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!
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…
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!)
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!
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….
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…
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!
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.
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.
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?
Another monsoon day grows older in Bhimphedi, as the music of the falling rain leads us once more to the world of dreams.
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.
Workshop by Mercè Vega Castellví, beekeeper and artisan.
This week we have been learning about bees. All the kids already knew that honey is produced by bees. But how does a hive work? How do bees make honey?
The first activity was prepared to differentiate the 3 types of bees: the queen, workers, and drones. Everyone draw his own bee.
We explained what is the work of each type of bee, and why the bees are important for the pollination. The second day we made a mobile to hang in the corridor. We began drawing working-bees and drones, flowers of different colours and hexagons for build the hive.
With this activity we showed them how wives’ bees are organized. At the central part there are the queen, eggs and larvae. And in the external part the honey and the pollen are stored.
But how do people extract honey from a hive?
Mercè had been a beekeeper and she brought some tools. They loved test them.
Finally, we did a mural with all what we had learnt about bees.
Written by Nicolas Gautier, volunteer at the Children’s Home
Joan Miró – Figures and dog in front of the sun
Wladimir Kandinsky – Yellow, Red, Blue
Piet Mondrian – Composition in Red, Blue, Yellow
These paintings are the starting point of an activity to discover not only the three primary colors but much more!
Before producing works worthy of these three great painters, the children began with preparatory works. Inspired by the three works, they drew figures based on simple and geometric shapes. It was not just a question of copying, as they often tend to do, but of sketching with their imagination.
Some preparatory works:
Then, in groups of 4, they worked on the production of large format drawings. The children were able to juggle with red, blue and yellow by integrating them into their wacky and cooperative work.
Written by Nicolas Gautier, volunteer at the Children’s Home.
For some time strange phenomena have taken place at Balmandir. One might think of a science fiction film, but it is real. Scary and unknown creatures have been appearing in every corner of the Children’s Home. Half socks, half insects, they are now known here as the Sock Monsters!
Ok… it’s a joke… the Sock Monsters are just old socks, a bit of colored fabric, wool, thread, buttons, newspaper and lots of imagination!
Written by Nicolas Gautier, volunteer at the Children’s Home.
When I arrived to Kathmandu, I visited a very authentic paper shop in the Thamel neighborhood. Inside, there were nice decorations of paper and cardboard. Among them, I was struck by the star-shaped garlands. I thought it was a good idea to reproduce with the children of Balmandir.
Once I arrived to Bhimphedi, I discovered the children’s home. This first impression reinforced my idea, the children’s bedrooms were poorly decorated. So we began to prepare the activity, but I did not want to make only stars. I have drawn several shapes so each child could choose the one he liked the most.
Several steps were necessary to make these garlands:
1- We chose a shape according to his preference taking into account the level of difficulty of the garland.
2- We reproduced 8 times the shape accurately.
3- We cut out these shapes.
4- We coloured.
5- We chose a color string threat and beads to decorate the garland.
6- We made knots, put the beads and pasted the shapes.
7- Finally we hanged the garland in their bedroom.
Written by Cristina Morales, member of the Board of Amics del Nepal, with the collaboration of Miquel Comas and Daniel Roig.
Drawings by Ramesh Syantang boy of 14 years of Bhimphedi Childrenps Home, who has lived 10 years with Jay.
Jay has a smile that grabs you and does keeps with you and takes you to the highest cloud sky beyond…
Now is one of the eldest in the house, where he is loved by everyone: he helps in the kitchen and the children, always ready to play football rather than to do homework… with a confused apperance, sometimes it seems that he plays to hide what he understands; he does not speak much, but his look is noble as the water of the rivers of the Himalayas.
Jay does not like the surname “Balak”. It is not his real surname, but the one Nepal Children’s Organization gave to him when they took him, it means “child” and means that the person has no known origin or caste, there is a stigma to it… so he decided to change the name and take Anish Rana as own.
Sometimes Jay/Anish wonders why he has lived for 14 years in Balmandir the Children’s Home of Bhimphedi. Some nights, while listening to the laughter and confidences of the caretakers, carrying utensils in the kitchen when almost everyone sleeps, watches the sky full of nearby stars and dreams awake that somewhere, maybe in the mountains or perhaps in the hot plains of Terai, now there is a woman who looks to the same Nepalese sky, remembering a child that was lost long ago…
Jay has grown up, it’s time to leave the house and start a new life. He carries with him the gift of solidarity: an education, a secure environment for his childhood, proper food, personal care, affection, friends and family of a different kind: Amics del Nepal, working, with the help of so many people of good faith, so that Jay and many like him have more opportunities in the future.
As a condition to integrate into society and find better jobs to be independent, Jay should get the Nepali identity card. Not knowing the exact origins of a person, this process is very complicated. For Jay/Anish it will be very difficult to get his ID…
Searching for distant memories still stored in his memory, suddenly, one day Jay/Anish could say to Krishna, the director of the Bhimphedi Children’s Home, a name that reminded him of his place of origin: “…laghara…”.
And with this name Krishna decided to embark on the adventure of going to all the villages with a similar name to “Laghara” near the police station where Jay was found, to try the foolish and risky task of finding a relative of the boy. Hours in bus, three days of frantic visits to offices of police, meeting with people of different communities, local government officials…
One night, a family from a village from three hours walk reached the police headquarters. They heard the news of this young reunited. Won’t it be the son who they lost 14 years ago while accompanying his mother to cut grass for the buffalo?
The marks behind the ear and hand do not lie. Nor his factions… a miracle! whole family burst into tears of joy. The next day more and more people come from the village to the police station to see with their own eyes the boy who lived!
14 years ago, a mother left with her three years old son to go to cut grass for their cattle. It is a very common job in Nepal, anyone who has seen it has been disconcerted watching Nepali women loading huge piles of grass hanging from their forehead walking up in the steep paths of the Nepali hills as if it was not a superhuman job… The name of this boy who accompanied his mother was Dipendra Malla son of Jay Malla.
But that day something unexpected happened that would change that boy’s childhood. In a moment of distraction, he lost sight of his mother! The boy walked and walked, but he could not find his mother again. Finally he reached to an urban area, where the police picked him, but he was only able to say “Jay”…
His family was looking for him for weeks, but finally they had to accept the tragic “reality”, his son was dead. No sense to keep looking, much less to go to the city, three hours away, to talk to the police at that time of civil war between the Maoists and the rulers, many people died at that time…
Police label Jay as orphan, and gave the surname “Balak”. They put his photo in the newspapers but he was never claimed, so he was transferred to Bhimphedi Children’s Home, where he lived for 14 years under the tutelage of NCO and Amics del Nepal.
But now, on any day of autumn, it seems that life has wanted to reward the determination of those responsible for the Children’s Home to help Jay/Anish/Dipendra to find his origins, and the boy with the captivating smile has gone from being an orphan to have mother, father, two brothers, one sister and uncles, cousins… everyone is very happy and surprised of this event!
Two months later, Anish already has his Nepalese citizenship, there his name is Anish Malla and now he is doing all steps to correct the information in the certificate of secondary education. He has even got time to register for further education in the closest city to his hometown.
This Christmas story is a true story, example of other stories of this 2016 of boys and girls from Bhimphedi Children’s Home, as Susmita Syantang, Bipana Khadka, or the brothers Ramesh and Som Thami, who, thanks to tireless work of those responsible of Balmandir-Bhimphedi-Amics del Nepal, have given the most important gift the them, to rediscover their roots, to reconcile them with their origins and make them unique people, important and loved by their family.
On behalf of the entire team of Amics del Nepal, I wish the best for this 2016 Christmas and that this New Year fills our lives of Happiness and Solidarity.
This week we had a visit to make us laugh without stop. A troop of red noses came to make a tour Bhimphedi and Hetauda: the “Trup de Nassos”.
The first show was at the community school Aadhar Bhim where the kids of Balmandir study primary level. Although at first the performance was only for the children and teachers of the school, the laughter that could be heard from the main street called many curious villagers to join to the public as if they were another kid.
The clowns after finishing the show wanted to make a new one, but it was already dark and the following events were organized only for the next day in Hetauda. The performances were very special in Hetauda next day. The first performance was in the special education unit “Imagine” (if you want to know about this wonderful project founded by Aina Barca, please visit their website or Instagram). The second show was in the children’s home Disabled and Helpless Child Rehabilitation Center.
For the third and final day of the tour in Makawanpur district, the Clowns came back Bhimphedi and did a show that closed their tour in Nepal (after 17 shows). The last show was in the public school Suping where children are doing exams this week. The show made them laugh and relax before the exam. Hopefully that helped them to perform better!
This is not the first time that we have funny visits. We can remember the visit of the Clown Magi and the recent visit of the entertainment group Atrapasomnis. And nobody in the town can forget the visit of a funny magician who came to the town to show the most wonderful magic, Magic Andreu, who visited us in 2013 and 2014. He performed without resting in Bhimphedi and Hetauda, in children’s homes, schools, on the same street and even in the state prison of Bhimphedi.
Written by Joana Martínez, Bhimphedi’s children home volunteer
It´s been almost a month since I arrived to Balmandir and the kids started school after the April holidays. Here time flies! We all have started working with the new school year. With the younger ones in Balmandir (or not that young anymore…!), we have decided to go deep into the mysterious and unknown world of the dinosaurs. During few days the kids have discovered who those giant reptiles were: how they lived, what they were eating, which was their habitat, the different kinds and species that existed, the huge amount of years that have passed since they lived in our planet and why they were gone for good. We have colored masks of the scary Tyrannosaurus Rex, classified some of the best known dinosaur species, found out the meaning of several complicated concepts and recreated images of our favorite ones.
However… after bringing to an end all the activities we have an undeniable winner concerning the Jurassic world: Patchi, the adventurer triceratops who has won most of Balmandir children´s hearts over! If one walks around the kids rooms and common areas it’s hard to not to find hanging on the wall some drawing related to this friendly dinosaur, the main character of the documentary “Walking with dinosaurs”, such a hero to our explorers!
As we loved making small scientific and historical findings we decided to install a timeline in the study room in order to place all the things that children will learn: how the planets appear, which animals are the most ancient of the Earth, how the first humans were… But that’s for sure; Patchi and their companions will always hold an honorary place!
After the exams, 8 days of holidays for the small kids, 3 for the bigger. We have being using these days well.
We visited the army camp (although they didn’t allow us to cross the front door), Dhorsing, the bridge of Suping, we have to gone to the forest for firewood to cook (India still maintains trade blockade with Nepal, so we have no cooking gas) and we went to the forest again to look for “tarul” (a type of potato that is eaten in a festival called Sangratri).
We played many sports as well: basketball, football, table-tennis, activities directed by Kul (one of the big kids who studies the ten class and helps a lot in the Children’s Home)…
And volunteers have organized fun activities:
– A group treasure hunt with sweet rewards:
– A game where both teams had to memorize the symbols that were at the quarter of the other team, then ran to their own quarter and reproduce them as similar as possible:
– Modeling clay:
– And five children participated in a drawing contest where they had to make two drawings that give the impression of three dimensions:
But today Sunday the children already return to classes with their batteries recharged!