Nepal has my heart and I can’t say it any other way. I’m at my office today (a rooftop table and chair looking over Bhaktapur) relaxing and taking the day off from the always present Nepali itinerary. It is time to rest and reflect on what all of these amazing moments mean to me in the present day.
It’s been a beautiful month in Nepal beginning with a week of work on a school up in the village of Mali Gaon (near Bhaktapur) where the our New Hope Society crew completed the installation and painting of iron railings, cleared heaps of rubble and mud from the collapsed classrooms. I had the heart-melting experience of measuring all of the 50+ children for new uniforms which are complete with tops, bottoms, belts, shoes and socks. We will be delivering the last of the shoes and belts on Friday.
We are continuing the mission after returning from my trek in the Everest Region and some tourist time in Thamel, Kathmandu and Bhaktapur. I’ve gotten a full cultural experience in the past week throughout the festival of Dashain and now the daily life resumes for the Nepali people and children are back in school. The school we are continuing to aide is a few miles up the mountainside and it is quite the experience just getting there. With the countries ongoing fuel shortage due to cut off supplies from the Indian border we are making due with whatever type of transportation we can and this sometimes includes making a ‘Nepali Sandwich’ as I decided to call it. Putting 3 of us on a motorbike or scooter and making our way up the steep inclines – sometimes jumping off to allow the bike to navigate the roads! We have also ridden on the top of a bus, in the back of a truck and even trudged our way up on foot to see the work to be completed.
The upcoming projects we are aiming to complete in the next week and some days include painting the rusted metal doors and windows of the school as well as the interior classrooms. I am going to enjoy painting the classrooms as I am hoping to get some colorful paint and have come up with some creative and colorful ideas to inspire and cheer the children as they continue to fill the classrooms and learn about all of the people, places and things that this great world encompasses. I am taking suggestions on art for the walls and hope to include the alphabet, numbers and various cheerful pictures. The school is a lower secondary school with children from 3-12. The supplies are limited, there is no electricity and the children wear their winter jackets and warm clothing in the classroom for the months of winter here. The roof is not attached to the building and the it is simple concrete wall construction with thin metal doors and windows. Due to there being no electricity they need natural light from the space between the roof and the walls but this also means the wind takes every bit of warmth from the inside as they are perched on a high hill.
A wonderful part of this effort that can be seen and felt around the school is the new inspiration we have given the teachers and elders in the area to put time, energy and love into the school for their children. After leaving for a week and returning they had independantly cleared 2 more classrooms of rubble, there are plants and flowers planted along the newly installed fence on the hillside and the classroom floors and overall appearance is clean. Doing this work encourages local support and involvement as they wish to see the school systems grow. Speaking to some teachers on our last visit they said that they have reached out to the teachers in the surrounding villages to take part in sharing their teaching methods and education for themselves as well. It is a learning experience for absolutely everyone involved from the smallest child to the most elder.
If you are looking to donate time, supplies or dollars to an established and locally impacting charity in the country of Nepal I urge you to visit the websites of New Hope Society and please feel free to contact me if you have other questions in that regard. We can work with the logistics here and will do everything we can to keep helping those far less fortunate. This is continuing to be a personal trip for my own growth and healing in addition to becoming passionate about a cause that is so very present in my time here.
Namaste Family and Friends