24.09.2008 27 °C
Before I talk about the boys I wish to tell you about an interesting day. Yesterday I decide to go to Tamel to exchange money and to buy an English newspaper and some books. I get to Thamel and the bank does not open for another half hour. I notice that there are groups of police in riot gear - nothing to worry about I say to myself - I really don't know why I tell myself things like that - but any way off I go to look for the book store - I notice just about everything is closed - I go into one of the shops and ask about the book store - the guy looks at me like I am crazy - he says not open today. I thought OK I will just walk around for a bit - as I am going down the street I notice the army - also in full riot gear - actually nicer gear then the Nepal police - I am now thinking this is not good. In my state of low panic I am confused and don't know what street I came from nor how to get back to the main road. After about 15 mins I find the road and look for a cab. I ask to go back to Budhanilkantha- and the cab driver tells me 1000R - it only cost me 300R to get to Tamel - I don't think so - The driver says to me "protest - general strike will be in Thamel by 11:00" - I look at my watch it is 10:40 - we haggle for a bit and come up with 500R - he is still saying 600R - 5 mins have went by - at this point I don't care - let's go. We have to go the long way around to avoid the protest - I am thinking an English newspaper would be good !!!
The protest is about the big festival coming up- the government decided to cut back on the funding for festivals as well as limit the number of water buffalo and goats that could be beheaded for the event - I think people are really into this decapitation of goats and water buffalo - so the end result has been a number of protest. The government as since changed it's mind so funding was given back as well as no limit on the number of beheadings.
Late in the afternoon (the same day) the Lions Club comes to the orphanage to bring rice (8 bags - that is rice for a month), cooking oil, spices, salt, chocolate bars and mango juice. They hand out the chocolate bars, some type of other candy and the juice. One of the men gives me mango juice - and says mango juice brings luck. Well I don't think mango juice is lucky - I never got a chocolate bar - at this point I would actually knock over small children to get a sugar fix. I didn't get a chocolate bar but I get Pepsi instead. This is another odd thing I noticed - for special things you get a glass of Pepsi - this happens as well when you have a meal at someone's house - after the meal they give you a glass of Pepsi - I am thinking I will do this when I get back to Canada this would be good as I could save the wine for myself - not a bad plan !!!
The other thing that happened yesterday was that I have agreed to become the Canadian Co-ordinator for the agency that supports the orphanage - they do have a person in the States who I will contact but it all looks good. It is very difficult to get money into Nepal - so we are working out the details - so when I get back to Canada I will deal with Tax Canada and do a few things and hopefully will be able to help them out. They are not only looking at funds but as well as volunteers for the orphanage and some of the really remote villages. I just think it would be a good thing to do and maybe provide some help to these children.
Now I have to talk about the boys - I don't know which name is attached to which boy a lot of the time - I know them by sight. For example the group of boys that are always together and doing things that they should not be doing - like flying a kite off the roof over power lines. They are trouble. They are Ramesh - 10 yrs old - he came to the orphanage due to poverty. He has bad eyesight and really bad teeth - I hear his name a lot as he is always in trouble. The other is Bishel - 8 years old - his father abandoned the family and remarried - again poverty. He as most of the younger boys are very small for their age - I first thought the age range was between 6 and 7 years of age. Then there is Sim - he came to the orphanage as his family was homeless - he is always smiling and trying to get into every picture.
SherBrd is 10 or 11 years old - he came to the orphanage as his mother was sick and the family lived in extreme poverty - he is the comic of the group. He is really very funny and always trying to make others laugh. Last night I was out on the step - another power outage - and he comes and stands beside me - very serious and says "Mother you not forget me - you promise you think of me when you in Canada" My heart just broke - this child tries so hard to hide his pain by always laughing and joking around. That is one thing I have noticed that crying is not acceptable here - the children rarely cry even when they are sad and missing their families.
The other three boys are older - Khem Raj - 14 years old; Newaraj - 15 years old; and Anil - 15 years old - They all came to the orphanage due to poverty. KhemRaj's mother died and a new step mom came - this did not go so good. These boys are interesting as they all try to be the older tough guys which they are not. KhemRaj is always hanging around me and likes to do crafts and play Old Maid. They also like pats on the back and lap up any positive comment. The other day KhemRaj came up to me and asked me for a hug - big step for this boy - again my heart broke - how sad that this boy has no one to hug or care for him.
Then there is another boy - Jagadish - he is more like the "geek" of the group - oh by the way he wants to be a social worker. He is 13 years old - his family ran away from a village that was being taken over by the Maoist. He has one sibling that died - I am not sure how - his parents could not support the family once they arrived in a safe area - he has two siblings - one who is in another orphanage and one who he thinks is with his parents. He wants to be a social worker so he can help other children in the same situation. He is sad and hopes one day to find his parents. He is a child that is always trying to please and he tries so hard.
One of the things that I did find out yesterday is that social workers in Nepal work for the government but do not get paid. I said I am glad I live in Canada.
Today is my last day at the Orphanage. I am going to spend the weekend in the Himalayas - I am really very tired so hopefully I will be able to recharge and be in good shape for my second assignment which starts on Monday. And maybe even get rid of this cold that has been hanging on.
It has been a very sad few days - one of the girls gave me a note as soon as I woke up - the note asked me not to leave. I know today will be sad and there will be tears - however I will be back before I leave as I wish to give the children copies of the pictures I took - I will not print them all - I think I am up to around 400 - they are not all of the children - I think only 250 pics are of the children and the orphanage.
Before I leave each of the children present me with flowers -I am not sure where the flowers come from - I don't ask. They also make me two necklaces out of these wonderful little flowers. It was very touching. To make it a happy time as I will be back for a visit before I leave Canada - we turn on the CD player and have a dance and singing party. It was a lot of fun.
I have to keep telling the children that I will be coming back for a visit -most of them find this hard to believe. So I leave with the children running behind the van yelling - bye mother, bye mother. And that is when I cry.
So off I go to the agency home for the night before I go to the Himalayas for the weekend. I just think it is so cool to say - I am spending the weekend in the Himalayas !!!!
Until next time !!!