Saturday, March 29, 2008

First Sari for Mrs. BK

This lady had never owed a sari which seemed unbelievable for a Nepali woman. She is extremely poor as her husband left her with four daughters because she could not have a son. This was a gift from her sponsor and what a thrill it was for her. I got a lump in my throat just watching her pick it out. I love this photo of her and Kamal, as she first sees herself with it draped around her, she needed help as she had no experience of how to put one on.

Mann, Our New Helper

Mann has now joined our team and has been coming around with me meeting the families. He will take over the Simpani, Pokhara area from Moti who is no longer with us. He is very happy to help and this week will come to all the families in Katmandu with us so he knows each student's location and school. We welcome him and are very thankful to have his help.

Photo of Mann and Sujan in Pokhara.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Beautiful mountain child. Her family lives very remotely under a bamboo shelter beside the river. I mentioned them in my last blog. Yesterday I visited an organization that helps poor families with disabilities. Her brother is lame in one leg and cannot go to school so I am referring them to see if they can get help. It was an excellent organization called International Nepal Fellowship. They have a training program that trains individuals in radio repair, watch repair and many craft making skills as well has animal husbandary etc. They also had a hospital that specialises in leprosy, club feet, polio etc. I was very impressed. So I am hoping this family can get some help although there is a long waiting list.

I am still working in Simpani, last day today before I return to Kathmandu tomorrow. I had a great day yesterday working on my own. Took about 9 children shopping with a grandmother and a mother. Had to use my Nepali language skills and although not very good I managed. We laughed a lot and although it took 3 hours I really enjoyed it. For those new sponsors who I have not emailed yet with photos please be patient as it is very difficult. This photo took 10 minutes to download and internet in Pokhara is expensive.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Back from the Mountains

I arrived back in Pokhara yesterday. It was a very memorable time in the mountains visiting Kamal's village in a very remote area. here there are no other trekkers, no tea houses or lodges. The village is called Chimkhola, meaning dark river, and was perched on the side of the mountain. It was a very steep and rugged climb to get there and took about 7 hours. We stayed on the way up at a Nepali home and reached the village in the morning. I visited the school and enjoyed a night of dancing and music that they put on for me and it was great fun. The school was a bit of a diaster with many broken desks. I had a donation from a lady so decided to repair 20 desks with her money and they made her a nice certificate and asked me for her photo to put in the office. The people of the village were quite amazing but I really got to see how the caste system works in remote areas. After we left the village Mann, Kamal's brother, and I trekked deeper into the valley and came back on the other side of the river. He took me to see a very poor family who live in a bamboo shelter with their animals. The children were extemely beautiful with green eyes which I have never seen before here. They invited us in and gave us bowls of fresh cow's milk. This was creamy and lumpy but good. I usually am given buffalo milk which is creamy and slightly sweet. The family was very low caste and the five year old will not go to school because he was beaten by the other children because of his caste. The oldest girl though was in class 8 at a local school. We stayed in another poor home on the way back and I slept in a room with a mother and child while Mann slept on the floor. It is a time I will always remember and now cannot stop thinking about it. The family that made me so welcome. In fact I began to wonder whether I could do anything for myself. Funny their own women do so much hard work and I was allowed to do nothing. I did try grinding corn into flour with an ancient milling stone which was extremely hard and they thought it was very funny as I struggled with it.
Mann is now working in the charity and I will put his photo here when I can. We got off the bus in Simpani and I showed him all the families. I will go back there tomorrow to help the kids with thank you letters and do some more school uniforms.
The weather is extremely hot and sunny. I will try some photos later, very slow here.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Simpani, Pokhara

We have spent two long days here. Registering children took some hours and then getting school uniforms shoes etc many more.
Susmita, who I picked from the government school last year, to go to private school turns out to be a brilliant little girl. She has 100 per cent in every subject and now will skip a grade. Raju Pun is 2nd in his class. All the children are doing well and improving. The lady with the burns, Mrs Jalari, looks great, she is so improved in her health. She will require a couple more operations sometime later to enable to lift her arms but it is too early yet. Her husband has made their room bigger and brighter for her as the doctor said she needed this. I love this family, the father is very dedicated and the mother keeps the room spotless. They are also very grateful.
One lady, when told that I was putting her three children in school, sat and cried. She has no husband as he left her for another woman. We sponsored one tiny girl from a family of nine who live on the proceeds from the family cow. I gave her some shoes and a coat yesterday and this morning when I went there she was still playing with them and would not take the coat off today even though it was very hot.
Taking them all for the uniforms was quite an outing and they received so much joy from their new things. This area is one of my favourites and tonight we had a meeting with all the parents and they all expressed their gratitude and I told them about their sponsors and the countries that they came from. I will back here next week to carry on. Now I am going into the mountains for a few days.
Some good news is that I have sponsor for the blind girl Sabitra and I cannot wait to tell her. She will be very happy.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Off to Pokhara

Tomorrow morning I am leaving on the bus for Pokhara. I will update from there after visiting the schools and children. This is always a nice change as it is a cleaner city with some fresh air. It is also easier working here as all our children are contained in one area other than about four which are on the way. It has taken some time to download these photos so until later.

While I am havng success a couple more

Left Samjhana with her new hat, made by a lady in Duncan, and Barbie doll. Middle Sarjit and Bijay. Sarjit will be our second college student later this year. Children giving me flowers as their way of saying thanks and wearing flower mala given by the mothers. This a traditional way of honouring a guest in Nepal and they say the mala is to be worn for a little while but not too long and if you wear it for too long they say you are showing off. It is hard to know the right length of time because if you take it off too early you offend.

Some photos

Photos: From top Sabitra, a very talented blind student. Orphanage children watching a movie on my laptop. Apechycia, newly sponsored child, in a new dress I gave her. Bottom left single mother with her child we just sponsored. This is a typical slum with piles of garbage outside.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Photos (unsuccesful)

I was hoping to add some photos here but it is not cooperating. This can be difficult. I willtryand add them tomorrow. I am at an internet shopt in Nakhipot where I am staying at the orphanage and the computers here leave a lot to be desired. I know I have to send new sponsors photos but again sometimes it is impossible.
Iam busy everyday with school registrations and matching new children. I would like to explain here that sometimes the circumstances of a family change. I have a couple of families now whose financial situation has changed. I then feel that they are able to pay fortheir children's education themselves and I would rather change that sponsor to a child that really needs it. I think my sponsors would agree with this. We have helped them when they needed it the most. It is a difficult descision to make but there is so much need here that sometimes I have to be a little tougher and make the best decision. I am trying to help as many women without husbands as possible as these women have a very hard time. I visited one lady the other day who is on her own to see if we could help with sponsoring her child. She works all day to earn a living and the 4 year old child just plays on the street all day with no care. It was an area I had not been to before and it was a horrible slum with garbage everywhere. Very depressing.
I was at the school forthe blind the other day. Always enjoyable to visit here as they love visitors. There is a 16 year girl there called Sabitra. She is a brilliant girl who is at the moment taking her school leaving certificate. She has learnedto speak perfect english by listening to the BBC news. The school has seeing and blind students and she always has the top marks forthewhole school. (sorry this computer justwill not work) She is hoping to win a scholarship for college but even if she does shewill haveto pay for living expenses in the dorm. She comes froma very remote village and she has a blind brother and a blind sister. They are at home in the village. Her sponsor only will sponsor her through tothe end of class 10 so she asked could I help her. I told her I was sure I could get her a $250 a year sponsor and she was very happy with that. If anyone you know would be interested in helping her please let me know. She is a wonderful girl. The other day she asked to feel my hair and asked what colour it was. I told her grey and she said does everyone in your country have grey hair? I told her no only old people to which she asked how old I was. When I told her 62 she and everyone else in the room gasped (62 very old here) and then she said but you only feel like you are 40 or 45. Now you know why I like her so much!
Iwill add a photo of her as soon as I can. This does frustrate me.
Till later

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Things are progressing well but the time is going very quickly. Being busy makes the time go fast I think. Visited four families yesterday and one where the father had left his wife and family and has gone to England where he is having an affair with a woman there. He managed to get a three month visa but that is now up and he has not returned leaving his wife with no money and has not even phoned her. She has four children and now is living on credit at the grocery store. Another family, a neighbour where we also sponsor a child, her husband has also left her with no support. Very sad and makes me very angry. They were made very happy by my visit and gave me flowers. Soucie, whose husband has gone to England, looked very lovely in a sari sent by her sponsor. She said it made her very happy to have it. She is such a lovely lady and has very polite and beautiful children. At least they are getting an education.
Today I have to go to the bank again which will entail an hour's wait. I do not like to walk around with a large sum of money so take smaller amounts out and then have to keep going back. Such is life.
The SBCH children are all well and I have fun doing yoga with them. They also enjoy my laptop as I buy movies very cheaply here and they can watch them when the electric is out. I just get one movie out of my battery.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


The other afternoon I visited a family where I recently sponsored 3 children. When I was there the first time the parents were not at home so I went back to see the parents. Kamal told me I knew the parents and when I saw the father I certainly did know him. He has often helped me when I have been visiting other families in that area as he speaks some English so has interpreted for me. The thing that amazed me was that he had never asked me to help his own children and he was equally as poor. Kamal referred the family to me. I told him that I really respected him for this. He sells syringyes (do not know how to spell this), that are a national instrument of Nepal. He sells in the tourist area and when I questioned him about this he said he sells one or two every few days in season for this he profits about $2.50 and his wife cleans the outside of tourist shops. He then played and sang Nepali songs for me with the family gathered around. Sometimes I visit families on my own as I did this day and I actually enjoy it more for the reason that I have to communicate myself and somehow this brings me closer to the family.
The little girl Partima has a new sponsor who lives in Germany and had a gift and card from her. This caused a lot of interest and excitement. I guess Germany was different as they know I am from Canada.
Yesterday I visited our college student Nauchhen in the town of Banepa about an hour by bus from Kathmandu. The last time I visited this town was in 2006 and it was a ghost town due to the riots. Two people had been shot by police and the town was under curfew. The stret was full of overturned cars and burning tires and we had to walk through it with soldiers pointing guns at us. Yesterday that was a memory and the town was bustling with activity. the college she attends was lovely and out in the country. Her family lived in a very old house and I enjoyed a traditional meal with them seated on the mud floor in the kitchen.
this morning on my way into the bank, I came early as the other day there were a hundred people in front of me and it took over an hour to withdraw money, I stopped in to see sushant who is at the school for the blind. He has been there a week now and what a change in him. He looked bright and happy and was doing really well. That was a very good start to the day.


The photos are of Krishna with his vegetables. Samjhana and Shirjhana with their grandmother who was visiting for a couple of days. These are the little girls who live alone. Ram, who helps me with the children, doing a puzzle with the children that was sent by a sponsor. A child's father playing the syringye (sp) for me. Story about him above.
Computer very slow today and this has taken a very long time to download.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Krishna, our Vegetable Seller

Some of you will remember the story I wrote here last Fall about Krishna and his business of selling vegetables. Krishna had said he did not need a new school uniform last year and we gave him the $20 as he wished to start a business. He is only 14 years old but gets up at 5am to get his supplies and sets up on the street till 8am and then goes to school and goes back after till 7pm. I visited him and the vegetable business this morning. I was very impressed with him. He sold a variety of different vegetables and teams up with a neighbour who watches his veggies while Krishna is at school. He makes about a dollar per day. They both sell different items so as not to compete. His sponsor had sent him some extra money to expand his business. When I saw his set up I suggested he should have a stall with wheels and cover, like they have here. This way he would be mobile and his veggies would not get wet. He liked the idea so we will add some money from the fund together with his sponsor's extra money and buy this for him. I will put his picture up later.
I also visited the two little girls, Shirjhana and Samjhana, who lost their father recently and who I visited in the hospital. they now live alone as their mother has left and is living with an aunt. The girls are 13 and 14 years old. Lovely girls and so responsible. A relative is paying their rent and an uncle brings them rice. First visit this morning was a lady called Auntie Jimmy and her relative Yanji who we sponsor. Here I was given a large plate of momos, tea and juice. I had already had breakfast but would never offend so ate them all and they were very good but I do not think I need to eat for the rest of the day.
There is lots of news and I do not want to make this too long but I would like to just mention something that is a bit different and this was an organization that I visited called Kat. Kathmandu Animal Treatment Centre. I visited here two days ago to donate the medicine that I had bought to treat the dog that had been stabbed but then could not find it and on behalf of my Vet, Dr. J Pollock, who is so good to my dogs and to this charity. This centre was set up four years ago to help the street dogs of Kathmandu. If you saw these dogs you would be distressed as I am when I see them. They are in terrible condition with diseases such as mange, malnutrition, parasites and vehicle injuries etc. This charity helps these dogs and also spays thousands of female dogs. They collect around 8 every other day, treat them and spay them and release when ready. They had quite a lot of resident dogs who were so sick when they arrived that they took up to two years to get well and then it was too late to release them. Since they have doing this work the city has stopped poisoning dogs which they did regularly to cull them. This was an agonizing death and the bodies were dumped in the river. Also children picked up this meat and also died the same horrible death. I was very impressed with their work and now know I can call them when I see a dog needing medical help.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Photos of Sushant at School

Here are some photos of Sushant. It was a sad day yesterday as we started him in school, for the first time leaving his home and parents. When I asked him is he was happy he said "yes but I will cry in the night when it is dark and I miss being in the room with my parents." We bought him all his bedding and other supplies and an ice cream was a treat for him and he seemed really pleased with his new bed as you see in the photo. All he brought with him was one pair of pants and a shirt, I guess that is all he owns. We bought him more things and a box to put them in. Unfortunately his parents now have decided not to have the cornea transplant as they believe his sight will come back. Of course this is not going to happen but it is their decision. Hopefully they will change their minds. Pictures also of the blind children with Barbie dolls and stuffed toys. These brought so much joy. I just sat there with a lump in my throat as I saw them feel the hair and clothes, eyes etc. Never have I seen children so happy with anything before. I have to go back with more as I did not have enough. The boys were just as happy with them as the girls and when the school bell rang they stuffed them away in their bags.

Today I have been sick so had to cancel my visits which I hate to do but there was no option.

On the political front the government has signed an agreement with the Madhesi people in the Terai in the south of the country where there has been so much unrest and violence. this means the election in April will go ahead. On the bright side, literally, the electric is now only out 6 hours instead of 8 per day.