Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Photos top left Api getting her teeth checked, she needed ten fillings.  Centre hygenist instructing how to brush teeth.  Below centre one of our students Harimaya.  Bottom left the dental staff who conducted the dental camp for NEF plus school principal and Mann.  Above Khimaya, whose little girl died of a heartattack three years ago with her new baby boy, her son Raj Kumar, his friend NEF child Anil and newly sponsored Sanju.  Sanju has no parents so Khimaya and Anil's mother are caring for her.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Matching Literacy Ladies

This afternoon we were back at the school matching literacy ladies with sponsors.  I met a young lady from Vancouver in the restaurant today and she asked to come along with us this afternoon to see what we did.  We were matching two children so she came to those homes with us and we also took some photos of children who need sponsors and I will post those photos here. 
We finished matching the literacy ladies but still have ladies without sponsors.  It is sad as they then feel left out especially as today's class was instruction on how to write a letter to your sponsor.  Andrea, the lady from Vancouver, sponsored a lady which made her very happy.  I love these ladies and always wish I could spend more time with them.  We will return tomorrow to take more photos. 
Tomorrow morning we are taking about 65 children to the dental hospital.  There are three dentists but it seems like an insurmountable task to treat all those children in one day.  We will see. 
This server is still not allowing me to add photos here so will go to the internet shop tomorrow and add some.  I keep adding them everyday to flickr.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dental Camp at the Simpani School

This afternoon the free dental camp was held at the school.  Seven dental staff came and it was very efficiently run.  Over 80 children and some women were seen.  Tomorrow we have to meet with the dental team at the hospital and go over which children need treatment and how much it will all cost.  The Kantipur Dental Hospital have said they will give us a good discount which is generous of them.  The dental hospital bus will pick the children up on Wednesday and treat as many as possible on that day.  There is the same hospital in Kathmandu so we will be able to have the same program there.  As usual I am amazed at the poor condition of the children's teeth.  One four year old little girl needs ten fillings and gums are infected and she has a lot of pain her father said.  This dental program is an excellent one and I just hope we can keep raising the money for it so that the children can be seen at least yearly otherwise this is all in vain. Photos later.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


New Science Equip. at Chimkhola

Shree Ram Pun writing to her sponsor

Our oldest literacy student Ganga Thapa
Child at Gauda Muni
Giving out pens at Gauda Muni
Chimkhola child in new clothes we gave her
Child with pen
Chimkhola child with school supplies

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Literacy Program

Yesterday we met with the literacy ladies at the Hamja stone quarrey to match new sponsors.  Not all the ladies were there as it was Saturday which is a holiday in Nepal and it was also the Potato Festival.  This is celebrated in Hamja as they grow a lot of potatoes here and so a once a year festival is held with music and dancing and a lot of selling of potatoes at a cheaper price. 
Matching the ladies is extremely difficult as so many have the same or similiar names.  We have three Bhim Mayas and they are either a Gurung or Tamang and nearly all the ladies have Maya in their name.  Everyone is talking and laughing while I am trying to get the names straight and photos taken.  Have more work to do there yet. 
In the morning we met with all the mothers of the children in Simpani.  As costs are rising we are having to ask the parents to pay for the children's notebooks and pencils this year for the children in private school only.  The parents were agreeable to this.  Some really cannot afford to do this and we will buy for them.  A school principal suggested this to me as she felt it was a good idea for the parents to have some responsibility as everything else is paid for them.  I had fun going around testing myself on placing the child's name with each mother.  With about 90% I knew which mother belonged to each child.  We then went for tea with Shree Ram Pun who is one of our oldest literacy students at 67.  She had a letter already written for her sponsor in English.  She has been in the program for two years now and her accomplishment is amazing.
Today we are going to Dulagouda about an hour away to visit some children and a school.  A Rotarian is driving us in a private car so that will be a treat.
Still cannot upload photos here so if I have time later I will go to an internet shop to see if I can do it there.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Today we visited the Kantipur Dental Hospital.  I was there last year with two children but now they have a new impressive building and new equipment and I was very impressed.  We had a tour of the building and facilities, it is not finished yet but the dental treatment rooms were finished and in use.  They could treat up to 15 patients at one time if they had the staff.  They also train dental hygenists in a three year program and dental chairside assistants in a 3 month course.  This program is for girls who did not pass their SLC but who have at least class 8 or who passed the SLC pre exam.  I found this interesting.  They run dental camps for poor, underpriviledged children, children in orpan homes and street children.  As we still have many children to treat in Simpani they agreed to come on Monday and operate a dental for us as we still have many that need to have treatment here.  They have a dental van in which they can do check ups, fillings and extractions if they have to but they also can pick the children up by bus and bring them to the hospital.  I was very impressed with their facility and their professionlism. They told me and I agree that these children need yearly check ups otherwise what is the point of having them treated if they never see a dentist again.  Hopefully we can make this a yearly program and keep the children's teeth in good condition.   

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gauda Muni School

The second day in Chimkhola we walked further up from the village for one hour to the school of Gauda Muni.  We visited here last year with Rotarians Joe and Dag, Nani, Mann's brother who died last year was also with us.  It is a very poor little school of only 4 classes.  Joe decided recently that he would like to improve the school in Nani's memory so work has already started here and we went to see how it was progressing and to assess the needs here.  It was the most sincere and simple ceremony I have been to and I was truly touched by the people here.  Again there were so many flowers, tikas and they had prepared food for us all.  The children were delightful and I gave then all novelty pens that my husband Bob had sent for them.  I had a hard time dragging myself away from here.  Desks are already being made, a water tap is in and some cement work has been done and we took up books.  Now plastic is going to replace wooden windows so they have some light, flooring done, a water filter and other improvements. 
In the afternoon I gave the children at the Chimkhola supplies, pencils, notebooks, coloured pencils etc.  and then photographed all the improvements at the school. 
I so much enjoyed this visit to Chimkhola.  I spent some special time with the women drinking tea and having hard boiled eggs.  At Lalmayas, she is a teacher at the school, in her house she has a chicken in a basket on the floor by her bed and she simply went and got some eggs that were freshly laid in the basket and boiled them for me on the open fire.  There are only basic items in the room, bed, cooking utensils, broom and some little stools and two carpets she had made.  Sitting on the floor by the fire with Lalmaya, Pomaya and another lady who came in I felt totally at home and enjoyed their conversation and their laughter, they are so happy.  I can only wonder why we need so many possessions and are not as happy as they appear to be. 

Photos top Mann showing his grandfather his award with his father also. Others at the closing project ceremony, cutting the ribbon with Rotary Charter President Dev Raj.  Bottom with the women of Chimkhola.


For some reason the server is rejecting my photos on this blog.  I have uploaded the closing ceremony ones to flickr so please go there to see them.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wonderful Chimkhola

We are back from Chimkhola and it was an incredible few days.  We had a good day climbing up there, fortunately it was cloudy so we did not have to deal with the hot sun.  It took us seven hours plus a long lunch at the village of Dagnum.  The Annurpurna Rotary were also with us and we all arrived at the village around the same time.  I was anxious to see Mann's granddad who is entering his 90the year and the oldest person in the village.  When he saw us he shed many tears.  Mann showed him his Rotary award which was quite a moment.  On Saturday we attended the closing ceremony of the matching grant Rotary program, there were so many flower malas and children all waiting in line.  There was three hours of speeches and the sun was very hot but it was a most memorable occasion.  A marble plaque was carried up by a porter and was unveiled by the Annurpurna Charter President Dev Raj and myself.  Everyone said in their speeches how grateful they were and what a change there has been in the school and in the village.  There was dancing and food and a tour of the school.  I really was impressed with the medical clinic which was part of the project.  Two ladies were trained for a month and they were very proud of the clinic, they took my blood pressure and got out the scales so we could weigh ourselves.  They would not take the scales out of the packaging though which I laughed about.  Just after we left the clinic a child fell and broke his arm so they had their first patient.  They wrapped it and put it in a sling.  The next day the mother had to walk the down the mountain to Beni 8 hours away but they could not fix it so then she had to take the bus to Pokhara 4 hours away.  The elbow I think has been dislocated.  We looked at all the project material such as desks, science lab, water tap, office etc.  Most important change in this village in the three years since I first went there is the fact that now the caste system has virtually been eliminated here.  I was told this a few times.  Mann is Dalit caste which is the lowest.  The fact that he has brought this improvement to the school by bringing first me there and then the Rotary is has made him revered in this village.  Now they tell me that everyone is equal here and this was proved by the fact that we were asked to eat in so many homes and the morning we left we were asked to a high caste home for breakfast where as little as two years ago Mann would never have been allowed inside.  They told him that he was welcome there anytime.  This is an amazing change for the whole village.  Also they said that we have motivated everyone and now many people want to help even a village man now living in the US who was there at the ceremony shook my hand and said he wants to help.  Nothing could have made me happier than the success of this project.  I have much more to tell and the second day I will leave till later as I am hungry for breakfast.  The second was as good as the first so check back later for that news.
For some reason the server will not let me upload photos now so will add later.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Leaving for Chimkhola

We are just leaving for Chimkhola after the spending the night in Beni.  We arrived here late last night after spending two full days with Carol and Keith.  We will be in the mountains for about  four days so will update this blog when I get back.  Tomorrow is the ceremoney in Chimkhola where the Rotary end the matching grant program at the village school and hand it over to the Chimkhola people.   Seven Rotarians are coming with us from the Annuplurna Club.  It should be quite an occasion.  Until next week when there will be lots of news and photos.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mann, NEF President receives Paul Harris Fellow Rotary Award.

Tonight at the Annurpurna Rotary Meeting Mann received this Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Award.   I have never seen him so happy, he just could not believe this was happening to him.  My battery is very low and no electric so will add more photos to this later.  It is a great honour for Mann and he now joins ranks with other Paul Harris Fellow Award recipients such as Mother Theresa, Koffi Annon, Prince Charles etc.  It was given to Man for his outstanding service to the people of Nepal and Chimkhola. It certainly was a most memorable occasions.  He never believed such a thing could happen to him.  His parents were there to see him receive this as was Carol and Keith from Doha.  Thanks to the Duncan Noon TimeRotary Members who made this happen.  An award was also made to Teijnath Neupene of the Annurpurna Rotary Club arranged by the Duncan Daybreak Club.  Thanks for spreading so much joy. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

In Pokhara

Arrived here yesterday by bus and it was a good trip, no hold ups.  We brought most of the clothes that Carol brought with us here.  One large carton, 3 small cartons and two big bags and our own packs.  Getting the cartons on top of the bus was a job and one broke open and spilled clothes all over the road.  No problem Nepalis do not get upset about such things but I could not help laughing.  We are going to give these out in the next couple of days and also take some to Chimkhola where we will be going on Friday.  Some members of the Annapurna Rotary are also going as it is the closing ceremony of the Rotary project on Saturday.  I will report on that with photos after it happens.  We now have a very busy week.  I have not had a day off since starting work here.  Tomorrow we take Carol and Keith to Phumdi Bhumdi.

Photos: Loading the boxes, Mann balancing it on his head and top loading boxes in the one of taxes on arrival.  We needed two taxis each end.  A lot of children will be made happy with all these lovely clothes from Doha, Qatar and we thank the people there who donated them.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Photos on Flickr

I have been uploading photos onto flickr.  I try to do some every few days.  This page is not letting me upload photos today but I have put them on flickr.

I have put the children in files named after where they live.  If you do not know this I will email everyone when I get home and tell you with an update of your child.  Some of my emails are getting lost so will not attempt to do this till I get home.

Samjhana Tamang

Samjhana and her family of both parents and three younger brothers live next door to our office.  They live in a small brick room next to a workshop where her father works making furniture.  Samjhana is 13 years old and looks after the family completely.  She cooks, cleans, draws the water from the well, washes her brothers and even takes little brother Sunil to school with her.  He is nearly three years old.  the mother does work washing clothes at someone's house but when she returns home she does nothing leaving Samjhana to do all the work.. I see Samjhana put Sunil on top of her school bag on her back and walk down the road to school,  The school lets him go in the nursery class for free as there is no one to care for him.  Samjana is a good student although she is behind because she started late.  She was first in her class last year and skipped from class 1 to class 3.  I never see her play with friends as she is always working.  Last night I put my head in the door and she was peeling potatoes as her mother visited with friends.  In the morning I see her drawing the water from the well at 6 am,  This year she lost her sponsor so I placed her with a new one.  This was a good thing as for the first time she received a letter and gift from her new sponsor.  She was more than delighted.  This was the sponsor that is an airline pilot that I wrote about earlier when she received the photo of him by the plane he flies. I think this really gave her a thrill and brightened her tough little life. I have photos to go with this post but at the moment it will not let me upload them.  Will try later.

Sujan & Suman, Samjhana's brothers
Tomorrow we go to Pokhara on the bus with bags and boxes of clothes.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Carol & Keith arrive from Qatar

 Today we met early with Carol and Keith and brought them to the office.  They brought with them 170 kgs of clothing.  We had some children come to the office for clothes and then went to visit their sponsored children, Pinky and Santi.  They enjoyed their visit very much.  Pinky is the name of their fund in Qatar which raises the money for their children and projects here.  It is the Pinky Fund, Friends of the Qatar Wooden Spooners. 
I wrote about Pradip a few days ago and his brother Sandip who did not have a sponsor.  Carol and Keith wanted to sponsor him so we went to visit him also.  Sandip was one of the first children I sponsored but left school a year later.  In Kathmandu people are cremated at the temple of Pasupatinath. After the bodies are burned the remains are swept into the river.  Here street children dive under the water with a magnet hoping to find gold jewellery  from the bodies.  This is what Sandip did after he ran away from school and home.  He then went to live in the village for one year and his mother said that changed him.  Today he is a good student attending school regularly. When we arrived he was at a friend's home studying and getting some help for his studies.  I really believe he will now go onto college.  He is just going into class 8.  Carol and Keith are very happy with him.
Photos are Keith with Sandesh and Puja at the office, Keith wearing his keta scarves given to him by Mann and Jagat.  Carol sorting out the clothes she brought for the children.  Carol and Keith with Sandip.  Carol and Keith with Pinky.
Tomorrow we take Prakash to see the opthamologist at the eye hospital.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rising Costs in Nepal

Costs in this improverished country are rising rapidly.  I cannot believe the price of rents.  Some of our families are now having to pay 2000 rupees and more for one room, that is about $30 Can dollars per month.  When you consider that most families do not earn more than 1.50 to 2.00 per day you can see that it is an ongoing challenge to live and then food is rising rapidly also. 
NEF's office and apartment rent is also going up again now to 8000 rupees per month about $110.  When we moved here less than 3 years ago it was 4000 and I am told it will go up next year and the year after that.  This makes our admin costs rise considerably and along with that the challenge of how to raise this money.  We are looking for something cheaper but that means moving further out of the city and then transportation costs go up.
Medical costs also seem to be rising.  Sima, Mann wife, has a problem at the moment that may require surgery and she spent all day yesterday at the hospital having tests and that cost 9000 rupees which is Mann's total salary for the month.
Prakash, the boy with the eye problem is going to the eye hospital on Sunday.  Through Rotarian Joe we have been referred to one of the best opthamologists in Nepal.  He managed to tract down the doctor in Nanaimo who has contacts here.  This doctor we are going see does help the poor so lets up hope this is a good chance for Prakash.
We have had no electric for almost 24 hours now so I am typing this on a laptop which is nearly out of battery so will close.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Stone Quarrey Family

I have always enjoyed visiting the stone quarrey families.  I have known them for some years now and always feel so relaxed in their homes.  These families are among our poorest but wonderful people.  The Lama family I have known the longest and they live in a tin and bamboo shelter and have no toilet.  There is a river across the street and they have to use the river bank for their toilet.  The landowner does not provide land for a toilet. Even so they have to pay 2000 rupees per month ($30 cdn approx) for rent for the land that they have their tin structure on.  Recently they had to move it further up the road because of construction of a new building.  they earn about a $1 per day each working making gravel by hand and filling the trucks.  Amazingly the children always look so clean.  

 Another of our extremely poor families is Pasang's.  His parents look old enough to be his grandparents.  They brought Pasang to Kathmandu at the time of the civil war to save him from being taken by the Maoists to fight in the war.  This is Pasang's last year in school and he is hoping to go to college later this year.  His family live in a tin structure also and his father is a security guard for a construction site.  Once the building is complete they will have to move on again.  I gave the mother a coat and she was just so happy with that. 

 Photos top right is Juni Lama in a new jacket I gave her. Below is the Lama family outside their home and right Pasang mother outside their home in her new coat.  Middle Pasang and his family and bottom children watching us.  Wherever we go we draw attention and sometimes I look up and see the faces all peering in the door.  These children all giggled when I took their photo.  It is hard pasting these photos on here so please excuse the fact that they are not arranged perfectly.  It has been another long day and travelling this city on a motorbike in the traffic is tiring. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Success Story

Sometimes my job here can be frustrating and tough but then I see a child and he/she makes everything I do so worthwhile and yesterday that happened.  His name is Pradip and many may remember his story as I have told it before but it just gets better.  Pradip has been with NEF almost since the begining.  His siblings were the first children we sponsored in 2004 but we did not try to sponsor him until the following year.  He is the eldest son and was already in school.  I decided the next year that he should also be sponsored and I got him a good sponsor but when we went to see him he was not in school and was running on the streets and had needle marks on his arms.  I thought he was too high risk to sponsor but his sponsor wanted to continue with him.  Six weeks later I returned to see him and he was very sick and needed his gall bladder removed which we arranged with the help of his sponsor again.  Somehow this was a turning point for Pradip.  I went to see him in hospital and he appeared so grateful.  Over the next years he has flourished.  Every year I visit and although he has struggled a bit in school he is now going into class 10.  Yesterday he told us he is working every night from 10 pm to 4 am 6 days a week as a security guard then comes home and sleeps for a few hours before going to school.  He earns $40 per month which he gives to his mother.  The father is a drunk and not there a lot of the time and there has been some violence.  The mother washes clothes and dishes for work.  I had some money from his sponsor and offered some it to him so he could buy himself something and he said "No give it to my mother to pay the rent".  I got a lump in my throat.  Here was a boy who worked so hard yet would take no money for himself.  He wants to go to college and I am sure he will.  I believe now that it is better to have too little rather than too much as it builds charactor.  Pradip should be our poster child.  He is 18 now.  His sponsor gave him a chance when he was at his lowest point and it worked.  This proves how important sponsors are in the lives of these children.  His brother, who was sponsored, we lost years ago to the streets but to my surprise he is back in school, in class 8 and looking like a respectable young man.  He has no sponsor now. Pradip is a great example to him also and I am sure has played a role in getting him back to school.  He also has another brother and sister with us who are doing well.
Next we visited the tea shop we bought for a lady some years ago after she lost her husband.  We sponsor two girls in college here and their young brother in school.  Both daughters go to college from 6 am to 10 pm then come home, change and go to work in a store from 11am to 7 pm six days per week.  They earn $70 per month and give all but approx. $14 to their mother.  I only saw one, Ramilla, but she is such a nice young lady.  Her sponsor sent her some cosmetics from the Body Shop and the body butter she got which I think is about $12 in Canada is $70 here.  she knew as they sell it in the shop where she works. 

Photos Pradip left, Sandesh his brother middle who is back in school for 2 years now and does not have a sponsor and Ramilla at the tea shop reading her sponsor's letter.  I know that most of you wish to sponsor girls and I agree BUT look how Pradip and Sandesh have improved.  Pradip now helps his mother and always will as is the culture here. Had we not helped him what would have happened to her? 
I could go on but this is enough for today.  Must go for a run before we begin the day.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Photos taken in the last two days

On left Madhu making roti.  Right Pardasi.  Botton left is Prakash who has the eye problem.  Right below is Arjun with sponsor gift.  Madhu, Pardasi and Arjun are SBCH hostel children.  Middle is Sunita one of our college students in the tea shop where she works after school.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Festival of Shrivaratri

Yesterday was the Shrivaratri Festival which is Lord Shriva birthday.  Thousands of people and pilgrims come to Kathmandu to the Hindu temple of Pashupatinath where there are hundreds of holy men and they give out canabis free.  It is too dangerous to be on the roads and it is a drug free day.  The children also get involved by holding ropes across the road and you have to give them money to pass.  I went for my run very early in fields but on my way home had to pay a few times with rupees I carried in my pocket.  Mann and I went to visit Kamal and his orphanage in the afternoon and were stopped on the motor bike and at one point another motorbike did not stop and pay but crossed slowly over the rope then the children pulled the rope tight in front of the back wheel which topped the bike and its riders to the ground.  I jumped off the bike to assist but they were okay just shaken up a bit and the children fled.  It is just crazy.  Often children get killed as the ropes get tangled in the vehicles and drag the children.  Thank goodness that festival is over for this year.  Responsible parents, like Jagat, do not let their children do this.

At the orphanage NEF sponsors 6 children and they are remarkable kids.  One boy Prakash is having severe eye problems and his sponsor is helping to pay some medical costs for him.  We are trying to find a good private doctor as all the government doctors have not been able to help him.  I am trying to locate an eye doctor in Nanaimo, BC who comes here every year to do cataract surgeries and he may be able to put us in touch with a good doctor.  If anyone knows who this doctor is please let me know by email
I will try and get more photos up later as I have to go visiting now.  Hopefully the electric will be on later.

I first must tell you how much joy your letters and gifts bring to the children.  One girl yesterday said to me "do you have a photo of my sponsor"  I said know I did not and her face fell.  When I hand out letters the children eyes light up and they rush to their bed to sit and read them.  If only you could be me at these moments.  Samjhana, downstairs from us, got her first sponsor gift, letter and photos this time as she has a new sponsor.  What joy.  Her sponsor is an airline pilot with Air Canada and sent his picture beside the airbus he flies dressed in his uniform.  You can just imagine what she thought of that.  I think it made her feel very, very special and the shirt they sent her she has not taken off since I gave it to her other than to put on her school uniform and she probably has it under that!!  Her story and photos I am going put up here tomorrow as she leads a very hard life for a 12 yr. old girl.