the teacher about her. I was told she was a bright student but had no notebooks as her mother could not afford them. Her father left the mother to marry another woman and Sasmita has one older brother. She eagerly took us to her home to meet her mother. I was going to sponsor her for government school but changed my mind and gave her one of the private school sponsors.

When we told her we were going to put her into private school she giggled with delight. We borrowed a motorbike and took her shopping for school uniform, shoes etc. I also bought her a barbie type doll for 20 rupees. She put that in her bag and when she got home it was the first thing she pulled out and her smile lit up her face. This little girl must have good karma and that attracted her today to having her future changed. Something made her stand out today and she made me feel awfully good.

Another little girl we sponsored was in private school but her father could no longer keep her there as his wife has suffered very bad burns when her clothes caught on fire while cooking with kerosene. She came home from hospital today after many months and we went to visit her. She took off her clothes to her waist and showed us her exensive burns. I thought..... is it not enough to be so poor and then to suffer this also. She could only move very slowly. They lived in a tiny room that the father kept very neat and clean. The father worked in a stone quarry. They now have a large loan to pay the medical bills. I thought maybe tomorrow we would have a day off but I know Kamal wants to go back and make sure Sasmita gets her uniform picked up.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Across the world....A special Moment Shared

When the day starts out here I never know whether I will encounter more sadness or have a special moment. Yesterday the latter happened. We left for Pokhara early in the morning and travelled 7 hours to the town of Dulaguada. It was a dismal place and made more so by the rain. It was nothing but dilapidated buildings and mud. We have three children sponsored here. After tea at Kamal's in-laws place we went to the school which surprisingly was not too bad. I visited class 8 where we had two children. There were 77 children in that class and the teacher told me that it is hard to teach that many. No unions, pensions or benefits here. Poor pay also.

We then went to Dolma's home. Dolma is 15 and lost her mother last year in a stone quarrey accident. Her father then left her and her brother is a street child but she does not know where. She has lived alone for most of the last year until recently a lady, Menu took her in to live with her. I gave Dolma an envelope from her sponsor. In it was a letter, card and two photos. I took the letter and read it to her with Kamal translating. The letter was beautiful, truly written from the heart. As I read I got a lump in my throat as it expressed love, praise and friendship. The letter was 3 pages long, there was a card with the sponsor's art work on the front and two photos. Dolma and three other women all listened in silence except for Dolma's emotional sniffing.

This letter also contained illustrations that Dolma could relate to. A young lady in Duncan touched the heart of a poor young woman in Nepal who has no family of her own and made her feel special and loved. In that dismal room, the sun came out as two young women were linked together and the world was a smaller place. Dolma placed the items back in the cellophane wrapper and I know they will be treasured items forever. Kamal said after that he was so touched and that in our work we need moments like these to keep us going. How true were his words. I asked Dolma if she would speak to her sponsor on film and she did so eagerly expressing her gratitude. I was only the messenger here, but I was truly priviledged to be there and to share that experience. My heartfelt thanks to the sponsor.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Onwards to Pokhara to visit families,

We leave for Pokhara in the morning at 7am so we are staying at the Meditation Centre tonight as it is cheaper than taking a taxi in here. We are going on the cheapest tourist bus. Takes 6 to 7 hours. We have some families sponsored there who I have not met yet and also may match some children there. Kamal knows them all. The Puns, Dolma chetri and Rubin and Puspa Thapa are there. We will be gone four days. I have photos of the ceremoney which I will send when I get back. I have photos of all of the children we sponsor. So when I get back we can share those.

Ran 1 hr. 50 min this morning on a very rough country trail through the terraced fields all so green with fields of mustard interspersed, very lovely but the trail is quite precarious. Just finished 1 hr 30 min yoga class, so good job I am resting on a bus tomorrow. I am still saving a few children in the unfortunate case people do not renew but I will match some in Pokhara as Kamal has told about some needy cases.Weather warmer today thank goodness. You probably will not hear from me until I get back. Email is expensive in Pokhara. It is a nice town right beneath the mountains. If the weather is clear the scenery is beautiful of the Annurpurna range.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Ceremony and new name for Kamal and Samjhana's baby boy.

We had the ceremony this morning and they named the Sunar's baby boy, Milan. The ceremoney was a lot to do with cow dung and urine and the nine planets. Nine balls of cow dung represent the nine months of pregnancy. These are then burnt and also some dung is spread on the ground and the baby held above it while milk is poured on his head and feet. A lot of chanting goes on and urine and water thrown about.

Rice tikas for everyone and small money. I think I will keep mine as a souvenier. It lasted a long time but it was outside and it was sunny. The priest asked me if we did this in my country and I told him no. Christian Baptisms just use water on the baby's head. I must say this was more interesting. Tomorrow Milan's name might be Kusal although his formal name will always be Milan because the priest has proclaimed it so. His name had to begin with an M because the astrology charts said that.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Samjhana and Kamal's NewBaby

Here are the Photos of Samjhana, Kamal and baby. Everything over here is fine except that petrol shortage is a major problem. Line ups miles long. You have to see it to believe it. Makes a huge mess of traffic. Weather has got cold again. This morning I went to Yoga at 6am in the dark, electricity off. It is held in a tin shed. Had to go to bed when I got home just to try and get warm. You must think I am crazy.

Now we are off to do some more registrations. At least the sun is out now.Tomorrow it is the ceremony to name the new baby. A brahmin priest comes to the house and it lasts for several hours I am told. At least it will be a rest. On Sunday we finally go to Pokhara for four days. Best get going now.

Love Susan

Monday, February 5, 2007

Kamal's new addition to the shelter

Good news today. Samjhana, my friend Kamal's wife had a baby boy, at 5:30 this morning. Baby and mother are doing fine. I went to see them this morning and the baby has lots of black hair, not surprising. Kamal has now brought me home and taken his mother there. This is her first grandchild. Her labour was short only about 6 hours not bad for a first baby. All the children are very happy. I asked how much the baby weighed but they did not know. This does seem to be of any importance here. They have not decided on a name yet. Kamal says he now feels he has a real responsibility to raise a son in a good path. Take care everyone.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Time to recharge my energy

Namaste everyone,

I have been taking a two day course with a Buddhist nun on Love. It has been a great course. The only complaint I have is that having to sit on the floor all day is something that I am not used to and found difficult. Need to practice. The nun, Amy, was amazing. She is from the USA but is a Buddhist teacher. She had a wonderful positive energy. It was all about relationships and love. I learned a lot from it. She even talked about the beggars and vendors and showing compassion and love to them. The best thing about her was that she had led a very normal life before becoming a nun. She had been into parties, drugs, numerous relationships so I think that we could relate to her more than if she had lived in a monastery all her life.

I met some interesting people there also as they were mostly volunteers doing various work. It was held at a lovely Buddhist Centre almost next door to the Kathmandu Guest House. One lady I met, Sarah from England, is rescuing animals from butchers shops and taking them to a Buddhist retreat centre. These includes goats, buffalo etc. I understand her sympathy as it is awful seeing these animals on the street awaiting slaughter. In our western cultare, it happens but we just do not see it. Anyway I am going to visit there.

Each day, I have also taken a yoga class which has been amazing. For two classes I was on my own, so it is like a private class. I have done poses I never thought possible and stretched like never before. He is a Yogi who teaches at the university and has done so for seven years. Here, Yoga is so pure and there is so much focus done on breathing and they believe in daily practice. Not like me at home, where I just go when the mood strikes. I am changing now though!! I now believe much can happen with daily practice. It has been a great few days which I needed to recharge.

Kamal is picking me up in the morning to go to some schools and families. One being Dev Raj again. His mother has been phoning. Tomorrow night, we have been invited to the opening of a photo exhibition. A journalist that I met has been working with children and cameras like 'Born into Brothels' the movie. All the photos the children took are going to be on display and for sale with the money going to the centre where the children come from. Anyway I am very glad your weather is improving in BC. I did run this morning but here in old Kathmandu, it is a challenge. I have to dodge rickshaws, vendors, taxis, buses, people and dogs. The only thing that freaks me out is when dogs come after me. These are street dogs and if you get bitten, it means rabies shots and very possibly infection. Now it is time for supper and then some reading before bed. The electric is out every day now for 3 or 4 hours and they are talking about it being 6. There is so sign of peace being restored in the south yet. It is just Nepal.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Sometimes things quite don't work out as you wished

Our family that we sponsor, the Tamang family, who live quite close to thamel, have been having a bad time. Two weeks ago, the father asked to loan some rent money. He has a new job picking up garbage in a rickshaw but had fallen behind with the rent. I said I would loan him 3 months rent at a small repayment per month. On going to give it to the landlady, we found them not home. Yesterday the eldest daughter called crying saying they had been locked out of their home. The mother left last week and has gone back to her village. She has left a family of six including a baby. Kamal went there to pay the rent and found the father crying and the eldest daughter crying and the baby she was holding was in distress as he had had no milk all day. Kamal paid the landlady 50 dollars for the back rent. The baby is awaiting adoption. I am going to go there later today to see if they are okay. I doubt that they can repay the money but it is better to put it that way for the sake of their pride.

The other problem we had this week is that Dev Raj's mother wanted him back home again. She is the lady, Chondra, who livied in the tiny room. Dev had settled in so well and was doing well in his new school, but we had to take him back. Three of us on the motorbike and his few belongings. So now he is back in the slums and in that tiny room. I checked at the school and he has not been doing well. We had a long talk with him and hopefully this will make a difference. He is a smart boy and could do well. Also he was concerned about his mother and seemed to accept that it is his duty to be with her. We were all very sad over this event. Hopefully next week we will have more cheerful news.

We have some problems here now with no petrol and other supplies because of violence in the south. No supplies getting through. The restaurants also getting short. Nothing ever changes here. I have one more day left of the workshop Iam taking by a Buddhist nun and then back to work on Monday but I feel a lot more refreshed.

Till tomorrow.......Susan