A Travellerspoint blog

THE GOODBYE

sunny 28 °C

This will be the last blog entry.

It was an exciting day on Saturday – the children have been waiting for the last couple of weeks to play soccer – they are pretty excited. After four hours sleep as this was the day after going to the hospital I was a little tried. I had to get up early like 5:00 as Auntie is supposed to be on bed rest. I have never cook for 20 children – I do not know how to make del baat and do not know how to use propane – in other words I am in big trouble. I enlist the help of Hari and Doma – well more then enlist – they actually know what they are doing so take everything over. I have the task of keeping the other children quiet – well what better way to keep everyone quiet but to clean – clean, clean, clean – and they do. They get right into it.

After everything is clean and Lillian and Tim arrive it is soccer time. It is an extremely hot day – but no rain. All the children are fitted with their soccer outfits – thanks to all of those that donated the jerseys, shorts, socks, balls and pump. It is a gift that these children will enjoy for a long time. Yes we are ready to go – I tried to play but I am not good at all – I am scared the ball will hit me. But the children have a wonderful time and as it gets hotter the socks come off – then the shoes. It gets too hot to play so we need to go in. We do things indoors and outdoors like blow bubbles – which is always fun. However soccer is more fun so we are back out there. Some of the children do not put their outfits on again as they do not want to get them dirty. That’s alright we had fun anyway.

After another round of soccer Lillian and I are cooking supper tonight. The plan is to cook pasta with sauce (with chicken) – yes that was an experience. Have you ever tried to make a pasta dinner for 20 children and 4 adults on a one ring propane stove – well we did it !!! The children loved it – I think they were starved by the time we finished.

After that it was chocolate cookie time and quite time – Lillian and Tim left to go back to their host family. It was a very busy, busy day and so much fun.

The next day I was leaving. I decided to leave on the Sunday as I still have not finished my shopping (I never did finish it – I am a little tried and have an itchy oozing rash – not pretty) – I got up early to pack.

It was a very difficult day – first person was Auntie – and she sobbed - she does not speak English and was speaking Nepali – I know that I cannot cry not now. All the children are aware I am leaving – they now call me - mother Lise or sister – they are hanging all over me. They are asking me to stay – I tell them that Lillian and Tim are here and they are so much fun. It’s tough – the children pick flowers and start giving them to me. They want hugs but more than that they want promises that I will return. The boys who run the orphanage come – they present me with a certificate and a buddaist scarf – the children are more than aware this is goodbye. I decide to let them leave for school as opposed to leaving first – they leave – well everyone but a few. I go upstairs to see Doma and Kimjong – they are in Auntie’s room just sobbing – I cannot cry as it will make things worse – all I can do is whole each one of them. And reassure them that I will not forget them. One of the boys who run the orphanage says that I am their mother as they have seen more of me then their own parents. I find that to be so sad. I have spent but a nano second in their lives yet to these two girls especially I am truly their mother. That breaks my heart.
I need to leave – as I leave the three of them are looking out of the window blowing me kisses. I get into the car – I will be all right – my life will go on like it always has but I can’t help but think of these children – they have become so important to me and my life has changed once again. I will carry them in my heart forever – I will be fine.

Just as the car is pulling out – Sher Bar comes running – he hands me a bouquet of flowers he has put together and tied in a big red ribbon something he must have saved– he gives them to me and says – mother this is for you – I will never forget you -I love you.

Then I cried.

Posted by LiseD 07:01 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

That's What Friends are For

Sometimes we meet people and it is for a reason and sometimes that reason turns out to be a totally different reason – one that you would never expect. Such is with my taxi driver – Ganesh - I have been using him to get around when I need a taxi if he is available. I have gotten to know his wife – the Tang Lady and his little girl. I pay him well – sometimes a little too well however I have grown attached to his family and I am aware of their struggles. The day started of like any other day – with the children and getting them off to school. Hari and I were to go to ENPHO as we had to pick up some more sand as well I had to finish off what I needed to do. However Hari was delayed as he had to take Kimjong to the doctors – so I did not leave until much later. By the time I finished at ENPHO it was getting late and I had to meet some people in Thamel – supper and fun – however by the time I reached Thamel it was too late as we were meeting at a location then deciding where we go for supper. I decided to return to the orphanage. When I returned Bhagabati and Auntie were leaving to go to the doctor. Auntie did not look well – she had been ill the last couple of days. She was wobbly on her feet – so we walked to the local client but all there was was a pharmacist. In this country after a year pharmacist can diagnosis and prescribe medication. I said no we needed a doctor and we would go to the Teaching Hospital. Unsure what to do I was able to find G at his parents place and ask if he could drive us. He agreed right away.

I had experienced this hospital on my last visit as Sam became before ill so at least I was prepared (well sort of) for what it would look like. Ganesh told me go in and go to the front counter to get a chart started. He was going to park the taxi and come in. What the counter was a place where everything happened – and a crowd of people pushing and shoving. I don’t speak the language so certainly was at a disadvantage. Next thing Ganesh was beside me – he just pushed forward and next thing a chart was going to be started. So the nurse (or sister as they call them ) came over – did a quick assessment and determined what test had to be done. We were given a piece of paper. Ganesh tells me now we must go to the pharmacist outside of the hospital to get these things. The things were for blood test and some type of medication. We then need to go and pay for the test – which is in another part of the hospital. We pay for the test as well as to see a doctor and then return to Auntie and Bhagabati. We then need to get a sister to come and draw blood – Ganesh does this. Sister comes over and draws the blood and then gives the vials to us to hold and shake – well at least the ones with lids. We then need to bring them to the lab – which is on the other side of the hospital. We are told it will take an hour – however Ganesh tells me because she is lower caste it will take much longer.

We return to the emergency room – this room and that is what it is – is full of people. The bed Auntie is on has 4 other people. People with all sorts of illness – broken bones – some dying. There is no dignity here – which was apparent when they did an EKG on an elder women and just opened up her dress to attach these ancient EKG things. The place is extremely dirty and not sterile at all. All the equipment is from the 50s – when I look around I think how fortunate I am to be from Canada. I feel I have nothing at all to complaint about – believe me this experience just reinforces this. Family or friends are responsible to bring food and to run to the pharmacist – this is even when you are admitted. And it is pay as you go system. You can’t pay – you go !

Ganesh is so good – he goes and stands by the lab – the lab throws results out of this little opening – and you have to find the name of the person and their results. So you could end up looking at everyone’s results. It does take an hour and half - with Ganesh pressuring them to get the test results for Auntie. After we get the results we need to take them back to a sister who attaches them to a chart. After that at some point a doctor comes around with a sister talking about all the patients – everyone listening. After that is done you need to wait until your name is called. You then need to go to one side of the desk where the Doctor decides what is needed - this is all done without examining a patient and again in front of a crowd. In Auntie’s case they decide to call a specialist – which will take another half hour or so. We decide to get Bhagabati out of there for a bit. So we go outside to a little outdoor restaurant – she has momos and something to drink.
We return and Auntie is seeing the other Doctor – he then starts to ask her a lot of personal questions in front of everyone. After sometime he decides she needs another test – another trip outdoors to get the test and return. So we wait. The Doctor decides she does not to be admitted – however he writes a prescription for 7 different things. Another trip to pick everything up – as the pharmacist starts looking for everything – as there are boxes all over the floor and shelves – he can’t find something and needs to run over somewhere else. He returns and then we are ready to go.

Six hours later we are on the way home. Once we get home I want to pay Ganesh – he is so sweet – he says for you and your orphanage it’s free – they can call me anytime – day or night. I feel so fortunate to have met Ganesh and his family. He is truly a knight in shining amour!!!

I have been extremely fortunate while I have been in Nepal. Raju and Sheba (the driver who took us to Serhket) came on their day off to install the biosand water filters in the orphanage. It was a good thing that a new voluntee , Tim was here – getting the filter up to the kitchen which is on the 3rd floor was a little difficult. When I told him the filters were very heavy he thought I met girl heavy – he quickly realized – no I mean heavy ! But we got it up there – or the boys did. Not only that but Sheba painted them for us. He also returned on another day off to drop of the additional sand we required. Raju also came to the orphanage to say good-bye but as well to drop off a whole bunch of bananas for the children – which they quickly gobbled up.

To Lillian the volunteer who gave me a handful of real Swiss chocolate for my trip home. To the three boys involved in supporting the orphanage for welcoming me into their homes and into their families. I am so grateful – I feel so lucky to have met so many people who without question have gone out of their way to assist and help. People who I hardly know that have shown me so much kindness from their hearts and expecting nothing in return. The majority of these people have little but give so much,

Maybe there is a difference – when at home there is just a sense of taking things for granted – here being out of my element and everything being so unfamiliar I can’t take things for granted. Maybe – just maybe there is a listen to learn here.

Posted by LiseD 06:56 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

The Children

sunny 30 °C

You can see their pictures on Flickr real soon.

Hari Tamang – not Arti as I thought his name was – sometimes I have a hard time understanding the accent – but this one was way off. Hari is 17 years old and comes from the Dolkha District in the Janakpur zone. Here is his story as he wrote it:
My name is Hari Tamang. I live in the Dolakha District which is located at the eastern part of Nepal. And it’s far from the capital city (Kathmandu). There are five family members in my family. I am in the middle one. I have one elder and younger brother. My elder brother could get the chance to go school so that he work in the field with my parents. My parents were farmer. Even though they are farmer they sent me to school for good education. And also work hard in class and got a good remarks from schools. In my school life there are several problems because of my parents poor economic condition. I learn struggles in my school life. And I passed still from my village school by getting 1st division with good marks. And my aim is to be Electrical Engineering. So that I came to capital city. I consult in KIT College which is famous in this city. When I consult with the principal he said I need nearly $3200 for completing the Diploma in Engineering but my parents are unable to pay this much amount of money because of poor economic condition.

My story of Hari – When I arrived at the orphanage I met Hari for the first time. Hari is a worker at the orphanage – he gets room and board free plus a few rupees for pocket money. What strikes you immediately about Hari is that he is extremely polite and soft spoken. Hari is completing his grade 12 and his day starts very early as he needs to be at school by 6 a.m. – he returns in the afternoon to complete various chores at the orphanage. He is tried as he carries such a heavy load. The opportunity to work at the orphanage is not the best as it often interferes with his school work. In order for Hari to continue going to school this was the only option so he had to leave his village and family behind. For him education is a way out of poverty – it may be his only way out. In order to get a scholarship he needs to be at the top of his class – he certainly is near the top but unfortunately is not first in his class. He completed the Biosand Water Filtration training and is hoping to also do this to earn extra funds if possible. The words I would use to describe Hari are – kind hearted, gentle, smart, quick learner and grateful for everything. The funds for him to complete schooling - $3200 for the three years is impossible – his parents made a decision to continue to send him to school despite the difficult situation this put them in – in this country to often the basics such as being able to feed your family comes at a cost of breaking the cycle of poverty. They had to let their son go – he is their hope to break out of the cycle of poverty.

Sher Bahadur Budha – AKA – Sher Bar - I remember Sher Bar when I was at the orphanage 2 years ago. He is 15 years old and is in class 7. He has been at the orphanage since 2005. He has about 3 years left before he needs to leave the orphanage. His talent is art – he is really amazing – I noticed this last time I was here. He is a very handsome boy – and is easy going and quick to smile. Pat felt he was a little distant – I guess because I knew him before I did not feel that. Sher Bar may act like he is tough and doesn’t need that girly stuff I think that what makes him seem distant – but with him I hug him freely and he actually comes to look for hugs or positive words. I call him my “big louse” – the other children find this really funny – he just smiles. I am unsure what the future holds for him – he works hard in school and does well however he is more of a dreamer. I only hope he can use his artistic ability somehow – somewhere.

Kunjang Lama – she is 14 years old in class 7. She has been at the orphanage since 2006. She is a little bit of a thing who has been extremely ill during my stay. She has been unable to eat rice – and since this is the staple of the orphanage diet she is wasting away. She is on medication and has been on various meds – nothing seems to help. She was taken to the “witch doctor” (as the children call it) – to see if this would help. Nothing so far. She is a very bright student and works very hard. She is as cute as a button. She loves to be hug and held – and often she would just hold my hand. She really liked Jessica and wished she could have stayed longer. For her it was having contact from another close to her age from a different part of the world. She was so toldly taken by Jessica.

Doma – she is 13 years old in class 6. Doma has been at the orphanage since 2005. When I arrived at the orphanage Doma appeared to be really sad. I know from last time she really missed her village up in the mountains and her family. There are a few children that I would pack up in my suitcase and take home and she is one of them. She has the most amazing smile with dimples. She really needs to work hard in school but she is a very hard working student. She is quick to laugh and loves to tease. She does not like the screaming of the little ones and will often go to the girls room to do her work or do art work. I was hoping that the room I was using could be used for Kunjang and Doma – they need their own space. Unfortunately that is not to be – which makes me sad as I know it would be so much better for them. They currently share a room with 6 other children.

Bhagabati Acharya – she is 12 years old and in class 5. She has been at the orphanage for 5 years. I call her little mother as she has all those instincts and is always helping out. She was really ill when I arrived and she has the worse case of lice. Her hair is much longer now and to cut it would be such a shame but I think in the next two weeks if it does not get under control I fear it will need to be cut. Whenever I see her I automatically pick nits even when hugging her – I can’t help it. She is a very caring little girl that is extremely smart. One night she said – mother you care for us because you came back. Lots of volunteers say they will come back but they never do – they don’t care. I had to explain to her that sometimes people do think they will come back but things happen and other times it is easier to say they will come back then to say goodbye because they don’t want them to think they don’t care. This is a lesson to remember – even when I think it doesn’t really matter as these children have lots of volunteers coming in and out of their lives – it really does.

Prakash Sherpa – he is 11 years old in class 4. He has been at the orphanage since 2005 and did not attend school until he arrived. Macho Man would be best to describe him – however he likes to be teased and does not shy away from hugs. With the children I often hug, pat or rub backs or sometimes gently shake them by the shoulders. I find they seek this out – the power of human touch can never be under estimated. Last time I was here and again this time – until I was corrected I called him Sim. He was not happy about that. He is very fit and good at sports. School work – not so much – but he does make an effort but can easily be seen playing as opposed to doing homework.

Ramesh Tamang –he is 11 years old in class 4. He has been at the orphanage for 4 years. He is my ear boy – he was bitten by a bug of some kind – likely one of those killer mosquitoes – and his ear became infected and then he ended up with a really swollen gland and ear infection. These children often get various infections – a little cut can quickly turn into a major infection as they have nothing in their bodies to fight it off. With Ramesh I had to chase him down (really chase him down) as he would often avoid me as I was the one that cause pain. His outside ear was very infected and I had to clean it with q-tip and hot water – and it hurt. Also his meds where very big so I cut them down – I never knew if he took them or just threw them away. He really didn’t say anything to me and I wondered if he could talk. He talks very well but not to me. He just nods his head or just looked at me. Whatever it didn’t stop me from hugging him either.

Rajesh Bhandari – 10 years old in class 4. He has been at the orphanage for 6 years. Another child with the most wonderful smile and a twinkle in his eye – always quick to laugh. One day we were walking back from the vegetable seller and he told me – my grandmother died today. She was old. And my mom will die soon to as she is sick. He said it so casually – no big deal. I was a little taken a back. It did matter as he grabbed my hand really tight - he is another one I would take in my suitcase. While he is quick to laugh there is a sense of sadness that hangs over him. I see this after the children have had their evening meal. Just sitting beside – he liked to play with my hair – just gently touching it – when I asked why do you do that – he replied I use to do this to my mother.

Sajan Karki – 10 years old in class 4. Has been at the orphanage for 3 years. Best way to describe him – major clinger but also very helpful with crowd management – he would organize the children in a line when I was handing something out. He was very high needs and often was by my side. Very talkative and would explain what the other children were trying to say. He required major hugging and attention. He quickly would move from adult to adult – likes to be in the thick of things. He also had a major crush on Jessica – as Jessica will see when I bring back a suitcase full of drawings for her. He loves doing crafts – he as well has artistic ability. If you show him a picture – he can draw it easily.

Nabin Shahi – 11 years old in class 4. He has been at the orphanage for 4 years. He did not attend school before coming to the orphanage. This is I want to be cool too kid. He is so not cool but tries so hard. Unfortunately the older children tell him do to something or go get something and he runs to do it just to win favour – he is very happy to do whatever. He tries hard and gets very excited about things and talks very fast.

Sim Bahadur Tamang – AKA – Sim Bar – 13 years old in class 3. He has been in the orphanage for 3 years and did not attend school prior to coming. He is small for his age due to malnutrition and I am unsure if he will ever catch up. He is a kind and gentle boy. He is the under the radar child – and I had to seek him out. My rule – a hug and a positive word every day for each child. I tried but with a child like Sim he sometimes got missed.

Bishal Bham – 8 years old and in class 3. Has been at the orphanage for 5 years. Nickname – Spiderman. Why you may ask? Two reasons – one he wore the same spiderman shirt for the whole month I was there and second reason – he is fast moving and talking. He has spent most of his life in the orphanage – really does not wish to have adult contact – a bit is good enough for him. Not huggable. He is very entertaining to watch – I think he would grow up to be a good salesmen of some kind. He is a very quick learner.

Jitu. Sartia and Sahadev Tamang– These 3 children are Auntie’s children. Jitu is a very good looking boy who is very gentle and kind. Sarita is always hanging on you and likes a lot of attention. Sahadev is very quiet and would always surprise me – where did you come from – he is a very good boy. Auntie and her three children came to the orphanage as her husband died. The children are able to go to school and they have a home. However you have one person looking after all these children – cooking, cleaning and laundry.

Jaya Sundar Shahi – Jaya is new to the orphanage so I know little about him. He is class 2 and looks to be about 8 years old. He is extremely quiet and a little bit shy. He is one that can be easily missed. I think he has not learnt how to survive in this type of environment.
Palden Tamang – his birth date is unknown – but I would put him at 8 or 9 years of age – he is in class 2 and has been at the orphanage 4 years. He is a very nice boy and is just a lot of fun. He does have a difficult time in school but tries really hard. He liked to have his shoulders shaken or a quick rub on the side of the head. He does have a wonderful smile as well. Just a nice easy going – calm child which was a good thing.

Mindul Lama – her birth date is unknown – but I would think she would be 6 or 7 years old – she has been at the orphanage since 2008. She has a learning disability and is in kindergarten. She screams more then she talks. She is for ever making noises – she likes to come running at you and jump up. She would benefit from a more specialized placement that could give her more one to one attention - the other children seem to work around her. However she has her quite moments – which I dare say are very good and something I looked forward too.
Rachana Tamang – 7 years old and is in pre-school – she has been at the orphanage for 4 years. This is my baby. She is very small for her age and suffers from on-going infections – in some cases major infections. When I first met her two years ago I could not even hug her as she would shake. It took sometime but at the end I could give her a little hug. Now she seeks out hugs and was always holding my hand. Walking to school she had to walk with me – just holding my hand. She would say I am your baby your my mom. It was very difficult to say to her – I’m not your real mom. She is a lost little soul who so much needs to be loved. I worry a great deal about her as the on-going infections are very problematic – a little paper cut turned into an infected finger. She is my baby.

Raju Lama and Govinda Karki – these two little tykes are new to the orphanage so I am unsure how or why they ended up here – Raju is just full of energy and often is singing. Govinda is quieter and is very gentle. He is not afraid to jump in and play with the older boys. Mind you the cart wheel in the middle of the soccer game was interesting.

Those are the children. There are 20 of them plus Hari – not 23 like I thought – I just needed to count them.

Posted by LiseD 03:25 Archived in Nepal Tagged helpinghandsofhopefoundation-ne Comments (1)

Korean Bar-que – sounds like a good plan

Korean Bar-que – sounds like a good plan

Korean Bar-que
I was invited out for supper with Parkash and his family, Parkash is one of the people that support the orphanage – he first became involved when his father told him he had to do something. In his village two children – Mindul and Sim were left without a mother as she had passed away and their father was unable to work due to being handicapped. So he did by contacting someone he knew from his village who had started an orphanage in Budhanilkantha (I can now actually say the name – which is helpful when trying to take a taxi) – so in order to place the children he needed to pay – which he did. Pretty soon he got two of his friends involved and it went from there.
So Parkash, his wife and son take me for Korean Bar-que – not in your regular tourist place. I don’t know why but I threw all caution to the wind – I ate meat (which I never do when traveling), lettuce which was washed in local water – and all sorts of wonderful side dishes that I didn’t know what I was really eating. It tasted so good and it was just wonderful. Well wonderful until the middle of the night. I was staying in the hotel and by the next day I just wanted to go back to the orphanage as quickly as possible. I was a little green around the gills – I took any old taxi – mistake – this guy had to be the slowest taxi driver in Kathmandu as well as the most talkative. He could talk 5 different languages and spoke them all. By the time we got to the orphanage I was past green around the gills!!!
Will that be tuna or porridge?
I have porridge for breakfast – tuna and crackers for lunch and for supper soup or tuna – depending on my mood. For a snack I have two digestive cookies. It’s not the best balanced diet but it works. However my body has not started to eat it’s self – in other words I have not lost weight as my body is in starvation mod so all the little fat cells (which apparently I have a lot of) are puffing up. My daily calories are between 500 to 700 – sometimes I skip supper as I am not really hungry. So by the time I leave I figure I will weigh more than when I left. So my conclusion – I should have just eaten chocolate because it taste better then tuna.
I only carry the essentials
I have to thank Pat for leaving all the cans of tuna behind before she went to Singapore. I bet she is not eating tuna there!!!! However in saying that some of the cans of tuna do not have a pop up lid – I need a can opener – I wonder if she had one and took it with her? So I thought maybe I do have a can opener – you never know. So I checked every pocket in my suitcases and all I could find was a corkscrew. I guess I only carry the essentials. Mind you at this point I am throwing the corkscrew out and replacing it with a can opener – after all a lot wine these days have twist tops ! And if I find myself in a real need to have wine with cork I can always use my nail file – this actually works – a little tough but it can be done. Just make sure it is a steel nail file – well that only makes sense. Did you know that an emery board is different then a nail file???
Handy tip – how to catch bugs
I found this excellent way of ensuring there are no bugs in my room. I shut off all the lights and turn on my laptop – all the bugs come flying towards the screen – easy. However this does not work to catch the crawling type bugs that only come out at night – that I don’t like to think about, but at least I catch the flying ones or the ones that like to buzz around your head at night.
If you can’t cook stay out of the kitchen
Great plan – make some type of rice pudding for the children with protein powder – easy? I don’t think so – first you need to know how to make rice pudding. Thank goodness for the volunteer Lillian – she had more of an idea then I did. So off we go to the Penguin Department Store – which is my favourite place as it is the biggest store in the village – mind you are 7-11s are bigger but it has stuff like hairspray which Pat could not find anywhere else. So we buy 1 litter of milk – I am sure 1 litter of milk to make rice pudding for 23 children is more than enough. So we get back and ready to go – so the plan is cook the rice first – that’s good. We have a bit of a problem – we are not sure how to do that. We enlist Auntie’s help – I am trying to explain what we are doing by acting it out – Lillian thinks it is rather funny – and I am sure that Auntie does not have a clue as to what we are doing as we ended up with 12 cups of uncooked rice in the pressurer cooker. That is a whole bunch of rice !!!!! But that is OK – it will work. The rice here is drier – for some reason or that could be that it was cooked in the pressurer cooker – I really don’t know - I use Uncle Ben’s throw it in the microwave type rice. So after the rice is done we use about ¼ of it we add the litter of milk and protein powder - so that didn’t work. So off I go in search of milk and sugar. Not an easy task without walking all the way back to Penguin - so I check all the little stores – there are a lot of little stores . I find sugar at one and fresh milk at another (2 litters) – so we add the milk – it’s looking and tasting better. Lillian goes to pick up bananas and apples – this could work. The children come home from school – this is exciting – they are excited they are getting a snack until about 4 of them asked me what a snack was – so instead of doing my usual acting things out I show them. We put rice in a bowl- sugar on top and add the apples and bananas on top of that. There are two words that mean good – one means it’s just good and the other means it is great – we got the good – so that is a good start. As well this is not called rice pudding (I wouldn’t even have called it that either) but rice milk. So at the end of it all we make pretty dare good rice milk!!!
There should be a warning on the Moist Wipes
So if you have been reading the blog you are aware that we have been having a few plumbing issues – just a side note the plumber still hasn’t showed up yet. Anyway while Pat was here we came up with a plan in order to use our friend the squat toilet without passing out from the smell. So armed with a surgical mask, Febreze and toilet paper we are ready to go – only problem the surgical mask really doesn’t help. Well let’s be creative – let’s put one of those Moist Wipes inside the mask – it will kill the smell – that’s good ? Well it would have all worked except every time we took a breath the wipe stuck to our faces covering our mouth and nose – so we have a choice either pass out due to the smell or lack of air. I choose the lack of air because if I was going to pass out at least it would smell nice. Oh – I do have pictures of us being prepared to go in which I will put up on Flickr. And you will notice I am more prepared then Pat.
The Anti-Log
While Pat was here she kept going on about writing an anti-blog – but she did not have the time to do so. I already know her two biggest complaints – one that I get up early in the morning – she believes that I deliberately make noise to wake her up – which is so not true. What happened was one morning I got hot water – so she could have coffee when she woke up – very thoughtful of me –wouldn’t you say- I was putting some bowls on top of the jugs to keep the water hot and a couple of bowls fell off making a loud noise. Yes I realize it was something like 5:30 or so – but I did not do it on purpose.
Her other complaint was that I was always not sure which way to go – but I always managed to find the right direction at some point in time – and besides walking is good for you. She kept saying that they should spin me around three times and I would find my way. Well I know for a fact that without me she wouldn’t have found her way at all – she should be happy she had a free guide. And really if those are her two biggest complaints – I would think she has nothing to whine about. There were a few other things but I am sure they were so minor they weren’t worth writing about. I am sure of that.

Posted by LiseD 21:41 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

Crying in Never an Option

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Where do I start?? I don’t even know – maybe to say that I have been having problems with the internet so sorry for the blog entries coming in bunches. As well this is another long one as it covers several days.

Right now I feel like I am miles away from the orphanage but I am just in Thamel – I needed a hot shower (or 2or 3) and a clean space. Pat and Jessica left today so I will be on my own for the next 8 days or so. I am sad as they were not only great company but they worked so hard and were so easy going. And they did anything I told them to do – even when it could have killed them. It really wasn’t my fault but it all had to do with Fanta. I now know what it is and what it taste like but at the time I did not – we were waiting for our favourite taxi driver in front of his wife’s work – a little restaurant. He was going to be there in 5 or so minutes – his wife comes out and gives us “Fanta” – I give them the look and say drink it all – so they do – however she comes back out and fills it again – no big deal. Once we get into the taxi I say see it wasn’t that bad drinking “Fanta” – they both look at me and say that was Tang – made with their water. OOPS – I thought it was Fanta. Anyway we did survive as she used bottled water for us. No big deal – wants a little bit of Tang !!!

We certainly worked hard cleaning the shower rooms, squat toilet area and kitchen. We used so much cleaner that you could smell it by the front gate – I think we ended up using 4 bottles of cleaners. We enlisted the help of the other volunteer, Auntie and some of the children that weren’t in school. So armed with rubber gloves and scrubbers off we went to each of our areas. Pat cheated as she had the boys clean the squat toilet area in the boys’ area – they did do an excellent job. It is very hard to scrub concrete walls that are painted - we found this super duper cleaner which I will be bringing back a suitcase full of (I wonder if it is toxic? It doesn’t matter it is fantastic) but it took some of the paint off the walls – but it looks clean. We also put up some screens in the two bathrooms and two shower rooms so we can keep the windows open (cuts down on the smell) which keeps the bugs out. You think the mosquitoes are big in Alberta – nothing compared to these – flesh eating things that would poke right through your arm – not really but Jessica thought so. They are about 2 inches long – the biggest one we saw was about 4 inches – I am not scared of bugs but this one did scare me.

We did such a good job of cleaning that we killed the home where the – what we believe to be some type of parasite – worm like creatures that came crawling out of the girls shower room drain. So off we went in search of bleach – not easy to find at all – we finally found it the next day at the big supermarket store and poured it all over the floor and down the drain. The concern is that the girls sit on the floor to wash their clothes in that room as well shower without shoes. My job next week will be trying to get the girls to shower with their shoes on – they wear plastic sandals so they can easily wash everything down including their shoes.

After a day of cleaning we decided we needed some fun – we were a little tried but the kids came home from school – we needed something easy – we decided to blow bubbles. The thing that I find no matter how tried you are the children seem to bring your energy back. We had so much fun – especially after the volunteer showed us how to blow super big bubbles. It was so much fun and the children just had a great time.

The next day we took Auntie and two of the older girls – Doma (I want to bring her back with me) and KimJong shopping. They dressed up in their best clothes – they look so good. They all needed bras, underwear and feminine hygiene products. As we were shopping for bras and underwear Auntie came to me and asked me – she doesn’t speak English so she can of dragged me towards the purses – she really wanted one. So she picked one out - she was so happy. After our shopping we went for lunch. Auntie had never been in this type of restaurant before – it is more American style were the tourist go – she was just looking around. What I forgot to tell them was that all the workers in this restaurant are deaf – it is a place I found last time I was here and really felt they were doing something amazing as deaf people here would not have any real work or be paid even lower wages – this place helps. I should have said something as Jessica is speaking really loud thinking wants with this guy. Once I told her she just laughed – it would have been good to know before. It was one of those days that was such a happy one but yet sad. Sad that I know this is nothing – they need so much more. The feminine hygiene products will not last long – we were but somehow forgot to buy the reusable ones in Edmonton before we left. That will be something to bring for the next person that comes this way. We also know that 2 pairs of underwear will not last long. The look on their faces is something to remember – they were just so happy – especially Auntie. Here is a woman who looks after 23 children – 24/7 – no breaks – works so hard and has so little. She does have a home for her 3 children and herself – but her life changed so much after her husband died – she lived in a roam mountain village near her family – now she is here and there is no end in sight – without this place to live she and her 3 children would be homeless.

That evening we start our candle making – Pat and I brought 100 lbs of soya wax – heavy to carry around. However they will be able to make lots and lots of candles and as well gain a skill. We are teaching them how to add colour to the candles and scent. Pat found these wonderful pots however we can only make small batches at a time. We brought moulds, wicks and everything else to make the candles. We are finding that there is a big interest – on Wednesday of this week I will be teaching two of the guys that are involved with the orphanage as well as Raju (my son) – to make candles. Candles are big business here due to the regular power outages – they are amazed that the candles can burn up to three hours – they don’t really believe us. But they will see.

The candles turn out wonderful – and we will be making another hopefully 3 batches before I leave – I will bring a few back with me so people can see what the children did. I want to teach them how to layer different colours as well – this will make them look even more amazing. Every bit helps – we are trying so hard to think of ways to make this home better for the children and make them generate income so they can buy things that they need so much – basic items like shampoo, toothpaste, etc. As well as improving their diet of rice and daal. No protein at all in their diet. One of the reasons why so many of the children are so sick.

While we make candles the rest of the children watch “Cars” – they love it. And they are glued to the TV – there a little behind Canadian kids but we will teach them how to be glued to the TV set before we leave – only joking. It has been raining so much that we have not been able to do soccer yet. I am hoping to do that Saturday – if it does not rain and things dry up.

The next day is Pat and Jessica’s last day – we are planning on a whirl wind tour and shopping of Nepal. I take them to the places I like best – unfortunately when we get to Pashupati – the big Hindu temple and a very holy place – it happens to be a big day for burning of the bodies. I am really interested as one of the ceremonies is a Buddhist funeral – which is interesting as this is a Hindu site as well their funerals are much more colourful. I get the sense that Pat and Jessica do not share my interest. As well most of the Holy men are out – I am not sure where they are – usually there are a lot of them. So we leave. This place is also the place for the forgotten – elderly people and extremely handicapped. It is difficult to see this as these people are more than destitute if that even makes sense - In addition to this there are a lot of people just asking for money and we are being harassed by every person selling something. These people trying to sell things know some standard phrases like – it doesn’t cost to look – maybe you buy later.

After that experience we need to return to Patan as Pat needs to buy more singing bowls – so off we go. As we finish our shopping – we see the children or they see us and come running to us. Three volunteers – or people who know the children and spend time with them – have taken them on an outing – to the zoo – I would not recommend going to a zoo in a 3rd world country – not good as the children discover and then they take them on a tour of Patan. This is the tough part – they take the children out all day and they do not even have water for them. The children are thirsty and drink all our water. They also want to come with us – much to the upset of the volunteers. We need to be careful as we do not want to be viewed as stepping on their toes. Two of them have been involved on-going – I already know that they had issue with me – the children and the others involved with the orphanage talked about me coming back to Nepal and how excited they were – I was basically viewed by these people as the one the children talked about – how special. I try at every opportunity to ask their opinion about things and to praise their work and efforts. That’s all I can do.

After the children leave – we go shoe shopping – we decide that only people with very small feet can shop for shoes here as well. We are again followed by street vendors – however we discover they offer better deals then the ones in the stores – lesson – buy from street vendors and bargain – they will drop their prices quickly – very good deals.

The last place I want to take Pat and Jessica is my favourite place at the bottom of the Monkey Temple – the three big golden Buddha’s - they are impressive. Last time I was in Nepal I spent time here as I found it peaceful. Pat is memorized by them. But we must leave as we need to get back to the orphanage.

By the time we get back Jessica is very ill – she is so sick. This really isn’t the place to be sick as – sorry this is going to be gross – puking over our little balcony – as that is the only place – I could not image puking in the squat toilet – now that would be gross. When she has her moments of feeling a little better she does come out of the room – we give all the children those glow bracelets and necklaces – we shut off the lights. We have a lot of fun – they then want to dance – they have a CD – that would be disco dancing – you may not know this not only can I do Nepali dancing but I can disco. We have so much fun and just laugh and laugh !!!

The next day which would be Sunday here – but Saturday in Edmonton – Pat and Jessica are leaving. We have another sick child – Ramesh. It is something that is hard to figure out what is going on here – the outside of one ear looks like the skin is peeling and it is all infected – the ear is bleeding – it looks like from the inside and very swollen glands on the one side. No fever – it is just so odd. We will go back to the doctor.

Pat and Jessica must leave – two of the guys from the orphanage come to take them to the airport – they present each of them with a certificate and a Buddhist scarf – this scarf is given to someone you wish to honour on a high level. It is something like when they say Namaste to you and hold both hands in front of them – the higher the hands the more they respect you. Auntie cries when they leave – she is sad – they have been so good to her and they made her laugh – she gives Jessica her little tika – it was so sweet.
Off they go – they have so many suitcases that I cannot go to the airport – that is alright as I need to take Ramesh to the doctor. The doctor will not be in until 5:30 – however if you would like a ticket to see the Doctor that cost 200 rupees. We have a ticket.

I start investigating why the children are getting ill. They have different sores on their bodies as well. I discover that when they moved to this new place the children were doing much better – then the water supply changed so they ended up using well water – since that happened the children began getting sick. I don’t really know if the parasites that were found in the shower room could or would be in the water supply. That with the lack of protein could be the cause as they cannot fight off anything. New plan – Pat and I spoke about this before she left – the need to add protein to their diet – Jessica’s boyfriend Josh gave her some protein powder – we will use that to make rice pudding – or I will try to do this. As well add some eggs to their diet. To add protein to a diet when you never have had protein needs to be slowly – we will start with eggs for a few days then the rice pudding with protein powder added in. The other news is that the guys from ENPHO are finally returning today and Raju phoned me to say they will put the new water system in this week. This will also require learnings.

So much to do – in the next days that I have remaining – I need to just keep doing and not think about all this – I know if I do I will just cry – I feel so helpless – so much – to little – I guess I can only do what I can do. After a stay in the hotel I feel renewed – and clean – I make a list and schedule of things that need to be done – it’s a long one but I will do it. I also would like to give a list of things that volunteers can do when they are here and some suggestions – maybe that would help.

Now it is time to return – smiling, happy and just doing – there is no time for tears.

Posted by LiseD 21:59 Archived in Nepal Tagged of - nepal hands hope foundation helping Comments (0)

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