Written by Nicolas Gautier, volunteer at the Children’s Home
In April in Nepal there are some holidays before the new school year begins at the end of month. In the district of Makawanpur it’s very hot these days. So the kids welcome any opportunity to refresh. And nothing is better than a swim in the river of Bhimphedi!
Written by Joana Alsina, volunteer of Bhimphedi Children’s Home from 4th May of 2016 to 30th August 2016
There is a place in the world that few mortals know and where only the privileged have been reached. The mountains guarding as it was a fortress are gray and inhospitable during the dry season, offering a lethargic panorama to anyone who walks there. Suddenly the sky becomes a party, and as a noisy alarm relives the mountains and fields, spreading slowly across a blanket of water. Within few days gray and brown turn to bright green, the streams begin to revive, fields of corn growing unstoppable inch per day and buds of the old caterpillars hatch to butterflies so spectacular that they might be confused with mythological animal.
There is a place in the world where there parsimony and improvisation, where timetables and plannings lose all validity, forcing outsiders to develop a sense of patience to a professional level. Ke garné!
In this place of bright colors, the hours pass peacefully and often too fast between tea and tea, surrounded by bollywoodians rhythms that flow from the radio at full sound and the smell of incense every morning to honor the infinite deities that take care of maintaining the harmony of the place.
Always with wet feet you walk through the fields or up the street among strong small men pushing heavy carts and goats that seem horses. The bus that carries the milk reaches and distributes its cargo to the women of the town, using the opportunity to chat about the news about other villagers, laughing and shouting with their characteristic endearing and stridency. On the other side of the street starts a parade of dozens of uniformed lads with miraculous white clothes way to school, and dozens of uniformed youth also carefully disheveled way to college.
There is a place in the world where teachers play truant more often than students and where every little event is reason for celebration. In the afternoon the students return home undoing their ties and pulling their shirts out of the clamp trousers. It’s time to go back with family. In this corner of the world there is the most numerous of all, a family where brothers and sisters are counted by dozens. His home is a temple in the middle of the valley, although you should not expect to find the mysticism and peace of a sacred place… nothing further from reality! When you enter this temple, often you can see some of the its young inhabitants hanging over ten meters high trees taking the tasty spring fruits or on roofs next to the water tank that needs a simple and temporary reparation. Yes, there is a place in the world where children run and jump and climb without the help of any adult and without any soft surface where to land safely on. They fall, and sometimes they get a scratch or hound, but nothing happens, on the contrary, because these young men and women adore everything that can be found in a simple medicine kit and the shock of the moment immediately becomes excitement with the first drop of Betadine and the smell of hand sanitizer.
Between laughter and shouts, brothers and sisters take care of each other with delicate words… or with a slap! Their relentless sincerity and spontaneity will make you feel the most special person in the universe or sink you into the cruelest misery. Nothing eludes these little beings!
You can find them all over the temple playing guitar, rehearsing the choreography of the latest megahit, practicing complicated magic tricks, cooking wild plants, planting pumpkins, helping to bring to the world small goats or building any new (and when I say any is any) device. The members of this particular family have infinite abilities. You can also see them with bored face in the study room, memorizing and repeating like parrots the lesson or in the most critical moments, laying on the floor with the head on the notebook sleeping. But if you really want to make sure to find them, look for a screen! Computers, phones, televisions… screen addition is the strongest of the pathologies that suffer these kids.
After much excitement it’s time to sleep. The amazing and loving mothers check that no clever kid goes to sleep without washing teeth, while elder boys gather with absolute secrecy to discuss which the most charming girl in school is. Then, very early, they fall asleep, in pairs, in threes under the fans of the hot room of the temple. Peace reign again for a few hours under the stunning starry sky of this village.
There is a place in the world that has a strange magic that prevents you from leaving it. A place where the emptiness that you feel when you are going from, can be only filled when one day, months later, you wake up and realize that all the memories are real, you were one of the few mortals who had the privilege of reaching Balmandir, Bhimphedi.
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 Daniel Roig, coordinator of the Bhimphedi Children’s Home
This blog is a stage where you can see some of the things that Amics del Nepal does in this village in a lost valley of Nepal. But behind the curtains there are many people working to make possible that all these, initially, disadvantaged boys and girls can have a happy childhood and the opportunity to learn a lot in Bhimphedi Children’s Home.
Together with the support of the sponsors of the Bhimphedi project, it is essential the work of many people who in an imaginative, altruistic and supportive way organize activities to raise money for Bhimphedi Children’s Home.
In this post I will explain some of these magnificent initiatives that have been carried out in recent months!
Marina Viñas has been organizing for 4th time a type of Christmas Bingo: the Nepali Quinto with the association el Ciervo de Sabadell.
But in addition, last November el Ciervo de Sabadell went even further, because his theater company, coordinated with Ateneu del Món, organized a play in Sant Quirze in favor of Balmandir: A great evening of theater of the always surprising Agatha Christie.
The students of the sixth grade of the school Joan Blanquer of Castellar organized a solidarity market, among other activities where all students participated to bring the reality of Nepal near to all of them.
Tonyo Fibla is already the third time he has collaborated with us (especially with the group Cetrill of Benicarló). This time he has organized a workshop of Nepalese cuisine.
The most tireless collaborators are Ricardo and Jorge, who have spent years with the “Taper Nepal” project with dozens of events, presentations, sale markets of Nepalese handicrafts and solidarity yoga sessions.
We also have new collaborators, such as Ester and Xipi from the Códi 0 egg farm of Lleida, who have organized a solidarity snack a few days before coming to visit the Children’s Home with their four children (who have been a sensation in the village with their golden hair).
Imagination, altruism and solidarity in power, to put our grain of sand for a better world. Thank you very much! Let’s keep it up!
Written by Daniel Roig, coordinator of the Bhimphedi Children’s Home
Anuj and Raju are two children rescued from the street by the police when they were very small. So, we do not know of any relative of them. But you do not feel pity for them because they do not have a bad life. They study 3rd grade in English medium in the Bhimphedi Community School in a beautiful village in Nepal. They live in a house with many brothers and sisters who take care of them (staff and volunteers), a house with garden, kitchen garden, soccer field, computer room, swing, with guitars and movies every Friday.
They have been especially happy this week because February 14th was Raju’s birthday and two days later Anuj’s, and they celebrated together. First they did it in the school, they brought candies and all the children sang “Happy Birthday” when all the kids are ready to enter their classes.
At home we also organized a very fun competition to see who was going to get the prize: a starred tissue and a chocolate bar.
First test: Fishing bottles
Second test: Blind score
Third test: go to the other side unnoticed
Fourth test: Getting the packet (but it was not possible to get them if they where just competing, they had to collaborate to succeed both. And they did!
Special test: Open the present as fast as you can to get an extra chocolate tablet
In the package they found their birthday presents, in each package: a pencil case full of school supplies and a very modern jeans.
The following week was not bad for these kids neither, because it was the festival of Shivaratri and we made a huge bonfire and we ate, danced and sang around it! If you want to know more about this festival you can see the posts we wrote in previous years: Shivaratri 2015 i Shivaratri 2016.
But this is what you can see on the stage, but behind the curtains there are many people working to make possible that all these initially underprivileged children have a happy childhood and a chance to learn a lot in Bhimphedi Children’s Home.
On top of the sponsors, it is absolutely essential the work of many people who altruistically organizes activities to raise money for the children’s home.
Do not miss what happens behind the curtains in the next post!
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 Daniel Roig, coordinator of the Children’s Home
Although there is no fixed number of deities in Hinduism, there is the popular concept that there are 330 million of gods and goddesses. Naturally there is no list with all their names, and many are considered different avatars (manifestations) of the same gods.
Of all these gods, naturally, some stand out and have much presence in the lives and culture of Nepali people. Brahma (the creator of the Universe), Vishnu (the preserver or protector of the Universe) and Shiva (the destroyer or Judge of the Universe) form the Trimurti, the three aspects of the supreme universal God. These three aspects symbolize the whole circle of “Samsara” in Hinduism (the cycle of reincarnation).
There are the three goddesses and consorts of the Trimurti. Saraswoti (goddess of intellect and art), Laksmi (goddess of prosperity) and Parvati (goddess of fertility and love) form the “Tridevi”.
Saraswoti is the goddess of the arts, creativity, intellect and letters. In almost all the compounds of temples in Nepal you can find a small independent temple dedicated exclusively to this goddess. You can recognize her by her four arms, sitting on a lotus flower, dressed in a white “sari”. Often holding a book and a vina (stringed instrument). Her vehicle is a swan.
The day of worship to Saraswoti (Saraswoti Puja) is considered the end of winter and is very celebrated in Nepal. People believe that this day is the best day to start learning something. Parents and schools take young children to temples dedicated to Saraswoti to write their first letters on the walls with a chalk.
On this day students worship books, pens, notebooks… Musicians worship their instruments and artists worship their tools.
The schools of Bhimphedi also celebrated this special day. The teachers and students made a ceremony and everyone was offered with some food in honor of Saraswoti.
It is a really special day in the community school where all parents are invited, students show dances and school awards to the best students of the previous year: The three students with the best marks in each class, the student with the least absences, the tidiest student…
Some children of Balmandir danced (Basu, Samir, Raju, Sarita, Purnima, Santa, Sumit, Bishnu and Ramesh) and also won some of the prices: Basudev, Raju, Sushil and Bishnu for their marks and Manuj, Bishnu (again) and Ashish tied with the best attendance, missing only 2 days out of the 209 school days. Hopefully next year it will be even better.
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.