We celebrate Christmas

Written by Guillem Puol, volunteer in Balmandir

It’s been a few days since Christmas arrived at Balmandir, understanding that it is not so important for the boys and girls of Bhimphedi and the children of Nepal in general, the celebration was a bit different from the one we are used to in Catalonia, then use it count We are sorry for the delay in this blog, but as you know in Balmandir, there is always work to do!

Understanding that Christianity is not their religion, what we did is the great Catalan tradition of “cagar el tió”! In the daily activity with the smallest ones we built it, for a few days we have been feeding it until it’s time to crash it! Taking advantage of the fact that in Nepal on December 25th it is festive, we made the crap tonch that day, before but we were doing some activities with small and large!

 

Giving food to tió

The big moment came and we started to practice the song of the caga tió, luckily many of them  were known, since it was not the first time they “cagaven”, they had done it the previous year with the Dani! And they were doing very well.

With tió

They were so excited as they shook him,  getting gifts for each one, a bag with chocolate, candy, a cane, shampoos, etc. The pity was that while we were stuck with the collective force they broke the thorium, but it was worth it and there was a feeling of childhood and youth enthusiasm.

On behalf of all the boys, girls, volunteers, director Surendra, didis, and all the people that we get involved in using Balmandir want to wish for Good Christmas and Good New Year! That’s why we leave a video that was made by the volunteer Ainoa, where all the people who walk Balmandir appear and use good parties

Pilar experiences in Bhimphedi

Written by  Pilar Puigdomènech  exvolunteer from the school of  Bhimphedi

It was going to be a very short volunteering, 4 weeks in July, too short perhaps? Definitely!!! My son Adrià and I got to Bhimpedhi and knowing we were there fleetingly, settled in our room and got to meet the kids, Surendra, the Didis, the teachers of the boarding school and  the other volunteers straight away… and for 21 days we went to our rooms just to sleep. What a wonder!!!!

Journeys were long and light at the same time, from early morning, half past six, to late evening, 9 o´clock… You may wonder why children in the orphanage get up so early… the answer, unbelievable to our European way of living is simple: to study. Children in Balmandir study for an hour and a half in the morning, after having a glass of milk and before breakfast and for another hour and a half in the evening, after their dinner… and this is not the most shocking fact. Despite having been told in advance, it is quite striking to see young children memorizing their lessons by heart, all their lessons, from all subjects. And as they attend a school in which all subjects are taught in English, it is easy for any volunteer to end up, reciting
their lessons too…

Teachers team

I can still hear their voices, their Nepali accents and their singsong. By the way, I haven’t said that children in Balmandir are happy and cheerful kids, and remembering Balmandir is a children’s home, it is more than clear that Amics de Nepal is doing an excellent job there. I wish we had that sort of kids filling up our classrooms, strong and healthy, both physically and psychologically.

I must admit that as a European teacher used to pedagogies which undervalue memorising any sort of information, during their study time, I insisted on making questions related to what they were memorizing to make sure they understood what they were repeating. I soon learned what I now see as obvious; kids who had trouble in memorizing were the same who couldn’t answer the questions testing their comprehension, so helping them to understand what they had to memorize was a very effective way to give them a hand; seen from the distance, it is blatant again!

One of the reasons why we had been accepted as volunteers for such a short period of time was that Amics de Nepal realised the importance of helping teachers at the boarding school improve their English and I have a long experience as a teacher of English as a second language. Except for the subject of Nepali language, the rest of subjects are taught in English, so one may assume that the teachers have an advanced level of English, reasonable at least!
Well, I’m afraid that in the boarding school in Bhimpedhi, this is not always the case, and from what I learned, a lot of the teachers working in the different rural boarding schools throughout
Nepal, are in the same situation. So, how do they manage? It is not difficult to guess, they do exactly the same as they ask their pupils to do, repeat what is in their books…. Welcome to the Boarding School in Bhimpedhi.

Working in class

Traditionally, a boarding school provides education as well as lodging and meals. However, in Nepal, boarding schools are those which use English as the language of instruction. Are they called boarding because they are supposed to be and Elite educational option? I still wonder. Teaching English to the teachers of the school was a privilege, one of the nicest you can experience. A group of young teachers with different levels of English and interests but all
willing to learn. It was far too short, at least for me. I would have enjoyed staying longer and seeing their progress go forward.

I remember so many unforgettable moments… One day while practising ways to give advice and instructions I asked them to imagine that their soul had gone far away on holiday, to the
nicest place they could think of, and my soul had set into their bodies, to cover up. They had to give me instructions on what to do at home so that nobody would notice anything weird was
going on. I told them to talk directly to me and tell me how to behave with their husbands, kids, parents, neighbours. I gave them a few silly examples like: when you wake up, say hello to
my husband and give him a good morning kiss; you mustn’t drink milk as I never do, you should wake my children up once breakfast is ready. I told them, they could make up whatever
they wanted and that the important was to have fun and enjoy while they were writing… I still remember the way they looked at me. It took me a few minutes to make myself understood, but once they started, it was magic! They enjoyed and I amused myself seeing their sparkling eyes and hearing their giggling. I expected some entertaining, carefree essays, but, once again, I was wrong. What they wrote was, in general, far more intimate than I could have ever
imagined, talking about the relationships with their husbands and kids, their feelings, their desires, their hopes… and, as you can imagine, they all wished me to do my best to enjoy my day in their bodies and take care of their beloved ones.

A pleasure to meet them all and to know that shortly after my departure a young English teacher was going there for a much longer period of time. My son and I will always be grateful to the children in Balmandir, Sir Surendra, the Didis, the teachers, Josep, Joan and the rest of the volunteers and to Amics de Nepal for allowing us to take part in such an admirable project.

Lets go for a picnic

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

This December we had a stellar activity in our lives! We have gone with the family of Balmandir to Picnic !! Yeah yeah! Now a month ago, Kamal (the young boy from the house) suggested that we leave with all the boys and girls to make picnic.  And so we have done it …

This past Saturday 9th we went to visit the C.G Temple, in the Chitwan region. The day before twe were so nerveous , we were blossomed. We started cooking the night before, a special Dalbat, because it was spicy and coconut, we also cook papad, shrimp bread, and a long etcetera. On the same day 9 we took off very early to finish making all the preparations, then take a bus, which was all for us alone!

The bus with advise.

Also volunteers came, Didis, the Ram the cook, the Prabat, teacher  of children and young people from Kathmandu too! It was a long bus trip, but it was definitely worth it! Upon arrival, we went around the outskirts of the temple, looking at the new environment where we were. It was very hot, More than what we are used to here in Bhimphedi! Since we were very close to India!

The time had come to eat, and how tasty it was all! mmm!

Finally we were entering the temple, it was very different from the temples that we are accustomed to here in Nepal! Since its construction was relatively new, so new that they are still building it now! Very pale and bright colors, with very characteristic and different shapes. Then you can see a few pictures, of that strange but beautiful temple.

C.G. Temple

In addition, we were also able to go into Nepali history, thanks to a museum that was under the temple. We both entered into small children and we learned new things, which we did not imagine. The time went by very quickly and it was time to return, but Rohit (Kathmandu’s young person) gathered to tell us that we had a mission to do among all!

And it was to clean the entrance to the temple, which was very dirty and , as we left home we wanted to do social action to help improve our environment. The material was obtained thanks to the contacts that the young people of Kathmandu have with Clean Up Nepal, since it is not the first time they work with them.

Just després de netejar

After this cleaning, we took the return bus. This time but after the long day we fell asleep a few. When we arrived at Balmandir, we had dinner quickly and go  to sleep! That the next day we had school. It was a very nice and full day, where we enjoyed this great excursion and picnic.

The following link use will be sent to a video where you can see all the photos of the output:

We hope to repeat an experience like this one soon!

Hands on the work

The days have passed and as you know, in Balmandir there is always work to do and things to repair. One more year Tonyo’s visit has allowed us to do a whole lot of improvements. The floor of the study room has been renovated, the whole gazebo has been painted, the slide and swings have been fixed and painted. Thanks to all these painting sessions we have achieved that Balmandir is prettier than ever.

Painting the slide

The mosquito net fabrics of all the windows that have been torn apart from their use have also been repaired. They have purchased metal baskets, office supplies, cleaning materials, light bulbs, care materials to equip the bottle, As you can see we have done a recharge of basic things in general, which is always good.

This was more to plant potatoes, with the help of agronomic students, Hector, David and also Tonyo, it was decided to make a larger plantation of potatoes. Both small and large participated in this plantation, be it in the daily sessions of “kitchen garden” as the “extra work” on Saturdays

Tonyo working in the potatos field

Now the problem is to water this great field of potatoes. That is why we had to buy a new water tank (1000l), new hoses, taps and 4 sprinklers. But we also need more power, that is why Xavi has made us come up with a majestic and powerful water pump that gives us a lot of work.

Paint and brushes have been purchased to paint the entire porch we use from a stencil to the clothes of a dark green color that makes it cleaner and more bucolic. It has been a week of work, first we had to wash and then paint. We have been doing it little by little with the collaboration of the children.

Final result
ANna and Tonyo painting
Ashish working

They were the youth of the house that took the paintbrushes and the paint we had left and painted everything they could, until the painting was finished. Now Balamdir reigns in the dark green color, it’s really good!

Xavi also visited us for two weeks. It has helped us in these jobs and has done more! Since for a week he has done electronic sessions with the children of the house. They were motivated !! We have also fixed one of the latrine pipes that had a water leak, we have been advised by Dayli, the new volunteer of the Awasuka project specializing in latrines.

Electronic session with Xavi

Thank you one more year, to Friend Tonyo, to the Friends of Benicarló and “penya del Setrill”  that they support! Obviously also thank Xavi for all the work done and the motivation he has given us.

A month full of visits in Balmandir

Written by  Anna Brunet, viceprecident  of Amics del Nepal 

Over the past few weeks we have had many visits, all from people who have come to help us to make this house a place to live and grow happily.

At the end of October Madi and Dani visited Balmandir, they spend a day to see the house and meet with its small inhabitants. However it was a school day and we could not share a lot of time together. We would like to give thanks ! With they donation we have been able to buy blankets and bedspreads, now that winter is coming, it will make our nights more confortable !

Quique, Anna, Miquel and Binia wih Madi and Dani

The same day cames Enric, the current president of Amics del Nepal and myself, we spend 4 days in Balmandir. We could check how all the children grews up in one year and to find out about the new small children: Bikram, Manisha, Binita, Kushal and Ekendra, all them came to Balmatir last April and they are already very well adapted to the new family. The visit was also very useful to talk with the new director, all the staff and volunteers that are working in the centre. We hope to have made a great push to continue working and improving!

Tika before leaving

In November we had two more visits. First came a group of climbers, they had crowned a mountain of great technical difficulty, Ama Dablam (6812m). Sergi Mingote and his colleagues wanted to spend they last day in Nepal to meet Balmandir. We received them with a presentation and a video that had been prepared by the children to tell them how Balmandir is doing every day. Kush, one of big boys, also gave them an explanation with Power-point.

Kush is making the presentation

The climbers brought us a flag of Amics del Nepal that was crowned Ama Dabalam and all us signed on it.

WIth the sign flat

They give also another surprise, they bring a Dron, that children wanted catch, luckily they could not, on the other hand, the Dron did really good images from us.

 

The second visit of the month of November filled the House of Magic. Once again we would like to thank the Mágic Andreu, who, during his stay in Nepal, came to visit us. We all enjoyed and laughed a lot with their tricks! On the next day the Magician also went to make a show in the school, so children from Balmandir had a double session.

Hapiness faces
Basu doing magic

 

All of us looking magic Andreu
Purnima doesn’t bealive that!

 

 

THANK YOU ALL TO HELP US TO FOLLOW FORWARD !!

Tihar with family

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

The second most important festival in Nepal is here! This October we are in constant celebrations and we like this. So how has this holiday gone? Well perfect! Many different things have happened and others similar to Dashain.

 

Surendra in the swing

First of all, say that Tihar consist of five days of followed celebrations, this is also called Diwali or Deepawali.

Although there are several stories of the celebration of Tihar, the most famous is the story of the god Yama (God of death) and his sister Yamuna. It is said that these brothers had been separated for a long time and, in an attempt to contact, Yamuna sent a crow, a cow and a dog to his brother. When she did not receive a reply, Yamuna visited Yama herself, bringing with her exquisite delicacies to honor her brother. Once together, she blessed him by putting the tika and a flower necklace, and Yama gave her presents and money.

 

Didi Maya putting tikas

The tihar is very important in Nepal because for five days it shows respect not only to humans and gods, but also to animals such as cows, crows and dogs. People make drawings in the houses or in the front yards with colored rice, flour, colored sand and flower petals, called Rangoli, to welcome the gods.

Decorate the houses with colored lights and at night groups of people come out to sing and dance. Every day something different is celebrated: the first day honors the crows, the second the dogs, the third the cows and Laxmi (the goddess of money), the fourth the oxen and the last day brothers are honored and venerated.

The boys of Balmandir making boukets of flowers

In Balmandir the day of the brother is the most awaited day of tihar. The boys sat on the floor forming a square that surrounded the girls. They drew small circles on the ground where they then put calendula petals and gave water to their brothers. Then came the moment when the sisters put the tika on the forehead of their brothers, one by one. The tika of tihar, unlike that of the Dashain, is composed of several colors placed vertically. Once the tika was put on, each child was given a flower necklace and given a box of sweets and nuts. At the end of the ritual each brother gave money to his sisters and everyone enjoyed family lunch.

RamRaj, Saran, Kul and Bishnu with tikas

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!

www.amicsnepal.org/bhimphedi