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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Written by Daniel Roig, coordinator of the Children’s Home
Ashok Siwakoti is a youngster grown up in Bhimphedi Children’s Home. A sharp, funny, outgoing, honest boy, always ready to give a hand. As a member of Amics del Nepal, every day I am proud that we have been part of his life and personal growth, and we still are part of it.
Ashok has been a very active member in the family of Bhimphedi Children’s Home. We remember him playing the main character role of Sagarmatha drama show (directed by Miquel Comas), being the best student of the house, singing and playing with his younger siblings, helping volunteers (even to translate the song “Water Paani” of Monica Sans)…
Ashok is already 17 years old and two years ago he left the Children’s Home and moved to Kathmandu to continue his studies. Since then he can only come to visit his siblings occasionally because he is always busy with school, work or courses. But when he visits the happiness on his face and his brothers’ and caretakers’ is more than evident.
I am lucky that I go to Kathmandu quite often, so I can meet, chat and have a good time with him. Whenever I take any of his younger siblings from the Children’s Home to a Kathmandu hospital and they must stay a few days in the capital, Ashok takes care of them while I have other jobs to deal with.
Even right after the earthquake, a very difficult time in Nepal, Ashok went with Miquel to visit Patan Children’s Home when it was impossible to contact by phone. Everything was fine!
A month ago, Ashok made possible something quite extraordinary. It was a day like any other. Ashok was at the hotel where he works and a colleague ask him to join to a dinner with his friends. Ashok immediately accepted.
Chatting with these new friends Ashok said proudly that he had grown up in Bhimphedi Children’s Home. There are so many Children’s Homes in Nepal, there are so many children at risk here… Another boy also had a story to tell: “I have a friend from my village who has one brother in a Children’s Home. They had to admit seven years ago and later they lost all contact… “.
Ashok continued chatting with this guy, and he got to know that he was from the same district, but Ashok didn’t know the village. There are many villages in Dolkha district, and some of them are really remote…
Ashok: – What is the name of the brother of your friend? Other kid: – Ramesh Thami. Ashok: – Ramesh Thami??? This is the name of one of my brothers Bhimphedi in Bhimphedi Children’s Home!
The next day I had the phone of this girl and we called her. She was the sister of of Ramesh Thami and the smaller brother Som Thami! The 18 years old girl, works in Kathmandu taking care of a house. His older brother, already married and with a son, lives in the village of the Dolkha district (one of the most affected by the earthquake), and we could get the number of their aunt, who lives with his two children on the outskirts of Kathmandu in a house made of metal plates.
And thus is how the detective Siwakoti found, after seven years without contact, the family of Ramesh and Som Thami. The two brothers love now to talk on the phone with their family. Before, they had no one to call to. We brought them to Kathmandu for two days to meet their sister and aunt. Now they are very excited about the idea of going the next holidays to their hometown and meet their brother and celebrate the festivals all together!
Thank you Detective Ashok!
To know more about Ashok Siwakoti, read the text he wrote for this blog, here!
Written by Ashok Siwakoti, beneficiary of Amics del Nepal
I lived in Bhimphedi Children’s Home for 12 years. I was 5 years old when I was taken to Bhimphedi from Naxal Children’s Home. At the beginning our children home was managed by government itself and later after few years it was taken by the NGO called Amics Del Nepal which is still supporting us. Everything started being good (food, accommodation, inside environment) during that time. We became very happy to have those facilities.
We rarely met foreigners before. Like the New Year comes once a year we also use to meet a foreigner once a year. Later we started meeting them more and more often and have good conversations with them and we improved our English and speaking skills.
Few years later, Amics del Nepal started sending a couple of volunteer every month. They taught us a lot of things and prepared many different activities with all of them. Every year new and old volunteers come with many different projects for development and betterment of Bhimphedi and Balmandir living style.
Living in Balmandir was very good as I had many friends and we all lived like a family. We celebrated every festival and birthdays, we danced and sang, we used to help each other and sometimes fight as well. I spent my best time in Balmandir and I keep wonderful memories from there.
Life is so simple and funny in Balmandir. After waking up we used to have a cup of tea and study a little bit. Then, after having Dalbat it was time to go to school. After school there was time to play, eat and do the homework before falling asleep on our bunks. That was my daily time table when I lived there.
The care from the caretakers (we call them big sisters in Nepali: didi) and center chief of the home and the love of our brothers and friends was enough for me to be happy. I always felt Bhimphedi Children’s Home like my home and I will feel it forever. It is a very nice place to live.
We can stay there till grade 10, some of the kids complete it when they are 19, some when they are only 15. I was 15 years old when I finished 10th grade and I moved to Kathmandu for a new life.
After leaving Balmandir I was like a new born baby I didn’t know anything. Everything is so different outside. Lifestyle completely changed. New place, new people, new school, new environment, different life and I felt often alone and afraid in the beginning. But Amics del Nepal has a staff to follow up once we leave from the Children’s Home. Dani kept giving me information about everything, motivating, giving advices, supporting financially when necessary and promoting my ideas. He helped me to find place to live, job, college and so many things we need once we live outside Balmandir. So I didn’t feel that much alone and helpless.
But at that time there were some big earthquakes in Nepal and life became more scary and difficult. And the blockade didn’t help either. It became almost impossible to cook when cooking gas was nowhere to find, and light supply very scarce.
Amics del Nepal support at that time as well so I will always be thankful for that. I could do a course in EduLift before starting College. I did cooking classes at Cocina Mitho Chha and Computer classes and I still practice with one of the laptops UPC-reutilitza provided.
I started studying in a private college after getting a grant and I was working at the same time taking care a building. It was an easy job but I couldn’t learn much there, I was long time alone and I couldn’t get holidays.
So, after almost one year working there I change the job. I was hired in “Un Dia Blanco Eco Inn Guest House” where the volunteers of Amics del Nepal usually stay when they are in Kathmandu. The job is not difficult but I am learning many things at the same time. I have a lot free time so I am enjoying my job and life. Studies are also going good.
Now I am learning guitar too. Monica, from Amics del Nepal, made it possible. She provided me with a guitar and found a musician to teach me. I’m really enjoying of the music classes and my guitar.
I will always be very much thankful to Amics del Nepal.
Writen by Daniel Roig, coordinator of the Children’s Home
Dashain and Tihar festivals are over. Everyone returns to normality, but here this does not mean routine.
Last month, the children who have some known family members have been with them, 9 of the 26 boys and girls. But now they have all returned to the Children’s Home ready to resume their studies.
I also return to the Children’s Home with Manisha, after almost a month away, something I had not done for the last two years. But we do not return alone, we arrive with two new volunteers, actually returned volunteers: Tonyo and Xavi, one year after their first visit, come back to the Children’s Home.
The children who have stayed for the festivals in the Children’s Home are very happy that all the people come back and welcome us with shouts, and a bit of expectation for seeing what we bring for them as a gift from our hometowns: Homemade sweets (sun-dried Jumla apple slices, or different types of cookies, popcorn…), Kush and Love come with a couple of ducks of the best breed from their village.
Tonyo, Xavi and I also brought some surprises! We arrived at the Children’s Home with 4 computers donated by the Taulí hospital of Sabadell (thank you Xavier Calvet!). And we also brought two high quality seats to finish the reparation of the swing thanks to the material donated by HPC Ibérica (thanks Ramón Coderch and Mònica for the coordination!).
Tonyo, Xavi and I, with the help of the children and Papu, after few days of intense work, we set the new computer room with Ubuntu well installed, the swings in full functionally and on top of that we also have the front area of the sinks improved and the water and electric facilities improved.
1. Fixing the swings:
2. Improvement of the water conduction:
3. Improvement of the water channel:
4. Extension of the computer room:
Also the kids, who have left the Children’s Home this past year are still trying to find their place in the world. Sanu has finally obtained the Nepalese identity card (not easy to obtain for children with irregular family situations) and has already returned to Bhimphedi to rejoin the AWASUKA project to complete the three anti-seismic prototypes (the wooden for Maya didi, the concrete block for Santamaya didi and the stone and mud for the community). Papu, who has spent the festivals in the Children’s Home, and has used this time to work also for AWASUKA and help in the Children’s Home, has decided to stay in the village with Sanu and also join the AWASUKA project to finish the prototypes. Jay who has spent the festivals with his family reunited 14 years later (we will explain his incredible story another day), he has also obtained the identity card, and has come to Bhimphedi a few days to get a letter of recommendation from the public school where he studied high school to be able to put the correct information, now that he knows it: new name (Anish Malla), new date of birth and the names of his parents. Ashok Praja has already resumed the Veterinary studies. Ashok will now work and live closer to his school, and we hope he will do very well (thank you very much to Prakriti, who now lives in Patan Children’s Home, for helping Ashok to find a job her aunt village, near the veterinarian school).
Another big change is that the public school changes location. The historic building that was affected by the earthquake will be demolished, so the children are already beginning to study in the temporary barracks located on the village football field. (You can read the post written by Monica about this topic).
There have also been two very important changes in the center. Two very special people no longer live with us in the Children’s Home. Although we will miss them very much, we will stay in touch and we are very happy for them for the changes and achievements in their lives. The first is Krishna Pudasaini, director of the Children’s Home for the last 15 months, and who has done a very good job during this time, having great successes like finding families of some children. Krishna has won a government job in the Nepal Electricity Department (where they have a lot of work if they want to reduce the electricity cuts). The second is Susmita, a 9-year-old girl who has gone now to live with her mother and younger brother (we will explain her story in the next post!).
And life goes on in the Bhimphedi Children’s Home, with joy.
The kids go to school to finish the second term. Tonyo and Xavi now work as masons and carpenters. Marina and Joana, returned from a week of well-deserved rest, have resumed the computer, English and Spanish classes. Prabhat and Manisha help the little ones with the studies. And I, up and down, watching everything go more or less well: supervising the center, the young kids and the children that we have scattered throughout the country, looking for a new director for the center, helping bigger kids of the Children’s Home with the maths exercises…
Almost every week we visit the Bhimphedi Health Center or Hospital of Hetauda (the nearest town from Bhimphedi, just over an hour by bus). But when we need to make something more than a X-Ray then going Hetauda it can only make you scared… So sometimes we have to go with a child to Kathmandu where you can find more hospitals and make more tests.
This time we went with Arati (don’t worry, no big problem), but do not think the girl was scared or worried about having to go to hospital. On the contrary, it was the opportunity to visit Kathmandu for the first time in her life! See all those places and monuments that come to school books and reconnect with many brothers and sisters who live in Kathmandu once they left the Bhimphedi Children’s Home.