We have already celebrated the Dashain!

Written for Guillem Pujol, volunteer at Bhimphedi Children Home’s

In the month of october takes place the biggest festival in the nepalese annual calendar, Dashain . It is celebrated all over nepal, just like Christmas in our country. But what is the story behind this festival?

This commemorates the  victories of the gods against the demonds. One of the reasons of this tradition is because god Rama killed Ravana, the boss of the demonds. But he didn’t do it alone , since he was helped by de goddess Durga. who was the one who overcame the demond.

That is why the first days of the Dashain symbolize the fight between deities.  Now, the goddess Durga is adorated like the deceased mother, offerings and  sacrificies are made in her name.

They put tika on Razu

During these days, everyone travels the necessary miles to meet at the family home and spend all these days together offering diferent things and making rituals for Durga and all her manifestations. For that, the Balmandir family couldn’t be less and we also celebrate Dasahin.

They put tika on Kamal

In the dining room everything was ready: a tray with rice mixed with flowers, a tray with pasta for tika- rice, coloring and yogurt- and only sprouds were lacking.

According to tradition, the oldest people of the family  put tika to younger relatives to bless them abundantly in the coming years and give them Dakshina (a small amount of money), along with blessings. So Didi Maya started: she first took flowers and, as if she was baptizing, she scattered a little water over her heads. Then he tossed some rice with flowers on top and put the tika on the forehead, between the eyebrow and the eyebrow (where there is the third eye). Finally, they gave them a germ sprout wrapped in money. This was done one child at a time, from the smallest to the oldest. And the great surprise was that she also did it to us! Then it was the turn of  Surendra and finally, the Didi Belly.

During these holidays other rituals are also made, such as animal sacrifices. Normally we only eat “mass” (meat) on Saturdays night, which is the holiday day  of the week. But during the days of Dashain “massu” is quite present in each meal. And the surprise was yesterday morning when Surendra arrived at the center with an unknown man . He had expressly come to sacrifice one of a goat, previously bought by Kush, a young boy from Balmandir.

Saran with the goat before being sacrificed

We went wherever they were doing the ritual and,  Basu helped by Ram  under the eyes of the children of the house, began to peel the goat, clean it, spread it with an orange paste (which for what they have explained is to conserve and to give flavor) and to squash it. After removing the different viscera, the children helped to clean them.

The next day came the members of the Nepal Children’s Organization to put the tika and all together we took some pictures in the garden of the house.

The family of Balmandir with the members of the NCO

The family of Valeria visited us

Written for Guillem Pujol,volunteer at Bhimphedi Children Home’s

These last days Valeria visited us, she was one of the first volunteers who started Awasuka project. With her also came her mother and brother, with this opportunity and being the Dasahin days we made a lot of activities with the boys and girls of the house!

Then you can find a summary of those!

Trekking to Dorshin

The last Saturday and taking an advantage that the children had holidays of the school, we went to Dorshin! The trek was so nice and beautiful, it came all the children, babies and also the oldest and, at the end, we were waiting for a stunning surprise!

No less than good waterfalls to refresh up, after the exercise we had done and to be able to recover for the return!

Balmandir children playing in a river

It was a great experience that it will cost to forget .

Boys, girls and volunteers with Valeria and her family.

Creps workshop

 

Another activity that we did with Valeria’s family was a kitchen workshop, and what we cooked?

Well, we cooked a lot of delicious CREPS! In this case they were only the youth boys of the house who participated in this activity, because the youngest was still going to school and therefore they were in class.

 

Valeria and Didi look if they can use the paella for make creps

But the children didn’t miss to try these delights, because Didis  took them in their Snack Time directly to the school and still hot.

Bishnu with hands in the dough
All the team working
Kamal i Ramesh making creps

No matter how intense theses moments were, Valeria’s family has had to leave us to continue with their fabulous trip through Nepal. We hope you visit us again shortly and go all very well!

A nice greeting from Balmandir!

Market, spicy and sweet!

Written by Isabel Valero, volunteer at Bhimphedi Chilren’s Home 

We were really looking forward to this weekend! And we have been able to set up two projects that had thoughtful many times! For two days, some young people from the Kathmandu Youth Project visited Balmandir to carry them out among them:

BALMARKET

Many people donate clothes to reach the various projects of Amics del Nepal, and so we do. This time we wanted to make a different process. So that children know how to value everything that comes from other countries, we have created a market in Balmandir, where children can buy some items as well as seasonal clothes, having earned a “salary.”

The aim of ​​the market is to make the children and youth of Balmandir more involved in the housework and develop new skills by doing their own projects. In order to earn points, which will subsequently be exchanged for balman rupees, children also participate more actively in the housework, they can learn to make paper crafts, hand crafts, videos, etc.

Children waiting impatiently to exchange their projects.
Binita buying some clothes
Didis also wanted to buy some things for the children

To our surprise, on the market day, the children decided to make their own products that they put up for sale and thus make more money to buy clothes. The market was a success, and the delivery of clothes we made in a different and fun way and Didis could even enjoy helping the younger ones.

PICKLE or ACHHAR

The tradition of spicy in Nepal, and generally in all Asia, is very common. The pickle or achhar is a set of vegetables previously cut and dried in the sun for 2-3 days and later mixed with different spices that give this special flavor and accompanies any dish. Among all, we were able to make enough pickle to keep it for a few months and to enjoy it with our favorite dish, Dal Bhat.

Everyone cutting and putting the raddish and lemon into the sun
Other were cutting lemon for pickle
putting raddish into the sun
Binita helping to cut raddish

In this way, children and youth have learned that the effort of one day becomes pickle, a meal that they like but they do not always have, during a long season.

happy with the result!

PAPAYA JAM

Since we put to the maintain of the pickle, we wanted to try if we could also make jam to preserve it. We brought papayas and cut them to put them with sugar and cook until they got the texture of jam. The next day we could not suppress to finish with two jars of jam together with some rotis at snack time, so delicious!

.

It has been a very positive weekend to learn how to keep food, and fun when buying clothes and creating their own projects!

Bhimphedi’s festival: Bhimsen Jatra

Written by Isabel Valero, volunteer at Bhimphedi children’s home.

As in Catalonia, in Bhimphedi, the town’s biggest party is celebrated, Bhimsen Jatra. It’s the event for the villagers and there are people from the surroundings, even if there are people who take days off to enjoy the party. Bhimsen is the God of commerce, industry and fortune, but some people say that is also the God of power and strenght.

The night before, some villagers already began to celebrate the party with music and carry on the shoulders the rath, the house of Bhimsen, across the main street stopping in front of the houses to offer food and burn incense. After stopping by the two street temples, all the people started dancing until late.

The next day, from 4 to 9 in the morning, the villagers went to the temple to offer food and the sacrifice of hens, cooks or goats to Bhimsen and make him happy.

A man about to sacrifice his goat.

Devotees waiting in line to offer food to Bhimsen

Until 12, in Balmandir, children and didis were preparing to go to school, but this time not to sit and study in classrooms, but because different dance performances were celebrated, and Kamal and Ramraj took part of it, they did it great! We had bad weather at the beginning but later was a nice day. All the performances lasted until 6 in the afternoon. The children also took the opportunity to buy some toy, candy, or balloon on one of their market stands.

Paraditas de globos en las calles

Kamal and Ramraj dancing

At 7pm the DJ started. The school was full of people and the songs sounded high decibel, as if it were a nightclub! A party for the young people of the town!

Just when the DJ ended up, at 10pm the procession started with the rath, but leaving the temple and reaching the square was not an easy thing, in fact, that was all about it! As Bhimsen is the God of the strength, they had to carry the rath until the temple of the Bhimphedi square with people over, and that gave the strength to the carriers, fact that caused that the rath fell down many times and went side to side of the street. In addition, the people of the town lighted torches when rath passed in front of their houses to show respect to Bhimsen. A journey that can be done in 5 minutes lasted more than 2 hours!

Preparing rath for the night parade
Lighting de torches in arrival for the rath

Once the rath arrived at the place, the walk through all Bhimphedi could be made more calmly, since it had been shown that the spokes carriers were strong enough to have arrived there.

Once again the festivals in Nepal, this time in Bhimphedi, do not stop us from surprising!

Rain, fun, and a new brother!

Written by Josep Mas, volunteer of the children’s home in Bhimphedi

It is monsoon time when the landscape acquires an intense shade of green and a scent of earth and vegetation. The plants in Bhimphedi valley grow at dramatic speeds, and the sound of the rain keeps you company all day long. How is life in Balmandir Chilrden’s Home with the arrival of the rainy season? Keep reading to know more about our activities, games and outings these days… and about the arrival of a new brother!

Vegetation blossoms in Balmandir gardens with the arrival of the rainy season

Despite the rain, there are sun spells every now and then, and the activity in Balmandir doesn’t stop! Let it be painting, playing, or making origami works…

A sunny morning?! Time for painting!
Lov and Ramesh during an exciting button football match.
While making origami works time flies, and our collection of small art pieces keeps growing!

There are also those who impatiently wait for the door of the computer room to be opened. Power outages happen on a daily basis, but as they say here, “ke garné!” (what to do about it!)

A small crowd eager for for some computer time!

One of the trends these days are trolley strolls across the garden, something that everybody enjoys, and not only the kids!

But not everything is staying in Balmandir. Nature is all around, and rain is not an excuse for giving up on small outings!  In fact, puddling in all possible ways makes the walk much more interesting!

A walk in the rain to Bhimphedi hanging bridge

 

Small Ekendra did not miss the stunning views from the arms of Kiran, despite the hood!

Going to school is also much more exciting under the rain. Everybody hurries up to get hold of a raincoat or an umbrella before leaving, to avoid getting drenched from head to toes….

Kushal and Binita had a lot of fun the first time they came back from school under an umbrella.

These days the river grows bigger and, when in calm, it’s an ideal place for a refreshing dip. There are skilled youngsters in Balmandir who don’t lack inventiveness to build a pool with stones and branches, where they can jump, dive, and maybe catch some fish…

A pool in the river, under construction.

If sun shies away as the afternoon progresses, a small bonfire by the riverside helps warming up before coming back to Balmandir, just in time for a good dal bhat meal!

Getting warm by the fire after a river dip.

 

But as you know, not all are good news during the rainy season. Monsoon also brings problems every year with transport, flooding, and landslides. Young Bikram, born in the vicinity of Bhimphedi, lost his parents and brother in one of these fatal landslides about a year ago. Nepali newspapers related about that episode of floods and landslides that took away the life of tenths of people across the country,

After a few months living with his grandparents, without enough resources to offer him a secure future, Bikram got into custody of Nepal Children’s Organization (NCO), who assigned him to Balmandir Children’s Home in Bhimphedi.

Bikram explains us about how was his family before a landslide took them away.

Here he started a new adventure, new house, new school, and a big family where everybody shares the conviction that whoever enters Balmandir becomes a new brother! This is for the good and for the worse, to share fun, games, some fights, and happy moments.

This new house of Bikram does not lack colour, thanks to the help of his borthers and sisters.
Teachers of Bhim Aadhar Community School giving Bikram a level test on his first day of school.

After a few weeks Bikram is already making himself familiar with Balmandir and its surroundings,  catching insects, collecting plants, or climbing somewhere high with a good view from where to contemplate the valley of Bhimphedi. Who knows which new adventures are awaiting for him?

Bikram on a tree with a view to Bhimphedi

Another monsoon day grows older in Bhimphedi, as the music of the falling rain leads us once more to the world of dreams.

Building bridges between Kathmandu and Bhimphedi

Written by Isabel Valero, volunteer in the Bhimphedi Children’s Home

We had spent many days rehearsing dramas with the big and the little ones for this weekend, and that is because the youth project of Kathmandu have come! They have been rehearsing for a long time for this event in Bhimphedi, and the truth is that they are very good. So the children of Balmandir also decided to do a drama and both big and small did theirs.

It has been very emotional to welcome them in Balmandir. They arrived in three jeeps full of material and backpacks, and the children showed their rooms. We doubled the population of Balmandir!

Youth project in Balmandir

Then came the great surprise! For the snack, they had to cook more than 600 momos! Yes, they all started to cook in few minutes. Some made the dough, the others stretched it to make the shape, others put the mixture of vegetables or meat with the dough and the last ones that cooked them. It was very exciting to see the whole kitchen full of people eating the momos that they had cooked.  

cooking 600 veg and meat momos for snack

With the stomach full we had time to meet each other with different games and then it was time to do the exchange of dramas that we had been preparing so eagerly. First, the little ones show us theirs, who made everyone laugh with their way of acting so spontaneous and fun.

many energetic games after drama exchanges
Small children playind their drama

Later, it was teens turn, with a drama that tolds the story about some friends who are finding out what Balmandir’s routine is, adding, of course, the touches of humor that they like so much. The youth from Kathmandu knew what we are doing here.

showing the routine to youth from Katmandhu

Finally, the youth gave us a small tasting of the play they would perform the next day at the school. To end this small drama exchange, we all made some games to take energy before the big day.

Small taste of youth drama in the exchange

In the evening, we decided to take a big speaker and announce all over Bhimphedi the work they would do the next day, and the workshops that would be there later so that no one would miss it!

On Saturday we woke up early to drink some tea and cookies and we warmed up all together to take energy. While the youth did the general rehearsal, the others played and they dressed up for the occasion.

Finally, the great moment! We went to school before to prepare the whole stage and all necessary material for the workshops and put the music high for people to begin to come.

Youth project acting

When all the chairs were busy and the porches full (the only place with shadow, my God! It was so hot!) the drama began, and what a success! After the show, the workshops started that were also the strong point of this event where everyone could enjoy and learn new things.

Manual Art workshop
Science workshop. How to make a Scallextric work with the energy of a cycle
Dance workshop
Babia workshop.
Music workshop

Tired, we returned with all the material to Balmandir, and we rested a bit. After Dalbhat, the party started with music where we laughed and danced a lot under the rain until a last song sung by one of the young of Kathmandu gave the final touch to this weekend.

The better to see you with

Written by Vanessa Martínez, volunteer of Bhimphedi Children’s Home.

As we did last year, we checked the vision of all girls and boys of Balmandir. Three of them showed some visual problems so we took them for a complete examination with the ophtalmologist and the optometrist in the Hetauda Community Eye Hospital.

We found that Sumit needs new glasses because his prescription increased a bit, and Purnima should start wearing glasses as well. For now it seems that Binita doesn’t need any glasses.

Both Sumit and Purnima have convergence problems, so we started a visual therapy to solve also the issue and finish with their reading problems.

Purnima with her new glasses!
Sumit with his new glasses!

 

Paint and body work

Written by Joana Alsina, volunteer of Bhimphedi Children’s Home.

In Balmandir we are always busy. When kids go to school, we try to improve Children’s home. After few months we have decided to do a post with some of the results.

The entry: The door was rusted. We have painted and we have treated it.

The furniture of the canteen and of the study room: the benches, tables, and chairs were broken, so we put wooden triangles to reinforce the structures. We put new wood to the canteen banks and plastic for protect them.

Window of the study room: we changed the broken glasses and reinforced the window with some wooden slats to protect it from the balls.

Plumbery: All Balmandir’s taps had leaks. Xavi was really busy for few days. He changed all of them.

Electricity: We improved electrical system and we did a new installation for the rice cooker.

The hostels: During Dashain’s holidays we began to paint rooms. Next step was the hostel of the small ones, toilets and the corridors with plastic painting. In one room we made a white wall for project films. We also have changed the metallic doors.

Store room: We restored the door as well. Now there are cleaning products and the clothes in suitcases.

Office: We took out two beds and we put two shelves. We have more space and light. Now we have two desks and even a printer!

Store room : Space completely changed: shelves painted and upholstered with plastic, boxes for food, save place to put the oil…

The board: The older one was faded. There are some artists in Balmandir so we had renewed it. A lot of patience and accuracy.

Study room: We have also painted this room and decorated. Now there are photos, drawings and the chronological frieze.

Thanks to Josep María, Tonyo, Xavi, Marina, Mercè, Nico, and Anna for all this work.

River and fishing!!

Writed by Vanessa Martínez Lozano at the children’s home

It was 20 years since the last municipal elections in Bhimphedi, and for this reason there was one week of official holidays. We took the opportunity that we had holidays again and that it was very hot to go to the river many days!

While small kids enjoy the river and learn how to swim, some of the big boys are fishing.

After a while, by the river, a bit of sun to get warm.

Ready for fishing!!

We use the walks to the river to take pictures of the plants and later look for information about them. The kids know a lot about local plants properties and they love to search for new plants.

When we return to Balmandir everybody works together on cleaning and cooking the fish.

Sumit, Basu, Bisu y Kush are working toguether on cleaning the fish.
Sushil is in charge of cooking today!!

 

Birthdays and more!!

  Written by Vanessa Mártinez volunteer at children’s home

April is a month full of birthdays, so we celebrated all of them with a big party!!

We had gymkhana, cake, presents, music and lots of fun!!

Kush singing Manu Chao!!
Samir, one of the birthday’s boy enjoying the cake!!

We celebrated the birthdays of Samir (9 years old), Bishnu (12 years old), Arjun (18 years old), our didi Beli and Mònica from Awasuka.

And to refresh ourselves in these hot days we went to the river! Kushal that is just 4 years old, walked downhill and uphill without any problems.

Beautiful hill sight!!
Kushal’s first time at the river. He gets crazy!!

www.amicsnepal.org/bhimphedi