A Travellerspoint blog

Another Day in Nepal

September 6th

0 °C

It has been an interesting day – after getting the children off to school which was no easy task. One of the boys was not going to school as he did not have shoes – well guess what I just happened to have a pair (thanks to Sharon’s son who bought some shoes with his own money) – he was very excited and with a pair of thick socks – it all worked and off he went. Then I took two of the boys Arti and SherBar – out of school and off we went to other side of Kathmandu to start our training. It was a wild taxi ride through many a back road but we made it – a little late but we got there. We were met by the people I have been emailing with for the last several months and they were the nicest people ever. I am now looking for a wife for a 30 year old geologist who works for ENPHO full time as well as teaches at the university. Very nice guy – but he doesn’t believe in arranged marriages – I like to think about it as a match making service. So if you know anyone let me – I am sure with the right person he will appreciate my efforts,

Now back to the training – the training had a number of people attending all of whom were community mobilizers - they are doing some really interesting work and real grassroots community development, This is like the real stuff and for me it is so interesting to actually see the power of communities at work. I am very impressed by the ENPHO. The only issue is the training was in Nepalese – could be a problem for me !! As I have done a lot of research in regards to over all living standards and health issues in Nepal – from the slides I could figure what they were talking about well most of the time. During the training two people asked me if I understood was being said – I just shook my head no. They looked at each other and then said you look like you understand what is being said – I didn’t tell them it was a skill that I had developed over the years. The trainers were great and very lively so it was interesting to watch them. By mid-afternoon the boys and I had special training – hands on to start building a system for the orphanage. We (well the boys did) start to sort all the gravel and sand – very hard work which was made more difficult as the fine sand was wet. What I have learnt in this one day of training is that there is always a solution – you just need to be flexible and open to all possibilities. After trying a few different ways they figured it out. I would have never thought of adding more water to wet sand – but it worked, People keep coming by to help – even those that were finished working – they just didn’t have a problem in helping, It was a great experience and one that made us feel like part of the team. I was also able to see the mould that we bought to take to the village. It is much bigger than I thought. They also offered to do 4 sessions at the orphanage in regards to safe and healthy living conditions – another bonus which I will up on and hopefully they can have at least one session before I leave. It was a very busy day and we did not leave the training center until after 6 p.m. – and then another crazy taxi ride back to the orphanage.

By the time we got back to the orphanage the power was out, I forgot about those regular power outages, and the children were very excited – like really excited as they thought it was hair washing night. I could not find any crème rinse nor the soap that I want to use so it will have to wait until Tuesday night, I will go into the tourist area tomorrow as I will be able to find what I need. So instead we played card games by flash light – it all works,

September 7th another early morning with my children – I like to have something to give them every morning – so today it was hair things for the girls. When I asked the oldest girl what she would like – what would make her happy as she appears a little sad to me. She said bra and underwear for her and one of the other girls that need these things. So we will go shopping once Pat and Jessica arrive. The girls are very anxious to meet Jessica as she is 16 – this will work well.

Well it’s rainy season here and guess what it’s raining – it has not stopped since last night – I am off to training which means I have to walk through mud as the roads are in real bad shape here – my only problem is sometimes I can’t tell the difference between the mud and cow pies – I can honestly say not a pleasant experience for me in my cute and fashionable cloth shoes.

Posted by LiseD 21:34 Archived in Nepal Tagged of hands hope helping Comments (0)

THINGS GET COMPLICATED OR SO IT SEEMS

Things get complicated or so it seems

This is my rant – I have no one to talk to that can fully understand this - maybe no one will understand but it will make me feel better. My rant has good things and bad things in it.
First I messed up on the day Pat and Jessica were to arrive – I thought it was the 9th but it is the 8th – the guys at the ENPHO think I am a fruit loop – as we have been emailing back and forth in regards to the schedule – I don’t understand how they didn’t know I was taking about the 8th and not the 9th. Anyway things even got more confused as Arti has two exams on the 8th and he cannot come until around 11 o’clock to finish the biosand filter and start another one. I tried to tell them this is all good as I will pick up Pat and Jessica at the airport at noon – then go to the hotel – drop off their stuff and then go to the ENPHO. However in saying that this is all depending on how long it takes them to go through immigration - I forgot to tell them that they need to run off the plane – knock people out of the way to get to the front of the line – and the form that they give you on the plane is not the right one – so they have to grab the right form and fill it out while running – it is really simple I’ve done it before. And then a thought came to me – did I tell them they needed a picture of themselves? If not I don’t know if I will ever see them. I forgot to do this myself and I remembered once I was in Bangkok – so I went to the Tourist Police – for a reason or other they do pictures for like $20 – not such a good deal. I can only hope at some point I told them about the pictures.

Anyway I think with Pat and Jessica spending 2 nights in Thamel (tourist area) may not be a bad thing – it will give them a chance to get a feel for things. I will also be staying in Thamel until we leave for Surkhet on the 10th. We are booked into a 3 star hotel – deluxe rooms for $25 a night. What a deal, so I think. I am hoping that it goes well as I was in Thamel today picking up somethings and I was approached several times to buy some really good cigarettes – this is different than last time I was here as I was rarely approached. And they don’t leave you alone unless you take a really aggressive stance with them. I just use my “mother voice” and that scares them away.

There is another reason why I am staying in Thamel – I did not know this but squat toilets have pipes and the one at the orphanage is broken – I am not sure what that means but I do know the smell is overwhelming. It is supposed to be fixed soon – the soon kind of worries me – I am hoping they mean it will be fixed before I return. The other reason is the rain – I walked into my little room and stepped in water – unsure where in the heck it was coming from I realized it is coming from the electrical outlets and the door that leads to a little balcony. This is not good as I am afraid that the water will bring more bugs. I have been killing the bugs with Febreze – it works great. I spray them with Febreze and they become paralyzed for a few seconds and then I kill them with the bottom of the bottle. Works like a breeze.

I am also coming down with a cold which I was really trying to avoid this time. However I think it was the very long flight this time and then the heat – when it is not raining it is very ,very hot. So you get all wet from the rain and catch a chill and then you are dying of heat. As well I washed all the children’s hair tonight which took 2 ½ hours of standing in cold water and I was just soaked from head to toe. And of course all the children that are sick and have runny noses that like to hug me and touch me. My cute little shoes are not working as they have been soaked since I got here – I am thinking tomorrow I will go with ugly practical shoes. Maybe the plastic sandals that all the locals wear - not fashionable and far from cute. However at the end of the day all the children have clean nice smelling hair – not lice free but smells good. So it is worth it.

There are so many more things that happened today like my mobile phone – I need to have one as I actually get a lot of calls – which is so weird. What is even weirder is that I was given a Nepal Sim Card before I left – and I bought the cutest little phone today - purple - however the mobile phone people were taken over by someone else and no one knows if this Sim card works or not – I am not sure why they wouldn’t know as they would have had to get new Sim cards. I will need to figure this out quickly.
The good news is Arti and SherBar are working on the second biosand filter for the orphanage and they will be getting it for free due to all the labour they have provided. We poured the cement into the mould today – it is really exciting. I think the boys are very pleased with themselves – they worked really hard over the last couple of days. We certainly have become friends and they are just delightful boys to be around.

The other thing I am really starting to like rice and potatoes – I really do not have a choice but to like it – two meals a day – 7 in the morning and 7 in the evening. It is amazing how you learn not be hungry or not to think about it. The children do get bread – left over bread from the baker which is very stale – I will have my good old Digestive cookies. I noticed with Arti and SherBar that they are very hungry so I make sure that they eat lunch and after we are finished training for the day I stop and pick up juice and cookies. I know they are hungry just like the other children and that breaks my heart.

There are good things and not such good things in this country however the people are the nicest you could ever meet – they are kind and thoughtful and grateful for everything. And that makes it all so worthwhile.

That would be the end of my rant – however I could have went on as many things that happened today – like running from store to store as the boys wanted “Panda” to drink – about the 4th store I went into and no one heard of “Panda” drink – I realized they were saying “Fanta” – anybody could have made that mistake – right???

Posted by LiseD 21:28 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

I AM A PROUD MOM !!!!!

SEPTEMBER 8, 2010

Today was such a great day – a very busy one but just so wonderful. So the plan was that Arti would go to school as he had to write three exams today – SherBar and I would do things around the orphanage until he return at 10. We would then go to the ENPHO –they would be dropped off – then I would go to the airport to pick up Pat and Jessica as their plane comes in at noon– take them to the hotel – drop of their stuff and then go to the ENPHO so they would be able to meet everyone. That was the plan.

As we like to use the same cab driver as I trust him and he knows where the ENPHO is we made arrangements to meet him at 10:30 – well that really didn’t happen. Arti was late coming back so he arrived at around 11:00 – so he phoned the cab driver and he said I will be there in 15 minutes. No problem – we make the decision I would take the cab to the airport and boys would use a different cab. Well at 11:30 – no cab – Arti phones – cab driver is only 15 mins away and could we meet him at the usual spot. Alright – so off we go and get there at around 11:40 – no taxi driver . The taxi driver’s wife says she will phone him – he is just around the corner – not a problem. I don’t know which around the corner he was at but he does get there at around 12:05 - alright – off I go. Wild ride yet again – traffic jam – short cut through the sticky market (I actually walked through this place last time I was here – I am sure I stopped breathing for at least 10 mins. – it is a smell I cannot even begin to describe – the taxi driver uses a cloth to cover his nose and mouth) – so we get to the airport at around 12:45- he drops me off and I go looking for them – they are just coming out of the airport – yes I did forget to tell them about the pictures – so it worked prefect for me as they were delayed. Prefect. So off we go to the hotel drop off their stuff and go to the ENPHO by 2. The taxi rides are always exciting here and the taxi driver knew we were in a bit of a hurry – Pat described the ride as like white water rafting with no water. And the next question – they drive on both sides of the road – yes they do.

When we get to the ENPHO the boys have taken the mould off the one biosand filter and are ready to put water in it – it is wonderful – the water that is put in is very dirty it comes out of the spout as clear water – amazing !!! They are also starting to mix the cement for the next one – this is heavy manual labour for sure. They finish and then we meet with the staff at the ENPHO – Arti is very interested in doing further work with this – the staff offer to help him out in any way they can. Arti has done so well and they really like him.

Then both boys are presented with certificates as now they are certified technicians in the making biosand water filters. A very proud moment for them. I had tears in my eyes - I was just so proud. We went and took pictures. It was such a wonderful experience – the boy’s faces were just beaming. Arti says to me – if it was not for you this would not have happened for me – thank you. I told him know it was not me – it was him and all the people in Canada that supported us in making this happen. Again tears in the eyes.

Yes I was a very proud mom today !!!!!

Posted by LiseD 21:32 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

AND SO IT BEGINS !!!

Sept 5th

sunny 28 °C

The overnight stay in Bangkok, the lap of luxury – at this point it seems like a very distant memory but yet it was only 6 hours ago. I am sitting in my room at the orphanage waiting for the children to return from school. The orphanage has moved into a different home – I was a little confused about the move as it was only 12 months ago that they had located into a house that seemed to work for them. First I received the version of the story that there was a lot of problems and noise, etc. but then I received the real story behind the move and I am in shock. For people who read by blog last time you may remember me writing about Sam – the young man that got very ill. Well he was asked to work at the orphanage and in return his way to college would be paid for – he declined as he got an offer to work for this husband and wife – I am unsure as to what happened but Sam wanted to come back to the orphanage however someone else was hired. He then was offered a job in one of the tea shops which he turned down. He did stay at the orphanage however he was not supposed to be there – he was asked to leave. He did not, instead he killed himself. He was in the hospital for a couple of weeks and then died. Leaving the orphanage was too much for him – he had fallen in love with the landlord’s daughter and when he was asked to leave he thought he would never see her again – he took the only way out he could think of. I am just so heartbroken. It also hits home on how death is viewed differently here – it was just a fact and that is the way things are – for the children however it has been very difficult. I think the move speaks to that – all the children loved Sam.

Right after hearing the news about Sam, one of the little ones was very sick and in a lot of pain. She had blood coming out of her ear, sores all over her body, a really bad cold and a head full of lice. All she wanted was to be held and I think I needed a hug as well – so that is what I did and I have not stopped being itchy since. The smell of dirt and being unwashed - I forgot that smell – now it comes back full force. (As I quickly learnt all the children have lice.) So off we go to the doctor – she is a very sick little girl but the cause is unclean living conditions and poor eating. Now you must no the doctor’s office looked more unclean then the orphanage – not good. So we get all sorts of medicine – and lots of lice shampoo. The children have been told tomorrow all will get shampoos – and I am hoping to find some crème rinse as well. They are pretty excited and can’t wait. I am thinking once Pat and Jessica arrive we will be teaching the benefits of warm water and soap.
I am unable to eat – I keep thinking I don’t remember things being this bad last time – maybe I just forgot.

Most of the children remember me- and start calling me Mother Seta - the name they gave me last time. Many of the older children have left and returned to their villages so I am told. I think it was really difficult to have so many unrelated m teenagers living all under the same roof. Now the girls sleep on one floor and boys sleep on a separate floor – this is a good plan. It is a nice place and the lady that is looking after the children seems to be a caring person – the real bonus is she does the cooking as opposed to the children. They no longer use wood to cook they now use propane – this is a big step up. However the only concern I have are that the propane tanks are over the room I sleep – I don’t know if you have ever seen propane tanks in Nepal – it’s not something I would recommend – they look a little used. But what the heck it is better than the wood.

Tomorrow hopefully I will have my first lesson In making the biosand filtration system - this should be exciting.

Just a quick addition – today is September 6 at 6:30 a.m. – it is a better day as I now have had coffee – thanks to Randalle who gave me little packs of the best instant coffee I have ever tasted in my life – at this point without a doubt better then Tims!!!! I have also conquered by fear (yet again) of the squat toilet – I definitely have a thing about indoor plumbing – again I focus in on that and no hot water. I have spent the early morning hours with the children – now it all seems so wonderful – I love these children and 20 is so much easier then 29. Their smiles – which now have been brushed – thanks Gisele – the children were amazed that the toothbrushes had toothpaste already on them – however I don’t think they got the disposable part yet. So now I have to go for breakfast – rice and potatoes – an odd combination – yum, yum !

Posted by LiseD 04:57 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

On My Way - Sept 4th

As I write this I am flying towards Tokyo, and then onto Bangkok for an overnight and then onto Kathmandu the next day. I did not image myself returning to Nepal after my last visit however so much has happened and I find myself returning. It is hard to believe but two years have passed and so much has happened since then. In October,2009 I met Randalle and since then it has been a whirlwind of activity with the founding of Helping Hands of Hope Foundation. Now I find myself returning with a sense of purpose and the ability to be part of something that will change lives. Pretty unbelievable !!!! While the orphanage remains dear to my heart ( I will spend time again with the children) I will have new adventures as well. Once I arrive in Kathmandu I will be in three days of training to learn how to make biosand water filters and then I will be off to a remote village called Mehentada. I will not be going alone to this village as I will be joined by Pat and her daughter Jessica – it will be very good to have the company. We will be working with the various groups that are part of this model village project. We will teach locate people to build the filter systems in order to have access to safe drinking water. I will write more about the project and the village later on in my journey.

I will also spend time at the orphanage teaching the children to make candles so they can sell them in the tea shops for some added income. I am a little nervous about returning to see the children, as just before I left I received an email and was informed that there are only 20 children now as opposed to the 29 children. As well the orphanage has moved again. I am nervous as I do not know what happened to the 9 children and what condition the remaining children will be in. I do know that they are still attending school however their school fees have not been paid as of yet. This is something I will follow up on as I view education as a way out of poverty and arranged marriages for the girls. I do know it has been very difficult to keep the orphanage going as the people who support and oversee the orphanage have their own families to support as well. This is a poor country and to have people that live and work in Nepal to do this is pretty amazing. I really don’t if I could give up as much as these people have – they are truly the real heroes and pretty special people.

I have to say over the last 12 months I have met some pretty wonderful people who have been so kind and have opened up their hearts (as well as their pocketbooks; free labour; donations, and it just goes on and on….)to make this all work. It has truly been an amazing experience that just seems to keep moving ahead. I am humbled by the support that has been given by so many. I do know without Randalle, I am pretty sure I would have not have returned to Nepal and certainly not involved in this project – I do know that for sure. However in saying that it really feels like I am returning home in some odd way – something familiar – friends I will reconnect with and many new friends I will meet over the next few weeks.
Yes let this journey and adventure begin !!!!

Posted by LiseD 04:54 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

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