Dashain lagyo

Written by Marina Vinas, volunteer of Children’s Home

The Dashain is the Nepal’s national holiday comparable to Christmas. It is the main, the longest and the most auspicious festival in the Bikram Sambat annual calendar celebrated by all Nepalese people. During these days, everyone goes to the family house (parent’s home) and spend these days together making offerings and various rituals to worship goddess Durga in all its manifestations. Balmandir family could not be less and we also celebrated the Dashain.

A few days ago Maya Didi began preparing all needed for the tika day. Eleven days later, when we reached the center in the morning and opened the door … “they’re here, they’re here!”. They were anxiously waiting us, all with new clothes (new pants or shoes) we had given them a couple of days earlier. Now we could start. Maya opened the door of the “storeroom” where he had left the dishes with seeds and a floral scent from germinated sprouts came into our nose. In the TV room all was ready: a tray with rice mixed with flowers, a vase of flowers, a tray with a mix for the tika – rice, coloring and yogurt – and the germinated. According to tradition, elders put this tika on the forehead of younger relatives to bless them with abundance in the upcoming years and give them the “Dakshin” – a small amount of money – . So Didi Maya began: first she took the flowers and, as if she was baptizing, she sprinkled some water over their heads. Then she threw some rice with flowers and put them the tika on the forehead, between the eyes (where the third eye is). Finally, she gave an outbreak of germinated wrapped with money. She did this with each child, from the younger to the older. And the big surprise was that she also put the tika to us! Then it was the Krishna’s turn (center director) and Ram (the cook). And finally, the Belly Didi’s turn. After that, we asked if we also could put the tika so Joana and I could also blessing with our best wishes to each of them.

Maya begins the ceremony with Susmita, Sarita and Purnima
Krishna putting the tika to Samir
Belly putting the tika to the Balmandir and Awasuka volunteers
We also put the tika to the Balmandir kids

During these holidays they also make other rituals such as animal sacrifice. In fact, normally we eat “massu” (meat) only on Saturday night, which is the holiday of each week in Nepal. But during the days of Dashain “massu” is very much present in every meal. A chicken one day, buffalo another day. And the surprise was yesterday morning when Krishna came with Basu, a man who had come expressly to make the sacrifice of one of our goats. When we discover the reason he had come, “luckily” the goat had been sacrificed. We went to the place they were doing the ritual and Basu, helped by Ram and under the eyes of the Balmandir kids, he began to peel the goat, clean, smear it with an orange paste (which as explained to me is to preserve and flavor) and make different cuts. After removing the different organs, the kids helped clean them. That day the members of the Nepal Children’s Organization came to Balmandir to put the tika and all together we taste the meat goat.

Peeling the goat


Washing the intestines

Finally, here there is another tradition. These days all children make kites and make them fly. And here the kites fly high, very high. Almost as high as the mountains those surround us. They have not explained the meaning, but perhaps these kites are done to flying high our best wishes to all.

Ramesh Syangtan making one kite

Happy Dashain !!


Making some games

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

Last week we built some games. The kid called Love is the handyman of Balmandir. He makes a spinning with wood and one nail, and they work really well. One morning we said that we would like to make some hoops, because we could use them for different kind of activities. He went to the workshop and in few minutes he brought some of them. Exactly what we wanted!

We play with hoops every day. We use them as a base to play baseball, to do sport exercises and as hula-hops. To make them, Love cut wire to create circles and he joined them to be more consistent. But when we tried on the football field we realized that we cannot see really well. So we went to look for colour tape to cover them. We started to stick tape around until we had red and green hoops.

Ashish, Som and Bishow doing hoops.


We also painted some plastic bottles for make bowls. We don’t use only with a ball, we also train with hoops. But this is not as easy as it seems! We painted spinning tops as well. Now, when you turn spinning tops colours and shapes mingle, creating special effects.

Basu and Anuj painting tops.

Dashain is coming

Written by Marina Viñas volunteer at the Children’s Home

Since the beginning of the month all is being prepared for the most important festival held in Nepal, Dashain. The translation would be “10 days”. Two weeks ago the older kids of Balmandir wanted to go to the tree to catch some leaves. Going to the tree to catch some leaves? It seems like an excuse just to go doing a tour. The next day we understood why they wanted to go to the tree. From Balmandir we can see a beautiful tree in the opposite mountain, on the other side of the river. It is a majestic tree from which there are magnificent views of Bhimphedi. There they managed to collect some leaves that Didi Maya needed to make the dish / tray where some seeds are germinated for 10 days. On the eleventh day germinated is used to put the Dashain’s “tica”.

Didi Maya preparing the “tica” dishes
Dishes already finished
Didi Maya prepares the tica’s germinate while Som looks attentively

The smallest of the house have spent the last week doing greating cards. With colored paper, scissors, glue and imagination they have made beautiful postcards with his best wishes to the teachers of the school.

Preparing the grating cards

On Thursday morning …. all the kids woke up with a smile on his face. “Today is the last school day!!!”. The classes ended at noon and holiday began. This morning we prepared a night game with the help of the oldest boys of Balmandir (they already finished the school). In the evening we wanted to give yogurt for dessert to celebrate the beginning of the holidays. But …. monkeys have stolen the Maya’s keys and we can’t open the fridge !!! We can’t take yogurt !!! This was the beginning of the story. After winning several games, we got a map with the key location. We went into the darkness of the night to recover it and be able to eat the yogurt. Mmm!!! A great holiday’s beginning.

Ramesh drawing the map
Rojan and Ashish preparing one of the games
Ramseh Thami and Manoj trying to win one of the games
Ramesh Thami is the winner
Can we untangle?
Deciphering the mapa

On Saturday morning … well, morning, morning … rather we should say the early morning from Friday to Saturday. At 3 o’clock in the morning we were prepared for the traditional tour to the temple, the tour that they usually do every early morning in the 10 prior days to the “tica’s day”. With some of the BAlmandir kids and Krishna (the director) we went up. Up, up, up … we didn’t think it was so much above. After almost an hour of walking and coming across groups of people who already returned, we reached the temple. Once there, three rounds to the temple, a bell ringing and a hot tea to regain strength before returning to Balmandir.

The temple
The morning people

And today, three days before the “tica’s day” (the most important day of Dashain), they have reached gifts. Like Christmas at home. All the kids in Balmandir have new pants or shoes. Like it is said: a picture is better than thousand words.

Happy Dashain !!

The gifts
Everybody is ready to recived the gifts
Krishna giving the gift to Kiran
The new shoes of Bishwo
The new jeans of Sarita
Manisha drawing a hena tatoo to Sarita
And that’s the result

Yogurt afternoon snack

Written by Joana Alsina volunteer at the Children’s Home

In Balmandir, at six o’clock from the morning it’s the tea time for the biggest and the buffalo’s milk time for children. Five litters of fresh milk are bought every day, which quickly are gone! But we are in very special dates now and some of the biggest boys from Balmandir have gone to celebrate Dashain with their family so every day we can spare a few litters of delicious buffalo’s milk. Making mozzarella seemed too risky, so we decided to try to make yogurt.


Transform the milk into yogurt is not really difficult; you only need a portion of yogurt sample – which is needed to transform the milk -, a thermometer – to measure the water and the milk temperatures – and a yogurt-maker. Despite we have neither yogurt-maker nor thermometer in Bhimphedi, we still decided to try it.

Every day we take two litters of milk. Once it has boiled and while let it cool, we put another pot of water to the fire. This will works as a yogurt-maker. Once the milk cooled a bit – and we believe that it’s around 46 degrees – we add yogurt and stir it trying to avoid lumps. We fill in metallic glasses and put them in the pot with hot wather.

We put milk in metallic glasses and we leave in one pot with hot water.

Then we cover it with a plate and we wrap all with blanket to keep the heat all night, like in a yogurt-maker.

The next morning, we open the pot and …. surprise, yogurt is done! We don’t use thermometer and for this reason they get different textures every day. We don’t like routine so it is fine for us. We keep them in the fridge until we have enough for every child. Every three days in Balmandir there is yogurt afternoon snack!



Back home for Dashain

Dashain and Tihar are the most important festivals in Nepal, the equivalent of our Christmas. When the dates of these festivals are near is very difficult to find place on any bus, everyone wants to go to their own hometown.

In our Children’s Home there are also some kids who know some relatives and they can go to spend the these festivals with them. This year 9 of the 26 children of the Bhimphedi Children’s Home have gone with relatives! The rest of the children (mostly the younger children of whom we don’t know any relatives) stay in the Children’s Home, where we celebrate Dashain and Tihar as any other family.

In fact some of the boys and girls who have left the Children’s Home to live in another Children’s Home or to live by themselves also come to meet us for a few days and receive a “tika”.

This year is special because we have found the families of one of our boys, Jay, and one of the girls, Bipana. In both cases the children didn’t remember their families, but after a good research work, leaded by the director of the Children’s Home Krishna Pudasaini and many hours of bus, we managed to find their families, both more than 20 hours away from Bhimphedi. Thus, these children will spend Dashain this year with their families for the first time since they were very young.

Ramraj has also gone to his village for the first time since he has memory. To go to his village he must travel for 20 hours by bus, take a plane and then walk some hours. A very complicated trip, but it will worth it.

Ramraj’s brother has come to pick him from the Children’s Home. They will celebrate this Dashain together.

Kush, Love, Sujan and Kamal, from very remote areas of western Nepal, will meet their families after three years without meeting them.

Krishna (right), who had gone to investigate about Jay’s family (second from right) and had found his family, against all the odds, continued the trip to the north-west of the country to leave Love (left) and his brother Kush in their house where they still they have one uncle. Their village is located in the wonderful Khaptad National Park.
View of the Khaptad National Park.

Let’s hope next year we can also find new families and even make family reunifications as we have done this year with Sita and Arati.

Happy Dashain to everyone!

Some days ago, Anna Brunet and I (Daniel Roig) visited Arati in Kalaya to wish a happy Dashain to her and her 3 siblings.
This year Arati doesn’t live with us in Bhimphedi Children’s Home but she studies in a private school in Kalaya where she can share her life with her two sisters and one brother. This year it will be the first Dashain that Arati will celebrate with her siblings in the last 12 years.

The handyman of Balmandir

Written by Marina Viñas volunteer at the Children’s Home

The last three weeks we have been lucky to have in Balmandir our own “sparks”, Josep Maria. He has not stopped working even a second for the time he has been with us. He and his anti-mosquitoes uniform – green overalls and red hat – were always ready to work. Here there is always something to do. Often there are unexpected events that delay the easiest works and make them challenging and almost impossible. But with patience and persistence finally everything can be solved here, most of the times with the help of a hammer.

Some of the Balmandir doors did not close very well, because the door closers were damaged. After repairing them and add some news on the rear doors (without the help of any assembly instructions), now all doors open and close perfectly.

There were also some mosquito nets to fix or exchange. Mosquitoes also love to live in Balmandir, there are plenty of them. We do not know how to get rid of them, but at least we can prevent them to come inside the buildings. We are more than grateful, since we don’t love to be mosquito food.

As perhaps you remember, three weeks ago two new computers arrived in Balmandir. But… how to plug them? Our handyman made an extension of the plugs of the computer room. Now we can work five people at once, each with their own computer.

We also needed to extend the drainage of the water coming from the baths, kitchen and cleaning clothes because now the water ended up next to the toilets where lots of mosquitoes liked to stay. With the help of some collaborators Josep Maria extended the channel to take the water till the kitchen garden where the water can be useful.

Josep and Joana working on the water drainage extention


Water drainage extention


But water is needed for many things, and very often the tanks are empty. Why? Because the pump-motor has been spoiled. Balmandir water comes directly from the village network and is stored in a large underground reservoir. This water is distributed to other stores located above each of the modules using this pump-motor. Without this engine, children have to climb up the modules to connect the small deposits with the large underground reservoir using a small borrowed pump.

Josep incoming to the underground reservoir
Suction valve, in the underground reservoir


Ramesh Thami and Kiran connecting the small deposit of the kitchen with the large underground reservoir

To repair the pump-motor was one of the most resisted tasks for our own “sparks”. One piece was burned and had to be changed so he had to go to Hetauda. Once he got one new, and after installed it… the suction valve didn’t work!! Some moments of despair so the job done looked like it had been done for nothing. But finally the pump works again. We finally have water! But we have to be careful not to destroy the machine again (it cannot work more than half an hour). That’s why Josep Maria has made a wooden box that is closed with a lock that protects and controls the access to only a couple of people.


But when Josep Maria was fixing the machine he is totally astonished of seeing the electrical installation of the Children’s Home! In this country they do not know what a differential device is? nor even an earth connection??!! It seems incredible but true: nowhere are installed and it’s so difficult to find a store to buy them. But after spending a many hours we get them. Our sparks installed the differential and two holes were digged thanks to the help of some kids and volunteers. These holes were made to install the earth connection, one for the water pump-motor and another for the Balmandir electric installation. Here we learn many things. Do you know how an earth connection is made? Well, I didn’t know until now.

Earth connection of the water pump-motor
Earth connection of Balmandir electric installation

But this is not all. There was a project that excited Josep Maria more than others: repairing the swing. The legs were completely crooked, with a wrong inclination (that caused more than one accident) and the bearings were broken for long time. Ramon Coderch, member of Amics del Nepal, provided us with top quality bearings from Barcelona, so we were well prepared for the task. Two new holes were digged to straighten the left legs of the swing. Like everything, easy tasks don’t exist here. While digging one hole we found a metal pipe. We must take care to avoid a new problem. But finally we got it, the left legs were straightened legs and “sparks” have already installed the supports. Now we just need to put the swings and we can swing safely.

Previous to the reparation



Once repaired

Three intense weeks. Now we just have said goodbye to Josep Maria. We will miss him, to him, his green uniform and his hat. And his energy, that has made possible all this work. Thank you very much, Josep!





Expanding the computer room

Written by Anna Brunet, vicepresident of Amics del Nepal. With the collaboration of Xavier Calvet and Marina Viñas.

When we heard that the hospital where we work, Parc Tauli of Sabadell, gives used computers to NGOs, we thought it would be a good opportunity to expand the computer room of Balmandir. So far we had only one computer and three laptops (donated by UPC Reutilitza, the exvolunteer Mar and Montse) for 26 children.

For ten computers, after working many years, instead of the expected retirement, it starts a new adventure and long journey. But to take the computers to Nepal will not be so easy. Each computer (tower, screen, keyboard and mouse) weighs 15 kg. Volunteers and a trekking expedition group from Terrassa will take them to Nepal with their own luggage.

To start we sent only two computers to see how the plan works. For this purpose we wrap and protect them well, so they begin their journey. First from Sabadell to Barcelona and then to Kathmandu by plane (two planes in fact). Once in Nepal we put them above the roof rack of a taxi and finally on the top of a jeep (for more than three hours). We have been lucky because it has not rained, but the road is not easy, nor for the computers nor for us, with turns and jumps.

Anna, Joana and Marina in the airport of Barcelona taking the two computers to Nepal.
Marina and Joana in Kathmandu waiting for the jeep to go to Bhimphedi with the two computers.

Finally the two computers have reached Bhimphedi where we installed them and connected to the Internet. They work! Even the speakers! So great!




The computer room of Balmandir looks already pretty good. Some of the small kids using the computers supervised by Rojan, the elder of the kids.

Now the next challenge for the computers will be to survive as long as possible in the hands of Balmandir children. We expect the kids take good care of them and learn a lot about the use of computers.

Soon the rest of the computers will be here as well! Thanks to Parc Taulí and to all people who have helped us to take them here!


Celebrating the Children’s Day

Written by Marina Viñas and Joana Alsina, volunteers at the Children’s Home

14th of September was the Children’s Day. A general knowledge quiz was prepared in the primary school and the Ramesh Thami team was the winner. It was a nice present for his birthday.




Ramesh team, winner of the general knowledge quiz

A gymkhana prepared by Krishna – the Balmandir’s director – was prepared for the return of the children from the school. There were different kind of games depending on the age. The first one was “hit the pot”: one stick was in the middle of the football field with an iron pot upside. Each blindfolder player had to touch the pot using a stick. There were some players that just went along, others went far from the pot and few of them get it easily. Even  Ram (the cook) and Maya (didi) tried it.

Hit the pot

After that, it was the time for the younger children. They were ready for the bag race, ready to start with the whistle signal. Some fell halfway but others continued jumping until finish the race.

The next game was the apple ones: children must eat the apple without using their hands.  The last game was the spoon-bowls race that Purnima won.

Ready for the bag race

When the gynkhana had finished, the party continued with the football final and the Ramesh birthday celebration. After dinner, we prepared good desserts and presents for the gymkhana winners, and Ramesh also had his birthday’s present. A good ending to celebrate Children’s Day.

Football winner team: Sujan, Prabhat, Sushil, Kamal, Krishna and Santa.




Football in Balmandir

Written by Mireia Masó and Jordi Giral, volunteers at the Children’s Home

August has been a very active month about news and changes on the football world of Bhimphedi. Like it would happen if we were talking about professional football, the hot news of the summer have been the improvement on the Balmandir’s football court, friendly matches, the selection of some of our teenagers to play in the Bhimphedi school’s team and even the selection of our small Messi for the region team.

On one hand, for the last months we have been having troubles with the football balls because they were blast very frequently. Which was the reason? When they kick the ball very strong, it is very simple that it ends in the prison wall, which is on the other side of the street, and the iron protection systems, which are used to avoid the escaping of the prisoners, blasted them all. After some days on thinking about what could be done, we decided to build a metallic net to install after the problematic goal. As soon as we bought the needed material, Luv began to work and in just some days he built it. It is a very big net, 10m long and 3m high. Since the moment we installed it, no more balls have been lost.

On the other hand, the goals began to have stability problems. We decided to disassemble them to avoid problems. We rebuilt them, developing better connections between the poles, painting them with black protective paint to make them more durable and we stuck them in the ground using concrete. Finally, we painted white lines and now the football ground has two goals which we hope they will last very long.

One of the new goals and the new fence, made by the kids to protect the balls from the wall of the jail situated next to the children’s home.

To celebrate this achievement, we played a game with the teenagers which last almost two hours. The result was 10-9. Dani’s team defeated Jordi’s team with a goal in the last minute by RamRaj, the star of the group. Only with the whistle sound, which announced the dinner, the players could finally rest. They went as happy as tired to get the deserved Dal Bhat of the evening.

Ramesh and Jordi shooting the ball as they were in Oliver and Benji.
Dani, Love and the other players looking how Sushil receives a ball.

In the regional news, Kamal, Luv and Ramraj were selected to play with the Bhimphedi’s school team. The school organised this team to play a regional tournament in Hetauda. After 4 victories, some of them we equilibrated as they got to the penalties, they reached the big final. The mobilization of the school was spectacular. They organised a bus to go and go back from Hetauda and lots of youngers, teachers and volunteers went to see the game. The unlucky part was that it rained a lot that day and the game was postponed.

Next day, the team and the supporters we came back to Hetauda and that day was very sunny and the game was played under a terrible warmth. The only goal of the match was scored by Bhimphedi during the first time. 1-0! CHAMPIONS! And moreover, our 3 teenagers played the match! The celebration began as soon as the game ended: Once the cup and the medals were handed. The players began to dance and take some pictures with the cup and the supporters. After a while, the bus came and we went again to Bhimphedi. The celebration continued and along the return trip, with drums and music dishes to be sure that every single person in Hetauda and Bhimphedi knew that they won the tournament. “It’s the first time we win this tournament!” Looking at their happy faces and how Bhimphedi people received them when they arrived to Bhimphedi, it seemed Futbol Club Barcelona (or Futbol Club Bhimphedi, as they like to say) doing the celebration with the people after winning the Champions League. Congratulations Champions!

Ramraj receiving the champion medal.
Luv receiving the champion medal.
Kamal receiving the champion medal.
The champion team with the cup and the medals!



The three kids of the children’s home selected for the school team, the team that won the football competition. From left to right: Luv, Kamal and Ramraj.

Once the tournament of the Hetauda district was finished, a selection of the best players from different teams was made to play the next phase. The good news is that Ramraj, our little Messi, was selected!

The team also won all the matches of the second stage and qualified for the phase of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Ramraj enjoyed this tournament, but because they lost the first match and drew the second, they did not qualify for the final. However, Ramraj returned to the children’s home of Bhimphedi with a big smile.


The first rice party

Written by Marina Viñas and Joana Alsina, volunteers at the Children’s Home

Yesterday was 11th September, the national day of Catalunya. In Bhimphedi it was also an important day because one of the village family celebrated the “Bhat Khuwair” (first rice) of Chesang, their six months old son, one of 16 basic rituals that are part of the life of a Hindu.

But the family used the opportunity to celebrate the “Ghunyo Choli” for their daughter Chheku Dolma (a celebration in which parents give clothes to her daughter, mandatory celebration for every girl at any age, but always before she has the age to marry).

Three children from the children’s home were lucky, because studying in fifth grade, the same class as the Chheku, they were invited to the party too.

The celebration began in the morning and people kept going to the house, taking their gift for the honored kids. In the afternoon we enjoyed this celebration together: Dani, the Manisha, Ramesh Thami, Bishnu, Sushil and the volunteers of Balmandir. There were more than half of the town. Perhaps 200 people!

Manisha and Dani with the three kids from the children’s home invited to the party.
Some of the friends of Chheku.

The backyard was nicely decorated with a tent built with different colored clothing where the Dalbhat and dessert were served. Outside, there were many chairs and benches so that everyone could take a snack comfortably. Often it appeared someone to serve you more drinks or fill up the plate. Once we were full we went to the porxo, chairs were removed and the garden became a dancefloor. A great feast! Good food, good drink and good dance!