At last! Freda’s Mega Blog Update

It has been so difficult with the connection to the Internet being on and off. Every day I have thought of doing my blog update, but to no avail.   My partner suggested that I do it in Word and email it to him for uploading when I can.  So I now commence my story from the last blog leaving Pokhara for Besishahar with the twins diagnosed Negative. What joy for everyone – they now have a life to live and Hi-Cap UK will make sure of their support.

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We arrived at Besishahar on the 17th January.  The twins were not sick this time, I had taken the precaution of going to the pharmacy for some anti-travel sickness pills.  So it was an OK journey.

I went back to my room at the school that night to get reorganised for the village trip. The next day the twins came with us to commence our trip we dropped them off at Khudi with a large storage container for their clothes and personal belongings.  They don’t seem to be aware that they are orphans, they refer to their parents as being in the sky.  Looking at their tender faces of innocence brought tears constantly to my eyes.  They are very intelligent boys and work hard at school. I also give a giggle when I remember Arjun dancing one evening at in Pokhara to some music, he mimicked Michael Jackson, did he know that?  Dancing in Nepal is a very important part of their culture.

After dropping off the twins the truck continued to Besishahar after a tyre change.

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Besishahar is the main village that we support. We stopped at Minisolu guest house, had lunch and settled in.  That afternoon I wanted to get started but it was getting late.  Our first port of call was going to be the school in this village.  My main purpose originally planned for this trip had been to give support to 5 schools, but first I was to follow up on their request to ensure of their need.  Nepalese do not have good planning when it comes to need, so it was important to inspect the school to ensure that the need was there.  Late afternoon I met with the headmaster and his assistant, to discuss this. We agreed that we would inspect the school the following day and meet the 15 pupils that they had identified for educational support and also the science room where they required equipment.  Their other request was for some children’s encyclopaedia’s; although they were supported by Room to Read the books supplied were not adequate.  There was also a request for sports equipment.

The following morning I felt like I had been sleeping on something that felt like a rock; my body was not feeling all that great.  The local under-14 football team came to see me.  I had been told by Binod that they would be good to support, it was a great way to encourage them.  They played 7 aside is there were 2 teams, plus 2 goalkeepers.  The reason for the size of the team was the size of the dusty square that was available for them to play in.  They were so happy for me to agree to support them; they had no football boots or spare footballs and one kit.  They commenced writing down their shoe  sizes.  The team’s name is Shanti Deep Yuva Club Ding Ding that is the area in Bahundanda where they live.

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Those missing were working in the fields that day, but these boys knew all the football boot sizes there were only 3 sizes – 6,7,8.

It was time now to get going so with trekking stick I commenced my further visits of our village of support.  Firstly on the way we went to see Aruna.  This child was dying when Binod first found her. She had TB and needed emergency treatment.  Sadly I feel that the treatment was too late to save her from the brain damage she appears to have. I saw her last March and she had grown, there was a further visit to the hospital, but her grandmother who looks after her has little idea of how to deal with the child, let alone about keeping her clean. I tested her hearing by clapping, and her sight simply by moving my fingers back and fore.  She did respond to both of these simple tests.   I think she will be permanently damaged, but we may be able to make things more comfortable for her.  Later in my visit we will arrange another hospital visit in Kathmandu and get a proper prognosis.  We will purchase items to help her with her comfort.  She is a beautiful child, it’s so sad; if only the illness had been captured quicker.  This is the same story in the mountains here time and time again, lack of money is the cause of medical treatment not being administered.  How awful that is.  Do we realise what we have!

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I then went to Bahundanda School, called Chandrodaya Higher Secondary School, the Principal Naresh Kanta Adhikari had met me the evening before.  The children were all organised to see me and speeches were made about how we are going to support them.  The 15 children were presented to me.  It was all very overwhelming; our support means so much to them. Here I must thank Futures For Kids for helping us to achieve this work.  They made a generous donation to us in 2012 and it has really helped us to achieve some real work at the schools in the Lamjung area.

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From here we went to the house and land that we have purchased to see how our family was living.  We saw Raman and his granddaughter.  They were working on the land, the child’s mother was not there.  We asked why we were told that she was working at a guest house in Besishahar.  Mangali is only 22 and seems to have been enticed by the life in the main town away from mountain life.  She has 2 children, Sanjay that is in a residential school in Besishahar  and is supported by us, and her daughter who should be going to the local school, but does not attend apparently when her mother is not there to get her ready.  Mangali has been married 3 times, her first husband went off to Dubai never to be seen again; he was the father of Sanjay. The second husband committed suicide and was the father of her daughter.  Her third husband was a donkey worker. This is when we thought things were going well but he fell off the mountain and was killed outright.  So things have not been too good for her.  This is just another of the things that we have to deal with.  We have spoken to her at length about the issue of her daughter being left and her father Raman who has had a stroke and is very weak.  We hope to resolve this by the end of my stay. Keep checking my blogs for I hope for the solution that we find. The land is being used by other locals and they are working it.  The house is being lived in by Raman and the granddaughter and Mangali when she comes back home.

So now on further to trek to the next stop.  About 4 hours trekking we went a different way to usual, some of the trek was very rocky. I had a small fall but not too bad.  I crossed a new bridge; I do hate the long wobbly bridges.

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We arrived at the guest house of the Headmaster of Chamche school.  We arranged to stay the night here, and discuss the needs of 44 children at this school.  We were told that these kids had nothing, no warm clothes no books, pens or pencils.  We agreed to help these kids.  We are not told at the time there are actually 55 because sometimes the children do not all go to school because of having to work in the fields.  We have already ordered stationery for just 44, but we will rectify this at a later date. We need to monitor this school, as it is very small, we need to ensure that their needs are being met and our support is being put to good use.  We will actually visit this school when going back to distribute the purchases that we have made.

We left the guest house the following morning to trek to Jagot.  We have a school there that is also in great need of support.  I was looking forward to getting to Jagot to see the family that we had built a house for.  Pema and myself seem to have some affinity. When I met her again last year after Binod had searched and not found her, I bumped into her last year and it was just amazing.  We cannot communicate, basically because she is deaf and dumb, but somehow our faces and hearts meet each other.  When I arrive a Jagot the first thing I did was to go to see this couple.  The house was amazing.  We raised funds for this it and it cost just over £1000 for it to be built. There was a lot of work to do in the background to achieve this.  Wood from the forest has to be arranged and materials collected.  But it was managed and the village got together and arranged the labour.  This couple are now so happy.  On our return to Besishahar we arranged for 2 sacks of rice, some dahl and spices to be sent to this family to help them.  Remember he is blind and she is deaf and dumb. In the UK they would be supported, not here – not a rupee is given to support them.   It is so sad to see this. I am so fortunate to be born where I was, for this could have been you or me!

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We then went to Jagot school.  Many of our art competition winners had come from this school, there were not many children at the school today as they were helping at home for a festival. That is how things work in the mountains of Nepal!  I met with the Headmaster and looked around the school.  He was telling me how he needed another classroom, and how that could be built on top of the toilet block.  We need a lot of money for that, but I said that I would consider it and hope to get some more funding this year.  He asked for sports equipment and a computer for the children to just practise on the keyboard.  They also had 6 children that needed support.

Many of the students suffer from their being in large classes of mixed ability.  The school at Bahundanda had 60 children in their class 9.    If this school could just have one more class room which would cost about £2500 with all labour being met by the locals, it would make such a difference. They have a classroom that cannot be used as it has a large rock in it!  These kids need our help.

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So now to wait for a truck back.  3 hours later we picked up a truck back to Besishahar.  I went back to the school and slept, tomorrow was another adventure.  Well not quite, I spend 2 days getting myself back together and organised.  We looked at a flat which was really very nice. I was very keen to get a proper flat, because the project work could prove expensive, and living somewhere where we cook for ourselves would save a lot of money in the long run.  So we found one, made lots of calls and decided we would move in when we got back from Kathmandu. We left for Kathmandu to go on the micro bus on 24th January.  In Kathmandu we intended to make our purchases, and organise everything.

I stayed at Binod’s house this time, always being aware of costs.  I always feel so guilty actually spending project money but I need to work this way to ensure that no money gets wasted.

The day after arriving in Kathmandu I was feeling very ill and could not pull myself together enough to work.  I felt so very bad.  That day, I was so sick and all the entire night.  I spoke to my partner in tears.  I am not good at being ill.  It took me a few days to get over this.  But soon I was back to normal.  We calculated our needs and visited the necessary shops.  We ordered 1,040 books of copy (exercise books in the UK), pens and pencils enough for 65 children.  We could not do the uniform yet as we need further details.  We ordered football kit, sports equipment and science equipment.

We came back to Besishahar on the 29th January with all the stationery loaded in a taxi, the other stuff was not ready – Binod was to go back for that in a couple of days.  We moved into the flat that night.  The taxi driver, one that we always used, stayed the night, along with Balaram that often helps us out, and his wife also came to help.  That evening we rushed to the market area, ordered 2 beds, and mattresses and a double gas ring – we rushed about and the deliveries were made immediately.  What a night! I was completely exhausted from all this activity.  I collapsed into bed and heard nothing in my lovely little stone floored room.

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