Below are emails from a volunteer in the field. Mike is a volunteer with Global Reach
International. He stays in Nepal for two
months each year and volunteers his time.
Myself and a fellow volunteer from Global Reach International visited
Mike at his sites in Nepal last week (week of March 12 – 16, 2013). Please enjoy the pictures and emails from his
Mon jan 21
Four days, four flights of 27 hours check-in, security and passport control are now behind me with one day rest
in Bangkok. I arrived Friday in Kathmandu in the late afternoon. It was good to
see the 85 children once again. Distributed the small candy canes before trying
to unpack by candle light. I must adjust to the 14 hours of electric a day.
Sat jan 21
Off to Paropakar Orphanage and the
47 boys, promised 'sports shoes' when I return in three weeks from the Lumbini
area in the south..Raju, Susan and Sanjee took me outside Kathmandu to the
Disabled home for 34 deaf, blind and handicapped children. A marvel to see the
wrok of Daya Ram and his two sons are doing. The 13 deaf are learning computers
skills. The Braille printer, donated from France, is being used to make clear
braille plastic slips pasted in story books so the blind children can also
'read' children's stories...Surjan is in Hospital for a second knock-knee
operation and will walk normally in a few months. After the six programs in the
South I will see if there are enough funds to whlp with on the the two needed
leg operations still needed at the home.....I am leaving for the South tonight
by bus with two intactlarge crystal vases, wedding presents, for a ten hour
overnight bus ride, my clothes are drying, I am recently bathed and i got
antibiotics for a persistent chest cold.
All is well.
I moved into the Everest Hotel last Friday
near the Eye Hospital in Bhairahawa which has slightly warmed water, two
electric bulbs by generator power 16 hours a day and a special price of $8 a
day because of the social programs I do in the area. I moved from my friend
Amit's village of Balwari up the road by bus because the household is preparing
for Dr. Amit's marriage and the influx of relatives at the home next week.
I visited Mina Devi's home for 14
orphans and set plans for a donation ceremony on Feb 3rd. I met 17 year old
Baba Ram Bandari, a success story of this women's home, who was saved from
child labor at age seven and is now studying for engineering.
I also fixed the donation date for
the 27 blind and low-vision students at the home connected to the Santi
Government School. I was glad to hear that Jamuna,Santa and Amod left the home
to attend a College that caters to the visually handicapped..
I hope the weather breaks on the
plains soon. 50 degrees, no heat, foggy and overcast until 1 or 2 pm for a few
hours of sunshine. wash takes 2-3 days to dry.
all is well.
Friday, Feb 1st. I went to the Lions
Eye Hospital by small Nepalese bus for one hour with Susan a former student. He
is in town with his new wife Manju from Pyuthan in the Hilly Region for Dr
Amit's wedding in a few days. The $500 donation was accepted by Dr Anil and
will be used for the distribution of 'specs' to needy children on an individual
Mon, Feb 3rd. A very low key
donation ceremony for Maina Devi's one year old home for her fourteen
orphans.(thankfully, this was Amit's doing) Sliced apples, buscuits and tea for
five of us and an hour visit and a $500 donation for our seventh year.
Tues. Feb 4th.The Santi Blind and
Low vision Home for 27 children is connected to a large government school and a
large display of gratitude was shown for the $900 donation. The 27 children
gathered in front of five speakers. I was presented with two malas -huge
marigold necklaces-, Tika, red powder on the forehead by all four speakers, a
Nepalese cap, a framed 'letter of appreciation' and a gift of a metal
temple.This is their custom and i must allow. A curried chicken dinner was
given in my honor at the home so i spent the night in the dorm room for 15
children. A hard bed and too much talking gave me a restless night.
I took my pants and shirt to be
pressed at a tailor using a huge charcoal filled iron. I found a matching tie
in the market for the handmade jacket to be picked-up today for Amits wedding
Tomorrow I go to the Butwal Lions
Hospital for an all day school eye examination of a local school.
all is well.
Wed, Feb 6th. It was raining so
plastic pants and jacket were provided for me in the Butwal Lions Hospital for
the 45 minute motorbike west of here to the Shree Sandraskar Secondary School
where 275 children had their eyes examined. I got a first hand look at the
poverty in the rural areas where some families can not afford a $7 pair of
glasses. A eye chart was taped to the outside wall, a bench pulled from a
classroom and the meters measured off for the examination to begin. Three
children will get free glasses from our donation.
Thur. Feb 7th. Amit's Wedding. 15
cars and a bus loaded with friends and relatives of the grooms left Balwari
Village for the 30 minute ride to Bhairahawa. We stopped two streets from the
brides home and the wedding ceremony. In front of a marigold decorated car a
band played, the troop danced and slowly walked to the bride's home. The long
ceremony was performed by a Bhraman priest while we ate a vegetarian dinner.
The women wore gold and very beautiful saris.
I have go and get ready for the
Grooms party at Amits house. This is considered our reception party.
tomorrow Kotihowa village and a
community center and a small donation. I will sleep over at Roshan Pun's home.
all is well.
Thur - feb 14 I counted 15mosquitoes
in 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. I
said 'goodbye' over the last three days to friends, hospital staff, \santi
school teachers and the Butwal Lions....I took a 5 hour, 4:30 am bus to
Bharatpur and the eye hospital there. Tulsi and Mr Kandel will manage the
School Screening Program from here in the Ghurka district this year.. I met
Chhaya, an assistant manager, who could possible help ;manage the funds being
sent to an orphanage in the Chitwan area by Global Reach another Non Profit in
Fri - fev 15th I left Bhratpur by plane for a 30 min flight to Kathmandu. Last
year the day bus took 18 hours with two 'strikes' blocking the road fror hours
and numerous 'jams'...today was 'sports day' with half-a-day of classes. I have
out candy canes to the hostel children in the evening because is was too tired
to go to the shop for cookies.
Sat - feb 16 The Disabled Home Assn.
I met a UN worker's wife who secured
a plot of land across the road from a Swiss group for a permanent home for the
34 disables children. the cost of the building is being planned.....I
recognized the small boy's face but something seemed unfamiliar until i
realized it was little Surjan walking normally after two leg operations a year
apart....good news. we will pay for the leg operations for two children here at
the home. They are both charity cases operated on by the doctors free of cost
and we will only pay for the supplies and medicines.
Sun - feb 17 - A Class Picnic at St
rained all night before the event so the ground was wet when we arrived at the
park. one boy fell and hit his head and had to be taken to Hospital. The
children enjoyed the time away from home and school. Music was played and
dancing went on for hours. The rain started again so we ran for the buses. We
were stuck in a 'jam' for what seemed like hours. I felt like i was in an
unsupervised lunch room of eight graders. It was pouring rain, the bus door did
not shut, the noise was deafening, the windshield wipes did not work so the bus
driver reached out the window with a water bottle to spray the window. I was
cold and wet and had an ' what am I doing here moment'
Fri - Mar 1 Farewell Party for Class
10 - given by class 8 and 9 at St Devi's Academy went well in the outside
raised stage area covered by a tin roof. A tent top covered the students and
guests. Nepalese folk dancing, comedy skits, snacks and awards were part of the
farewell. the afternoon ended with all three classes jumping and dancing
onstage to 'Condom Star'.
- A taxi ride for $3.50 to Chandra's
Flag shop to meet Amit from Paropakar Orphanage and give him the 46000 rupies
for the 47 pair of 'sports shoes' -$11.50 a pair - for tomorrow nights
- onto the Disabled Children's Home
with Chandra by motorbike. I again met Maggie from Austrailia with the UN
husband, and she informed me that the plans for the first modern disabled home
in Nepal are still in progress. This is a wonderful thing and we should be
proud to be part of this support for Daya the last five years.
Sat - Mar 2 - Chandra and I left the
home by noon and i told Daya Ram that next friday would be my last visit to the
home this year and that I would bring the 38000 rupies for the two charity leg
operations for Mina and Ambika.
I saw the happiness and excitement
in the children's eyes in anticipation of a new pair of 'sport shoes' as
Chandra dropped me at the door of Paropakar. All we waiting for me and the
locked library was opened and the distribution of 'sport shoes' began. As is
the custom, i was to hand each pair to everyone. After a dinner of rice and
curry vegetables my eight pound birthday cake was brought into the room and
cut. I am fairly certain that this was the only piece of cake these children
will have until I return next year.
Sun - mar 3 - I returned to St
Devi's expecting to have class but there is a 'Bandha' ,a general protest for
the death of a student hit by a bus. All schools were closed.
I sat with Devi in the school yard
and she pointed to children and told me their stories of abandonment, neglect
and poverty. She interjected her stories with phrases like 'I've been keeping
for two years', 'mother washing clothes', ' what to do?' , 'father died', ' I
can not chase', ' grandmother pays little little', ' I can feed but who will
pay tuition?' I saw the burden on the face of this good women has in managing a
school and home...