Below are emails from a volunteer in the field. Mike is a volunteer with Global ReachInternational. He stays in Nepal for twomonths each year and volunteers his time. Myself and a fellow volunteer from Global Reach International visitedMike at his sites in Nepal last week (week of March 12 – 16). Please enjoy the pictures and emails from histrip. The highlighted words are for this project.
Mon jan 21
Four days, four flights of 27 hours, check-in, security and passport control are now behind me with one day restin Bangkok. I arrived Friday in Kathmandu in the late afternoon. It was good tosee the 85 children once again. Distributed the small candy canes before tryingto unpack by candle light. I must adjust to the 14 hours of electric a day.
Sat jan 21
Off to Paropakar Orphanage and the47 boys, promised 'sports shoes' when I return in three weeks from the Lumbiniarea in the south..Raju, Susan and Sanjee took me outside Kathmandu to theDisabled home for 34 deaf, blind and handicapped children. A marvel to see thewrok of Daya Ram and his two sons are doing. The 13 deaf are learning computersskills. The Braille printer, donated from France, is being used to make clearbraille plastic slips pasted in story books so the blind children can also'read' children's stories...Surjan is in Hospital for a second knock-kneeoperation and will walk normally in a few months. After the six programs in theSouth I will see if there are enough funds to whlp with on the the two neededleg operations still needed at the home.....I am leaving for the South tonightby bus with two intactlarge crystal vases, wedding presents, for a ten hourovernight bus ride, my clothes are drying, I am recently bathed and i gotantibiotics for a persistent chest cold.
I moved into the Everest Hotel last Fridaynear the Eye Hospital in Bhairahawa which has slightly warmed water, twoelectric bulbs by generator power 16 hours a day and a special price of $8 aday because of the social programs I do in the area. I moved from my friendAmit's village of Balwari up the road by bus because the household is preparingfor Dr. Amit's marriage and the influx of relatives at the home next week.
I visited Mina Devi's home for 14orphans and set plans for a donation ceremony on Feb 3rd. I met 17 year oldBaba Ram Bandari, a success story of this women's home, who was saved fromchild labor at age seven and is now studying for engineering.
I also fixed the donation date forthe 27 blind and low-vision students at the home connected to the SantiGovernment School. I was glad to hear that Jamuna,Santa and Amod left the hometo attend a College that caters to the visually handicapped..
I hope the weather breaks on theplains soon. 50 degrees, no heat, foggy and overcast until 1 or 2 pm for a fewhours of sunshine. wash takes 2-3 days to dry.
Friday, Feb 1st. I went to the LionsEye Hospital by small Nepalese bus for one hour with Susan a former student. Heis in town with his new wife Manju from Pyuthan in the Hilly Region for DrAmit's wedding in a few days. The $500 donation was accepted by Dr Anil andwill be used for the distribution of 'specs' to needy children on an individualbasis.
Mon, Feb 3rd. A very low keydonation ceremony for Maina Devi's one year old home for her fourteenorphans.(thankfully, this was Amit's doing) Sliced apples, buscuits and tea forfive of us and an hour visit and a $500 donation for our seventh year.
Tues. Feb 4th.The Santi Blind andLow vision Home for 27 children is connected to a large government school and alarge display of gratitude was shown for the $900 donation. The 27 childrengathered in front of five speakers. I was presented with two malas -hugemarigold necklaces-, Tika, red powder on the forehead by all four speakers, aNepalese cap, a framed 'letter of appreciation' and a gift of a metaltemple.This is their custom and i must allow. A curried chicken dinner wasgiven in my honor at the home so i spent the night in the dorm room for 15children. A hard bed and too much talking gave me a restless night.
I took my pants and shirt to bepressed at a tailor using a huge charcoal filled iron. I found a matching tiein the market for the handmade jacket to be picked-up today for Amits weddingon Thursday.
Tomorrow I go to the Butwal LionsHospital for an all day school eye examination of a local school.
Wed, Feb 6th. It was raining soplastic pants and jacket were provided for me in the Butwal Lions Hospital forthe 45 minute motorbike west of here to the Shree Sandraskar Secondary Schoolwhere 275 children had their eyes examined. I got a first hand look at thepoverty in the rural areas where some families can not afford a $7 pair ofglasses. A eye chart was taped to the outside wall, a bench pulled from aclassroom and the meters measured off for the examination to begin. Threechildren will get free glasses from our donation.
Thur. Feb 7th. Amit's Wedding. 15cars and a bus loaded with friends and relatives of the grooms left BalwariVillage for the 30 minute ride to Bhairahawa. We stopped two streets from thebrides home and the wedding ceremony. In front of a marigold decorated car aband played, the troop danced and slowly walked to the bride's home. The longceremony was performed by a Bhraman priest while we ate a vegetarian dinner.The women wore gold and very beautiful saris.
tomorrow Kotihowa village and acommunity center and a small donation. I will sleep over at Roshan Pun's home.
Thur - feb 14 I counted 15mosquitoesin the restroom of the downstairs restaurant of the Everest Hotel last night.It is time to leave this area. My work is completed on the southern plains. Isaid 'goodbye' over the last three days to friends, hospital staff, \santischool teachers and the Butwal Lions....I took a 5 hour, 4:30 am bus toBharatpur and the eye hospital there. Tulsi and Mr Kandel will manage theSchool Screening Program from here in the Ghurka district this year.. I metChhaya, an assistant manager, who could possible help ;manage the funds beingsent to an orphanage in the Chitwan area by Global Reach another Non Profit inNew Jersey.Fri - fev 15th I left Bhratpur by plane for a 30 min flight to Kathmandu. Lastyear the day bus took 18 hours with two 'strikes' blocking the road fror hoursand numerous 'jams'...today was 'sports day' with half-a-day of classes. I haveout candy canes to the hostel children in the evening because is was too tiredto go to the shop for cookies.
Sat - feb 16 The Disabled Home Assn.
I met a UN worker's wife who secureda plot of land across the road from a Swiss group for a permanent home for the34 disables children. the cost of the building is being planned.....Irecognized the small boy's face but something seemed unfamiliar until irealized it was little Surjan walking normally after two leg operations a yearapart....good news. we will pay for the leg operations for two children here atthe home. They are both charity cases operated on by the doctors free of costand we will only pay for the supplies and medicines.
Fri - Mar 1 Farewell Party for Class10 - given by class 8 and 9 at St Devi's Academy went well in the outsideraised stage area covered by a tin roof. A tent top covered the students andguests. Nepalese folk dancing, comedy skits, snacks and awards were part of thefarewell. the afternoon ended with all three classes jumping and dancingonstage to 'Condom Star'.
- A taxi ride for $3.50 to Chandra'sFlag shop to meet Amit from Paropakar Orphanage and give him the 46000 rupiesfor the 47 pair of 'sports shoes' -$11.50 a pair - for tomorrow nightsdistribution.
- onto the Disabled Children's Homewith Chandra by motorbike. I again met Maggie from Austrailia with the UNhusband, and she informed me that the plans for the first modern disabled homein Nepal are still in progress. This is a wonderful thing and we should beproud to be part of this support for Daya the last five years.
Sat - Mar 2 - Chandra and I left thehome by noon and i told Daya Ram that next friday would be my last visit to thehome this year and that I would bring the 38000 rupies for the two charity legoperations for Mina and Ambika.
I saw the happiness and excitementin the children's eyes in anticipation of a new pair of 'sport shoes' asChandra dropped me at the door of Paropakar. All we waiting for me and thelocked library was opened and the distribution of 'sport shoes' began. As isthe custom, i was to hand each pair to everyone. After a dinner of rice andcurry vegetables my eight pound birthday cake was brought into the room andcut. I am fairly certain that this was the only piece of cake these childrenwill have until I return next year.
Sun - mar 3 - I returned to StDevi's expecting to have class but there is a 'Bandha' ,a general protest forthe death of a student hit by a bus. All schools were closed.
I sat with Devi in the school yardand she pointed to children and told me their stories of abandonment, neglectand poverty. She interjected her stories with phrases like 'I've been keepingfor two years', 'mother washing clothes', ' what to do?' , 'father died', ' Ican not chase', ' grandmother pays little little', ' I can feed but who willpay tuition?' I saw the burden on the face of this good women has in managing aschool and home...
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