09/26/2010 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.