Friday, April 30, 2010

Sewing Project and New Library at High Mount School and New Literacy Project

Photos taken this week by Mann of the sewing project which is doing really well, the Will Leather library at High Mount School in Simpani, our children holding the books are Maya, Sabita, Mankumari, Susmita, Sumitra and Suman. Mann and I picked out all these books which took many hours but now I can look at that book Mann and Tol Prasad (School Principal) are holding on the Human Body with fond memories of our book shopping. New Literacy program using the new benches we had made. Mann tells me that they like to study outdoors in the nice weather. Notebook from one of the ladies in this class, this is a very beginner class. New children just sponsored when I was there and they are Sapona, Dibosh, Rupana, Bipana and Budha.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Back Home

I am now back home and have been busy getting all the letters out to sponsors. We did not get a letter from every child but from more than half and we have more coming in the mail. I am also sending out photos to sponsors everyday so please be patient as this takes me a long time.
I will have more photos up here shortly as Mann is in Pokhara checking on the literacy programs and sewing program.
Our annual garage sale is May 29th and we will need lots of volunteers so please let me know if you can help. Also we need items to sell the more the better. Please phone if you need anything picked up 250-746-8936.
It was a very productive trip to Nepal and now I am trying to adjust to life here, it is such a big change. I miss the children and Mann, Sima and Jagat as I live with them there. Fortunately Skype is a wonderful piece of technology and I talk to them most days. They are doing a great job for us.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Last day Tomorrow

Tomorrow is my last day and then I leave on a 11 pm flight for Hong Kong. It has been a tough two months and I have not taken one day off. In retrospect I think that was a mistake as yesterday I lost my phone which was an expensive international phone. I think I should have given my mind a rest now and again and I would have been able to focus better.
We achieved a lot with the new literacy problem, the new sewing shop both which are doing well. New library for Simpani school. The trip to Chimkhola with the Rotary members from Duncan and this project at the school is almost complete. Saved Bagawati's foot and of course the continuation of literacy programs and our children's educational program through their sponsorships. New children were added as well.
There were a lot emotions over the poverty and the problems this causes. Working with Mann and Jagat in particular is a pleasure and although we have our ups and downs we are a good team and we all love the charity and all the people we help. I am always sad to leave them as they are like family. Mann has saved all of my possessions that I leave everywhere until yesterday when I lost my phone and that was my fault. This is the first trip that I have not worked alone for some of the time. Mann has been with me constantly and supported me totally and I am very grateful for that. I have also been visiting government officials re my daughter's adoption process which the Canadian Government has suspended and this has been particularly upsetting as she would have been home with her child in a couple of months and now we just do not know. She has waited nearly two years and been through a lot of anxiety over this.
When I get home I will carry on sending out all the photos to you all.

Okay these photos were taken in the last couple of days. Newly matched Sujan age 5 yrs, Mann, Sima and I having our New Year's dinner. It is custom to eat on the floor at our home in Nakhipot, right Samjhana and her brother in their very poor room, this is Sujan sister and brother also, newly sponsored Ramila age 4 yrs and Sagar age 6 yrs who has waited for a sponsor for one year and is very happy. Very poor, he lives in a tiny windowless room with his mother and baby sister, father left when mother was pregnant.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Matching Children

We are matching the last few children with a few remaining sponsors today and tomorrow and I have two children NEF is paying for until I can find sponsors. Their poor situation makes me feel that I cannot refuse them. I have left it to the last to match these children as I had to be sure I was making the best possible choice which is difficult. Most people want girls and I like to sponsor them also but sometimes situations arise where we have to sponsor the brothers or it becomes very difficult especially for the little girl in the family. I have one family where only the girl is sponsored and not her brothers and this could cause problems for her especially later. We have to understand the culture here.
Yesterday was Nepali New Year the year now is 2067. Naya bursa ko suva kamana meaning Happy New Year. I took three little girls who live in the same building as us for a walk in the fields and down to the river. They had fun making me cross the river several times by jumping on rocks and getting my feet and shoes wet. the river is very polluted and the children are aware of that but people continue to wash their clothes there. The river is in a valley full of wheat fields and it is very beautiful. The girls were saying how lovely the wheat looked with the wind blowing through it. These kids love to do things with me and they like to help me with Nepali language. I promised one more trip to the river before I leave. They wanted me take photos and I forgot my camera.
Tomorrow Mann and I are going to buy the books for the school library in Simpani which was donated by Will Leather's memorial.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Women's Literacy starts Second Year

Our women's literacy classes in Simpani are now starting their second year. Two classes running here. We are able to run these thanks to individual sponsors and a donation from Orca Publishing in Victoria and other donations. As I have outlined before these are very successful programs along with our new Literacy class in Hamza at the quarrey. These women have amazed me.
Here in Kathmandu the work is very hard as our children are so spread out and the schools all have different days that they take registration which is confusing to say the least. We have a few teenage problems which seems to happen between 14 to 16 years. Usually it is boys but we have a girl this year also. One boy we had a problem with a few years ago, Pradip, I saw yesterday and he is now 17 and doing very well. I was so happy to see this as I thought we were going to lose him to drugs and the street four years ago. He is now starting class 9. The poverty and lack of guidance all make for problems in these families.
I have less than a week left now before I leave for home. Wednesday is Nepali New Year and that means a day off for us. Riding around all day on the back of a motorbike is tiring, dirty and dusty in this city and today we shopped for handicrafts that I bring home to sell and these we had to carry home on the motorbike as well. When I think of all the safety regulations at home and here there are basically none. Passengers on bikes do not have to wear a helmet as the law states that only the driver has to wear one. I do always wear one but I never see anyone else doing so. They laugh when I tell them that cyclists have to wear helmets in Canada. Also lining up at schools to register can take a long time. Jagat lined up at a government school yesterday for 3 hours to register one child.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Children Needing Sponsors

These children need sponsors preferably private as the government school in this area is very poor and does not offer much in the way of education. Their sister, Samjhana, has been sponsored by NEF for two years now. This family is near our office and the photos were taken here when several families came to visit this morning. This family is extremely poor living in a shed like dwelling, they also have a two year old brother. Their names are Suman who is 8 years and Sujan who is 5 years old. Two sponsors could go together on either one of these children. The father has been asking us for a long time now to sponsor his children.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Yesterdau was a sad day. We visited Bijay to the left here. We have sponsored Bijay for about 5 years now. He was a happy child and although their room was very poor it seemed to have a good feeling about it. Yesterday I was shocked to arrive there and the room was in total darkness, no electric and also no window. A lady arrived with a light for us and Bijay was inside sitting on the bed. The room was stripped of the few trimmings it once had pictures, small furnishings etc. Now all that was left was a bed and some cooking items. The concrete walls were black from Kerosene smoke and the whole scene was dismal. The mother had left with the other son and taken everything with her leaving Bijay with his father who was working at a labour job. Bijay was so sad, he looked like he was trying so hard to hold back his emotions. I asked him what we could do for him and he said he wanted to go to college. He has just taken his School Leaving Certificate and will not know the results till July. In his state I wonder how he could pass, this is a tough exam. We offered him some computer classes in the meantime. I wondered how could this little family have come to this and I also in my mind compared this 16 year old to one in Canada. I felt just so sad. I asked him what he did all day and he said he was trying to get a job but otherwise nothing. I gave him a hug and left.

Next stop was the two little boys at the top Umesh and Rupesh. This family is dreadfully poor but the children are a delight and I always enjoy visiting them. Here the mother told us that Umesh has lost a lot of school time because he has been so ill. three years ago he started bleeding from the bowel and she was told he needed an operation but she could not afford that and has not taken him to the doctor since. Now the problem has worsened. It sounded by the syptoms like colitis or chrones disease. He had also had hepatitis she said. Poor child has a lot of pain and diarrhea also. We gave her some money and told her to go to the Children's Hospital and she has gone with him today. This poverty is awful and grinds away at me, some nights I lay in bed and cannot sleep. I also have to decide where do we put donation money? Does it go to extra tuition for some children who are struggling, does it help some students go to college where the sponsor cannot pay for the child to attend, does it help children like Umesh get medical treatment, a child like Sunita from a remote village get extra tuition and pay for her food. Does it go to help poor schools with sports equipment etc. All these questions we ask ourselves everyday. I have know most of the children for some years now and their pain is our pain and we have to help them. Anyway I must get on with today and hopefully it is a better day.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Long, busy days

We have been visiting about 14 children per day here in Kathmandu. It is hot and dusty and the pollution is bad. So at the end of the day we are tired and every night the electric is out so we go to bed early. Today we visited Dev Raj who with his mother lived in a very tiny room which I wrote about here a couple of years or so ago. The room was only about 3 feet wide by 9 feet and had little daylight. It was right in the heart of the slums of Kathmandu. Today I was pleasantly surprised to find they had moved to a bigger, brighter room which had a separate kitchen. She explained she could no longer sleep in a single bed with her son who is 13. I was so happy with the room but now she is struggling to pay the higher rent. Dev Raj is one of our success stories as three years ago he was missing days at school and doing poorly academically now he has just completed class 5 with 78% and only missed two days of school the whole year. I am very happy with him and he has turned out to be a very nice young man. Some other children in their teens are giving us some problems with usual teenaged issues which are made worse by extreme poverty. Still we have to concentrate on our successes and they are many. We have quite a lot of children who took their School Leaving Certificate exams last week but the results will not be out until mid summer. All these students are hoping to go on to college. The hardships are many in this city. All our families live in one room so there is overcrowding and no quiet space to study made worse by no light. A lot of the fathers are missing or drunks and do not work leaving the wife to make a living doing domestic type work seven days a week just to buy enough food and pay the rent. So life is hard and when we have a problem with a child we have to put it in perspective and realize it is not easy for them growing into teenage years under such tough conditions.
You can probably tell by my writing that we had a frustrating day but that is how it goes. Always made worse by my continually losing things and through Mann and Jagat's vigilance on my belongings they do not permanently get lost.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Photos from Hattiban

Top left the beautiful green fields of Hattiban. Centre a child with clothes we had just given her. Right Samjhana, an NEF child, who lives with her grandmother as both her parents are dead. Middle left little Alina receiving her sponsor's gift. All our Hattiban children and some parents, one child missing as he had gone to visit a relative. Left Asmita who is a shining star. Today she got her school results and for the second year in a row she is first in her class. She gets a little English instruction at school but her English is quite good, I was surprised. She said she teaches herself at home every day with two books she has. She has 7 brothers and sisters and is very poor. She wanted to know what the Canadian anthem is as she is interested in such things. I had to sing a bit of Oh Canada which I am not very good at. I love Hattiban and the children here seem especially innocent and sweet.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Recent Photos

Very top Rakesh who lives at the tea shop.
Photos top left Roji, Siwanni and Apeksaya. This family was left by the father nearly three years ago when he went to live in England with an English woman he met when he was her porter on a trek. He left his wife and four children, they also have a son. A lovely family and a very sad situation, the mother earns a little money making handicrafts. Apeksaya with a watch send by her sponsor.
Far right Ranjita enjoys a letter and photos from her sponsor with her mother. This is at the tea shop which we bought for her mother when she lost her husband about four years ago. She earns enough to support her family with this shop. To the left is Bagawati with her foot which I wrote about previously. She is blind. Fortunately her foot and her life was saved and she had skin grafting this week. Her child's sponsor, Carol and Keith from Qatar, generously offered to pay her medical bills. I am so happy that I took her to a private hospital as I doubt the government hospital would have saved her foot. Above is her mother in law. I love this photo as her face is so kind and warm. When I saw her at the hospital sitting at Bagawati's bedside I was struck by her warmth. Above right is Juni, a stone quarrey child here in Kathmandu. We have sponsored the children in this family for a long time. She is wearing clothes we had just given her. It is great to have so many clothes to distribute. The only thing is it is hard to carry a lot on a motorbike but we do it with a big backpack.
This city is so dirty and today after visiting 14 children I decided I had to have my hair washed so stopped at the beauty palour near our office. She washed my hair in cold water which is fine and then offered me a free body massage, I know this lady quite well, I accepted but then she told me that I must wash tomorrow because my body is dirty. I laughed and said no water. A shower is only a dream. Somehow though it is not that important and a small bowl of water does the job. When I see how people like Bagawati live in dire poverty such things do not really matter. We are lucky to have such a nice office and apartment here in Nakhipot which is a nice community.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Donation of School Library

The Will Leather Memorial Fund, Qatar is donating a library to High Mount School in Simpani. We have 33 children at this school. Carol and her husband visited this school last week and decided that a library would be a good contribution to this well run school. We really thank them for this as it will benefit 400 children, 33 of them ours. The Doha Rugby Football Centre (Doha RFC) Qatar also sponsored a child here.
Today we have been visiting children in central Kathmandu and giving out clothes.
Joe Simpson of the Duncan Daybreak Rotary left for home last night, the last Rotarian to leave. He visited our office yesterday and really liked our suburban location. Joe loved every minute of his visit and took thousands of photos. He enjoyed the people best of all.
We hear that the sewing shop is really busy and that we need to hire another seamstress for this month at least because there are so many customers coming for school uniforms. This is very good news in our first week.
I am trying to get a few photos out to sponsors but please be patient electric is very limited here.