All posts by isabelvalero

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:


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.


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!


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!

Building bridges between Kathmandu and Bhimphedi

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!

Youth project in 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.  

cooking 600 veg and meat momos for snack

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.

many energetic games after drama exchanges
Small children playind their drama

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.

showing the routine to youth from Katmandhu

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.

Small taste of youth drama in the exchange

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.

Youth project acting

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.

Manual Art workshop
Science workshop. How to make a Scallextric work with the energy of a cycle
Dance workshop
Babia workshop.
Music workshop

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.

Last finals exams

The course is about to finish! On Monday, March 14th finals start in high school. And ten days later begin tests in elementary school. Sure, as the big brothers already are on holiday they will help small to prepare for exams.

This month when children finish their homework, they study. When they know a topic, they ask me to ask them to ensure they are able to repeat exactly what the book says. They are experts at memorizing, even things that have no idea they mean.

Exams schedule

Ashish and Ramesh studying fifth course, if they pass the course they will study in public school next year. Although not entirely clear where the classes will be done because it is intended to demolish the building that was hit by the recent earthquake, to build a new school.

The smallest studying and doing homework
Ashish studying for his exams

April 1st is the last day of exams for children, and then have a few weeks of holidays, where we’ll have big fun: celebrate the Nepalese new year, we will receive new volunteers, we’ll play new games that these volunteers will bring us, receive new brothers and we bid farewell to the older brothers who finish ESO this year.

For guys who finish ESO, Kul, Ashok, Jai and Sanu, these are very important dates as they will examine from the SLC (School Leaving Certificate) in Hetauda. These tests decide whether they  can study high school or choose between vocational training or work. But these are also very important dates to them so that once completed these tests they will leave the shelter where they have grown for many years and begin a new stage in Kathmandu, Hetauda or elsewhere where they choose to study or work.

From the left to the right: Jai, Ashok, Kul and Sanu , are the 4 boys who will leave this year.

It is something that happens every year, but neither they nor we can avoid us to feel sadness when we think we leave the place and the family that has been living since childhood. But we will follow them closely, and certainly go very well.

New recipe: Homemade Pasty

Written by Isabel Valero, Bhimphedi Children Home volunteer

The big ones are the first to begin the exams in less than one week. To study it takes a lot of energy, so we came to mind to make a special meal. We know that children love eating, and if it is the food that they have cooked, better!

So, on Wednesday was holiday because of the Sherpa New Year Eve, and to make the most of the day we proposed the smallest to cook for everyone! One of the kids, Som, had cooked a very good pie for volunteers, and we encourage them to repeat the experience this time for all the children and staff.

A second after the proposal, children were already discussing which specialty prepare and telling us what ingredients we should buy.

So Dani and me with the two most excited children (Som and Santa) went to buy the ingredients that we hadn’t in the shelter:

  • 3kg of meat
  • 5kg flour
  • 2kg cabbage
  • 1 kg of eggplant

We called this dish as “homemade pasty” as Balmandir style.

Here you have the video explaining step by step the procedure:

Mix the flour with water and salt; and mix them together.

When they were preparing the dough they came to mind that they could accompanied the pasty with a tasty tomato sauce! So we had to return to the shop to buy three kilos of tomatoes.

1. Mix the flour with water and salt; and mix them together.
2. Cut the vegetables
3. Mix the vegetables and meat
4. Flatten the dough aut the filling inside the pasty.
5. Fry the pasty and remove when it get toast

Chopped tomatoes, a little cabbage, spices, chicken bones; all cooked in the fire to make a delicious sauce. And at two o’clock in the afternoon it was all ready to serve and eat!


And after the meal, and again have energy to study for exams; come on! making the last effort of the year!

Celebrating Shivaratri

Written by Isabel Valero, Bhimphedi Children Home volunteer

Shivaratri or Maha Shivaratri means the great night of Shiva or the night of Shiva: it is a festival to celebrate the Hindu deity Lord Shiva. Shivaratri is celebrated on the 6th night of the dark Falgun (March) every year.

Mahashivaratri marks the night when Lord Shiva performed the ′Tandava′, a traditional dance. It is also believed that on this day Lord Shiva was married to Parvati Ma. On this day Shiva devotees observe fast and offer fruits, flowers and leaves on Shiva Linga.

Main Shiva Linga in Ek Khandi temple
Dani and Jai next to the 108 Shiva Linga in the temple

At night, like the Sant Joan night, they lit big bonfires. So for two days the children and volunteers have gone to look for firewood for the bonfire to make in the shelter.

Some of the children having a refreshing bath before carrying the logs.
Susan cutting a big log
Kamal and Papu carrying a big log that we don’t know how many kg!

To make the party more memorable, the girls of the house decided that all girls, Didi and me wore the “sari” (the traditional gown). And so, while the boys prepared the logs and lit the bonfire we got the “saris” and it is not an easy task! All we had one in a different color. What joy!

Didis, Binita and Isabel wearing the saris
The girls wearing the sari and Sumit in a smart suit for the occasion
The girls wearing sari and Dani posing for the photo

Once all preparations were ready, everyone gathered around the bonfire to dance and sing while Didis or any of the guys made sound with “madal”, the percussion instrument typical of Nepal.

Dancing and singing next to the bonfire
Some of the guys about to put the log in the bonfire
Some of the boys posing nex to the bonfire

But it seems that was not enough in Bhimphedi these fires, they also wanted to coincide the “controlled” burning  of the undergrowth. You can often see lines of fire in the mountains (which fail to burn the trees), but this time it is oute of control…

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One of the mountains of the valley in fire.
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Behind the fire made for the Shivaratri, you can see the big fire on the mountain to burn the dry grasses of the forest.
Bipana dancing next to the bonfire while there is a fire in the mountain.

There is no festival in Nepal without a special meal for the occasion. For Shivaratri Didis prepared “halwa“, a type of mash meal, granulated sugar, milk, ghee (a type of butter), cashews, raisins and cardamom. Everyone went through the kitchen to go to eat some pieces, until Didis decided it was time to distribute it, and all had a binge of it!

Didi distributing halwua to Ashish

Now there are two more days holidays: Women’s day and Gyalpo Lhosar or Sherpa New Year Eve (men of the east), a caste that is mainly in the eastern Himalayan Nepal. Children will use these days to study a little and especially be ready for final exams.

Sport competitions in Bhimphedi

Written by Isabel Valero, Bhimphedi Children Home volunteer.

Children in Balmandir had already been warning some days ago that sports days approached, they went to play volleyball or jogging in the evenings when they returned from school, but I never thought this sport event was in the most stylish Olympics.

The last Friday and Saturday there was only a feeling of sport competitions. It was an annual event organized by the Sport district council. It was the first qualifying round of this event among the various institutes across the country. Bhimphedi was one of its four district in Makawampur. 10 different schools participated in Bhimphedi (24 possible schools that are located in 10 different towns).

On Friday there were no classes, and everyone was preparing to go for a run, jump, throw the javelin or playing volleyball. You were on the main street and all you saw was a lot of young people dressed in sports equipment ready and waiting for the moment they had to compete.

Even didis and MAnoj didn’t want to miss the competitions!

The event began on Friday at 11 am with a parade of all schools with their representative flags. They were competing until six in the afternoon. They started with the 100m and 1200m races, after the long jump, relay race, shot put, javelin and volleyball matches.

10 school prepared to compete in a queue
ready for the competitions!

Some children in the shelter are qualified for the next phase: Saran was first in the 100m race, Love in the shot put and Sita and Aarati were classified in relay race . Now they have to wait 10 days to go and compete the final in Hetauda. That exciting! If they won in Hetauda, ​​they should go to the regional competition in Chitwan, and then to the national competition in Kathmandu, but there’s high level and has been classified now is a great prize!

On Friday afternoon and Saturday morning there was only volleyball matches. The place chosen was the excellent sports field in Balmandir! So around noon everything was already finished, and as a gift for the shelter to cede space, gave us the sticks, volleyball net and ball for practice for next year.

The first volleyball match in Balmandir field
Everyone expectant looking at the volleyball match

After a half day of sport, everything returned to normal and the streets and Balmandir already returned to be with the family environment again.

Here you never know what will happen the next day, what will be the next thing happens in Bhipmhedi?

The Amazing Buffalos

In April we started English classes for high school students in the public school in Bhimphedi. The only specialty that is offered in school is “education” for those boys and girls who want to become teachers, specialty in English.

Most of these students do not speak English. And they have studied in a model school where they are learning by rote, where teachers used physical punishment, lack of punctuality and determination (not a day that all school teachers appear in class). So, we thought that if we provided some different classes, where they could improve their English (to be taught in a few years) might be interesting to think how they want to teach in the future.

The classes are presented as follows: “The classes are completely optional, and do not put any note or give any certificate. Come only if you are interested in learning, do not have to pay anything, nor get teachers paid. But teachers will come every day to class, so all we ask is that you come every day and you may be punctual.”

Nerea and some of the students in the english class
Some of the English students

Since the first week we saw that these instructions were not as easy to follow for these future teachers… Every day, a different number of students, and every day there were and reappeared old who had not come the day before. Why? “Big problem at home”.

So we gradually reducing the number of students, thinking that if they saw that we were strict, they would be responsible. But eventually only one student has survived. But what a wonderful student! Just for him it is worth all the work.

Prabhat comes every morning at 9:30 at the shelter, once finished high school classes (which hopefully are 6 to 9 am). When he is with us he practices English grammar, reads Harry Potter in English, learns typing or using the computer.

Prabhat and Isabel doing an English class in Balmandir


In addition to strengthen this guy, we decided to sign him for teaching us help small children at the shelter. So he can gain experience and earn some money.

There can be no other way to end this post by thanking the wonderful volunteers who have been taking these classes in high school: Laura Conde, Nerea Guezuraga and Isabel Valero! Thank you and thank you!

I leave you with the first video of Prabhat directed by Sergio Rodríguezm an original story that Prabhat has prepared in class! The video has the option to add subtitles in English to follow better the story:

Magic night

Written by Isabel Valero, a volunteer at the shelter in Bhimphedi

Everyday life here, as I think I said in an earlier post, is never the same. You seem to have only two things to do and suddenly you realize that you have been invited to celebrate the Sonam Losar, as the new year of the Tamang caste, you have to collect loose stone for the new outdoor kitchen being built or have to prepare a magic show, as happened with Rojan birthday.

Rojan loves the magic, always leaves us speechless with his card tricks and hands tricks! Friday was her birthday and Tonyo came to mind to do a magic show for all children in Balmandir. And so it was!

We spent a few days looking for easy magic tricks so he could do a part from those he had already knew and we were preparing them a few days earlier.

On Friday we rehearsed everything and secretly! We found him a magic kit, prepare all the material, and Rojan was getting more and more nervous! He had to make handkerchiefs, coins and people disappear! How we would be in front of everyone?

Rojan with his magic kit!

And how was it? It was perfect! Rojan has the amazing ability to improvise, disguise the nervousness, leave us speechless with his tricks and especially make us laugh, and a lot!

The astonished audience, singing Happy Birthday to Rojan
wiping out a glass!
Even he can make disappear a rubber!
All of us waiting for new tricks
Rojan doing one of his best tricks
And even he knows how to train a buffalo!

Here I leave a video with the tricks which he blow us away:

End-of-year visit to Hetauda

In Bhimphedi there is a public school that offers classes from first grade to tenth. And there is also a small community school that offers from kinder-garden till fifth grade.

We take the kids of the children’s home to the community school until it is possible, because the number of students per class is lower, and they make more classes in English and mainly because classes are much more regular.

Each year, the community school organizes at the end of the term a trip for children in fifth class, and therefore their last term in the community school. The day before, all children in fifth class and teachers prepared everything for the trip: they bought food and cooked everything can be prepared the day before and put the sound system to charge, nothing else needed.

The program was simple: the bus reserved for the occasion, go to  Hetauda and visited three different places: first a temple (Kusmanda Sarobar), then another temple used as picnic place (Banaskhandi)  and finally a children’s park (Puspalal Park)! Everyone is very excited!

In the morning the two kids from the children’s home who study in fifth grade woke up very early and got ready to go to town! At 07:40 they were already in school. But teachers send them back home and tell them to return once they have eaten dalbhat. Finally at 9:30 we left to Hetauda!

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The first stop, Kusmanda Sarobar, is a curious temple in the middle of the river bed. Around the temple there are 108 cow heads shaped  fountains. 108 is an auspicious number in Hinduism and Buddhism. Then we put them all a “tica”. And everybody made a wish to the ear of a small metal cow. And ready, we return to the bus to go to the next stop!

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In the right Ramesh and Ashish, the two kids of fifth grade from the children’s home. Next to them two of the teachers of the community school, Manisha and Ranjita. In the left, I, Daniel, the coordinator of the children’s home.

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How easy! how simple! A small temple surrounded by a lot of fountains. An old man placing a colored dot on the forehead. A small metall figure and all students and teachers, delighted and happy! On the countrary spanish children can be bored visiting even the Alahambra…

But then things get interesting. To go to the next stop, we have to cross the river, and the bridge is under construction, so the driver without hesitation went through the river! The water enters through the door of the bus, but no problem, we move forward. This really has been exciting, and without planning, as the best things in Nepal.

The next place to visit, Banaskhandi, is a forest where there are several temples and some shelters for picnic. We spent there five hours. Eating, dancing, singing and taking pictures next to the temples. Many other groups of children and not so young also where doing the same.


When I say picnic, do not think of snacks of bread, no! They make a fire on the ground for rice, another for preparing fried vegetables and other to prepare the chicken (which in many cases chop in that moment. Change the environment, but not the menu.

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The shelter on the left side is a temple. The shelter on the right side is to do the picnic. In the background you can see some teachers and students preparing the meal. Like these two shelters there were many all over the place, where other groups were also celebrating.

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When it’s 4 o’clock, and I think it’s time to go home, then in a flash, they pick up everything and return to the bus to go to the children’s park. The bus driver, who had also thought we were about to go back home, complains that the bus was only booked till 4pm. But despite complaining, he smiles and drives to the Puspalal Park.

When we arrived at the “children’s park” I understand why we go so late. It’s just a garden where there is a huge “pool” maybe it was built as fish hatchery. And there is now a boat. We pay the tickets, and they take us on a round on the boat by the pool. Everyone is very happy. It seems that I am the only one who has found it a little bit ridiculous as a children’s park… but I hide it and finally I also have fun!

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