Arambha

Roosters crowing children growing, got big plans but dirty pants, with kids to teach life is sweet!

Tag Archives: Nepal

Time to pack

Just shared mango juice box prasad with everyone. Got the sweetest, most wonderful goodbye cards and letters from everyone, as well as Kathmandu book shopping wish lists.

Still hasn’t completely set in, but I know its coming soon.

I can’t wait to come back – that’s all I can say.

Love!

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Water

One of the “new perspectives” that I will come back to the US with concerns water…its availability, use, cost, preservation, and the idea of water as a human right.

I saw a post today from my friend Will Wyatt’s Facebook page with this infographic from the Huffington Post.

Bottled Water
Via: Term Life Insurance

Pay special attention to the information regarding water rights and corporatization. And what about the percentage of profits from bottled water sale that only perpetuates the advertising and sale of bottled water?!!!

This issue is close to my heart after seeing how much trash a person, a home, and a community actually produces. With no trash pickup in Nepal to conveniently whisk away “the problem” before you realize how big it really is, its easy to see what the environmental impact of “convenience and safety” is.

Glass, plastic, cardboard, and food waste - all waiting to be burned, buried, or washed away.

Empty water bottles are an (as of now) unavoidable by product of the tourism industry which generates a large portion of this land locked country’s income. Until Nepal can guarantee safe drinking water (or filters that remove parasites and viruses, not just dirt) for all of its citizens and visitors, discarded plastic water bottles will be a nuisance here. But what excuse do we have in developed countries for contributing to this land fill filler? Hint – the answer is NONE!

Buy a Sigg bottle and a Brita or Pur tap filter today. Less than $30 bucks and it will pay for itself in no time, what with all the plastic bottles you won’t be buying. : )

Glass and plastic bottles, cartons, and discarded paper collected from the house and neighborhood - all waiting to become art projects!

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Friday Fun-day!

Fridays always end up being filled with excitement and good news.

First and most importantly, Saurab had his operation last Sunday and he is doing splendidly! He came to the house with his grandmother today after lunch and had a nice new full cast on his arm. I took him on a quick tour of the school so he could see the progress that has been made in his absence, and then he came back to the house and we played with a balloon while his grandmother chatted with the grown-ups.

He will be back at school on Monday. I am so happy to see that he is doing well and on his way to a full recovery. I swear he’s actually grown a centimeter or two since I last saw him.

And then….

We had an art-fest at the school today – and it was insane. As much as I like to plan and organize things, today I pretty much failed. We were doing papier mache in 2 – 6th class, making paper turtles in KG and 1st, and doing thumbprint art in nursery. We ran out of newspaper, containers for glue and water, bowls, scissors, and, since this was the first time the teachers have really ever done anything like this, it was chaos. I was so busy running from room to room trying to resupply things that I didn’t take a single picture. Kelly said she got some though so I will post some of hers soon hopefully. Between the two of us we usually cover the “events” here pretty thoroughly.

5 and 6 class made pencil troughs for the desks, so that their pencils and pens don’t keep falling which causes distraction and disruption in class. 2, 3, and 4 class made bowls/containers for us to use in the classrooms (a great way to save money on supplies, recycle, and be creative right?). KG and 1st made turtles out of these cool bowls that are made out of leaves (street vendors use them to serve a hot corn mash called chaat – delicious!), and Nursery had fun dipping their fingers in paint.

Once the dust had settled, the finished products looked good, and the kids had fun, which is what counts. Hopefully the teachers learned a little about what does and does not work when you are doing art projects. And we actually ended up with extra newspaper after sending the Amazing Tope to get more in the middle of the morning.

While we tried to get the art projects started in half the classes, Christina worked with the other half on some Hindi mantras and chants she learned while she was in Pokhara last week. The kids all sounded so awesome. They also worked a little on meditation and yoga, and really took to it. She actually left the room they were in to help Kelly and I, and when she came back, everyone was still quietly meditating. The kids are so excited to learn new things and do these “out of the box” activities that we really don’t have to fight for their cooperation or good behavior. They just want to be good and have fun!

Tomorrow we will make a trip to Bul Bule to play, bath, and wash laundry. We are also doing some deep cleaning at the house. Tonight, Frank is hosting movie night for the kids. He says we’re watching Ratatouille. Sweet!

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Geography as fate

The Kopila gang of volunteers decided to have banana pancakes in honor of 4th of July yesterday. What do pancakes have to do with America’s release from British colonial rule? Not a lot, but pancakes taste good and they’re better with bananas, which happen to be particularly delicious here.

So we were in the market with Shova, our trusty 6th grade guide, looking for a dairy store. While walking past the cafe that we frequent for cold water and half melted ice cream bars, we ran into Saurab, a boy from our kindergarten class. He was on his way home from school, but I didn’t see his grandmother anywhere. She brings him to school each morning because he has a broken arm. He broke it about 6 weeks ago and it was set as best his family could with a “village” cast – a mixture of mud and sticks. Unfortunately as it healed he lost mobility in his arm and feeling in three fingers. By the time school started his fingertips had turned black. Three weeks later we are still waiting for the “non-urgent” surgery to repair his arm and fingers to be scheduled.

Saurab comes in everyday as much as two hours early and sits in the office readying Tell Me About books and pointing at the pictures saying “look, shark!” and “look, plane!” He doesn’t cry when kids bump his arm, or Dr. Frank rotates his shoulder to check for damage. He is so happy to be in school that his inability to write with a broken arm doesn’t matter.

So there we are in the market, and I here this tiny voice behind me say “Lisa Madam!” And there he is, negotiating cows, motor bikes, and open sewage with an overstuffed backpack pulling on his broken arm. Shova asked in Nepali if the arm was hurting him and without his smile skipping a beat he answered “yes.” In my head all I heard was – ‘alright that’s it! Enough already. Not this kid. He deserves better.’ So I marched into the cafe, rooted around in the fridge for the coldest water they had, threw Saurab’s backpack over my own bag, and told Christina, Kelly, and Shova that I would see them back at the house. I was going for a walk. Today, at least, would be different.

We walked for about 3 miles before reaching Saurab’s house. As we walked hand in hand toward the hills where thousands more people live without electric lines or running water, Saurab would look up at me as if to make sure I wasn’t getting tired or bored, as if to make sure I wasn’t about to say, “Sorry, this is too far – I’ll see you tomorrow though”. As I would smile down at him a huge grin would flash across his face and his hand would squeeze mine, and with a quickened pace we would continue up into the hills. We took breaks to drink cold water, and he rattled on in broken English about trucks carrying lumber and goats grazing in fields around us.

His house is a mud hut, with 5 foot ceilings. He lives with his mother, grandmother, and two siblings. He’s lucky. His family cares about him and he has two guardians. He’s fed at home and his older brother helps him with his homework. The last time he went to the hospital for his operation his grandmother waited with him for 4 days before they were told that the surgeon had gone to Kathmandu. They want to help him get better, and they have the foresight to see that school is his only chance at a safer, healthier, more comfortable life.

I wanted to tell this story because it’s a happy one. His arm will, hopefully, heal correctly after surgery. He has a school to go to where he’s guaranteed a big healthy lunch and he won’t be slapped for not knowing an answer. His family sees him as a person, not just another obligation. But it was still frustrating. Frustrating to see him hurting.

I wanted to tell this story because every success here sheds light on more things we have to improve.

Like Hannah and I admiring the mural she’s painted outside the house gate, as a 9 year old boy dug through our trash pit, throwing bits of plastic and cardboard into an empty rice sack on his back. But that’s another story.

I am a bad blogger

I’m sorry it’s been something like 2 or 3 weeks since I last posted. We have been working so hard everyday at school and it just seems like there is always something important to do!

But this afternoon we have the winning combination of a political strike, electricity, internet connectivity, and a little quiet!

Monsoon is coming so it’s cool outside and there’s a nice strong breeze blowing through my bedroom window. We’ve been resting and working on a few small projects around the house – organizing closets, hanging kids’ artwork in classrooms, and cleaning up the side yard for planting now that the rains are coming.

Everyday at the school brings more success. The teachers are working hard to learn new teaching methods. The kids are blown over by everything we bring to class. Karen (who just left us yesterday – I was a mess – she is a fantastic ESL teacher and I don;t know what I would have done if she hadn’t been here) brought a homemade “Lingo” game board to Chetana’s first grade class to help them learn time and they ask for it everyday now. I laminated some copy paper to make mini-whiteboards and left a rock star. The enthusiasm and wonder that these students bring to class each day is what puts a fire under my behind morning, noon, and night.

Hannah, Maggie’s best friend, arrived about a week ago. She and I are starting remedial literacy tutoring in the mornings for the kids that need a lot of extra help. I can’t wait to see all of them reading children’s literature and writing their own simple sentences a month and a half from now!

I have tons of pictures to post, and since I’ve gotten so behind in relaying the day’s events here, I’m going to share the goings on with a little thing we like to call the photo-montage! Don’t roll your eyes, every blog has one.

Picture Pages, Picture Pages

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