All posts by joana

The Balmandir family grows!

Written by Joana Martínez, volunteer at the Children’s Home

Last week arrived to our children home three new inhabitants ready to share with us a bunch of adventures. They didn’t arrive by jeep nor by bus or any other conventional mean of transportation. They don’t present either  the usual features that the rest of visitors do. Nevertheless, what we know for sure is our new mates will stay for a long time and that’s why they had a charming welcome from those who were in Balmandir. Do you already guess who are we talking about? Do you need another clue? They are furry, soft as a fluffy toy, funny and so cute! Do you know already?

The new Balmandir inhabitants are three newborn little goats! It’s already few months that some of our goats are pregnant and bit by bit the little ones will get born. For now we have already three of them, who arrived in less than one week between them. We are looking forward the rest of little cousins to arrive during the coming weeks.

Kush taking care of both, mother and daughter.
The two  newborn sisters barely can stand in their feet.
The mum caresses her daugther.
Kush with the whole family.

Didis and Kush took good care of them in every moment. They made the mother labor as much comfortable as possible and watch the little ones during their first hours of life. Kush is our shepherd kid: he takes the animals to graze, he feeds them properly, he heals them if they have any wound… He even delouse them with a special product when it’s required! Consequently you can imagine the arrival of the little goats has been a nice event; you should see how he is doing his utmost for them!

In Balmandir, the rest of us went to welcome them properly and to melt watching them do their first steps clumsily and the big adventure that was for them to arrive to their mother breast so thirsty. We leave you some of their first photos so you can also enjoy them! See you soon!

Didi Maya, Santa and me with the little goats.
The youngest of the family!
The two sisters.
Kush helping the littlest one to find food.

See you soon Marcel!

Written by Joana, Bhimphedi’s children home volunteer.

Last Friday we said goodbye to Marcel who, after three months, has finished the wonderful adventure of beeing a volunteer in Balmandir. As usual when a volunteer leaves, Marcel came early in the morning to say goodbye to all of us. Didi Maya was already waiting for him in the kitchen with the obligatory ritual ready: in a little plate, the sindoor, this red powder made with plants used to mark the tikka in the person’s forehead; a handmade flower necklace and a little bunch of wild flowers. With all this, the ones who stay wish a good journey and best of luck to the one who is leaving.

From my point of view, the moment when the didi marks the volunteer forehead with the tikka is always the most moving part. It’s a little gesture that recalls in just few seconds the intensity of all the experiences, feelings and anecdotes lived during the time the live has kept for us in this magic place. This gesture indicates our experience is about to come to an end and that it’s time to pack your bags and fill them with all we have learnt, with the faces and smiles of all the people we’ve met and with the memories of the most special moments shared with Balmandir children.

Manoj handing a bunch of flowers over to Marcel parents, who came to Bhimphedi to pick him up.
And Anoj doing the same thing with Marcel.
Didi Bely was very touched saying goodbye to Marcel, while his parents looked at them (so moved too!)
Marcel, Bhimphedi’s tower, with Krishna, didi Maya and didi Sushila.

Marcel got this moment over as a champion and maintaining his composure all along (some of the others couldn’t…), said goodbye to the children, didis, Krishna (the director), Kali, Ophsi and Tate (the dogs), Dani, the rest of the volunteers and to this impressive place which is Bhimphedi now that the monzoons has made the mountains reborn and the rivers (finally!) flow strongly.

The ones who stay in Balmandir (even if it’s just for a few time), wish you a very nice way back and the best of luck in the new post-Bhimphedi period that you are about to start. We hope you take always with you wherever you go the best moments of this experience. And… remember… we’ll always have Bhimphedi!

Marcel and me, the volunteer dúo during these three months in Balmandir.
Group photo before saying goodbye!
Marcel and his parents, escorted by Ophsi and Kali in his way to the jeep and with their backpacks well decorated!

A tractor comes to visit us!

Written by Marcel, Bhimphedi’s children home volunteer.

Last May 14th a tractor came to Balmandir to help us with the plugging of the kitchen garden. It was easier than ever!

Tractor working on the kitchen garden.
Tractor machinery
Work finished!

The children were delighted by this visit and they were the whole time near the tractor looking how it was working. In fact, when it finished the work, without any hesitation, they mounted on it and began to play as if they were actually driving it.

The children looking how the tractor was working
Kush, Manoj and Raju “driving” the tractor

This visit was a great help for us, because the corn that was planted has been growing and growing very much, we will have a good harvest this year, though you can not say till it’s done.

The corn is growing
It grows very quickly!
Now the mazes are 2 meters high. In the middle of the field: the “naspati” fruit tree (a fruit between an apple and a pear, very common in the area). The tree is now full of fruits. Always there is some kid on the tree taking some fruits for himself and for his friends.
On the beautiful mountains of the valley (or hills as they call them) the beautiful clouds, very common in the raining seasson. Now it rains every day…

Meanwhile, the smallest of the house have prepared to the volunteers a delicious dish, they cook for us some kind of grass (“sagh” in nepali) that was growing wildly in some of the margins of the kitchen garden. The most delicious grass we have ever tasted!

Bishnu, Som and Anoj heating the oil.
Cooking the “sagh”.
Almost ready to eat!

Multilingual kids!

Some weeks ago we started to give Spanish and English lessons to the older ones in Balmandir. Up to now they are acquiring basic notions of Spanish and they can already express some simple sentences to greet, ask the time, the name, the age… It is kind of funny to walk around the house or Bhimphedi and suddenly hearing  “Como estás?” (“How are you?”), “Adiós!” (“Bye”) or  “Buenos días!” (Good morning!”) (even if sometimes they wish you good morning right before going to sleep! We’ll allow them to do so, poor them…) Besides, not only Balmandir kids greet in Spanish. Our boys have taught their classmates some sentences and they also shout in Spanish to us when they see us around.

Learning how to use the verb to be.
The new students taking notes.
Kamal, an advanced student!

Back to the Spanish lessons, the kids are learning basic vocabulary, the days of the week, the months of the year, the numbers, the alphabet, to conjugate some verbs… step by step! Every fifteen days they take part in a Quiz run by Dani. With some against the clock questions we check if they have assimilated the contents during the week and depending on how they manage the situation they can accumulate some points. Those points will be converted into prizes which they will have to choose by themselves. In this way we put their cooperation and effort capacity to the test while they learn a new language.

Concerning English lessons, we are reading every day a fragment from the novel “Momo”, written by Michael Ende. This book narrates the adventures of Momo, an extravagant girl but with an exceptional sense of empathy. Momo has to fight against the Men in Gray, some thieves who steal the time and joy to her town citizens. With this reading we intend the kids to get better English skills and to learn new expression forms and vocabulary. From time to time we watch a part of the movie based on the book. In this way we get away from routine and we clarify some parts of the book that they didn’t understand well. We also place some other activities among the Momo reading, as grammar or writing exercises and more amusing other ones.

Ashish and Ramraj focused doing the reading exercises.
Kamal re-reading the text.

Happy, happy birthday!

Written by Joana, Bhimphedi’s children home volunteer.

Last week we could enjoy a great evening due to the celebration of two birthdays in Balmandir. We celebrated the first of them from a distance, but it wasn’t less important because of that. Enric Recoder, our beloved Amics del Nepal president who made his debut in this position just few weeks ago, was having his birthday. From Nepal we wanted to wish him all the best in this new year that makes him a bit older (and wiser!) as well as in this new adventure as a president! Best of luck Enric! The other person from Balmandir who was turning older it’s no other but me! Now that the day has passed, I can assure one of the best experiences one can live being a volunteer in Bhimphedi is to celebrate your own birthday in Balmandir, in this awesome environment and with the best company.

The day started with a pleasant and touching surprise. When I arrived at morning, the kids came out to welcome me with an avalanche of drawings and greeting cards they had made themselves and they filled me with hugs and “happy birthdays”. During the time the kids were at school I prepared a couple of cakes, putting my improvisation skills to the test since I had to handle the situation with the few and different ingredients that Bhimphedi’s little shops offered me. Didi Maya, Arjun and Ramesh helped me out during the snack time (the school school break at lunchtime), and to be honest I have to say the cakes didn’t  turn out bad at all! The rest of the afternoon, to me, consisted in feeling lucky as anyone else to be able to celebrate my birthday in such a special way and enjoy the marvelous company of the marvelous kids of the marvelous Balmandir!

Arjun, Ramesh and I after preparing the cakes.
Here you are the result: chocolate, mango and banana cakes.
Some of the drawings and postcards the kids gave to me.

And once the evening arrived we took the two cakes out, one in honour of Enric and one for me, we pulled the Cokes, Fantas and Mountain Dews (a kind of soda they love) out and we sang with all our might the Happy birthday song in order to be heard from Barcelona (and in case the sound couldn’t arrive we dedicated a video to Quique!) What came afterwards was an actual pitched battle to get what was left from the cakes, faces covered in chocolate, kids running around and me throwing candies as if I was the king Baltasar in the Three kings parade! An unforgettable and unbeatable day that surely I’ll always remember with the biggest of the smiles!

The kids waiting impatiently to taste the cakes.
Group photo of the evening.

Don’t stop the rhythm!

Written by Joana, Bhimphedi’s children home volunteer.

One of the things that catched most my attention when I arrived to Balmandir was watching some of the kids running up and down the courtyard and playing a pair of ramshackled and out of tune blue guitars (nothing strange considering how much they use them!) Some of them were rubbing the strings frantically and moving their heads with a comic pose, others were  more concentrated and practicing some of the chords that Àlex, one of the former volunteers, had taught them.

Kamal practising guitar.
Bishnu and Samir playing guitar in its own way!

It is also so interesting to discover such a new musical context with very different rhythms, melodies, dances and languages: here they dance in a Bollywood style (or better, in a Kollywood style, the Nepali version of this Indian cinematographic industry), the singers hum in a high-pitched voice and the melodies and instrumentation sound so exotic. However, here they can’t escape from the occidental influence either and the own Nepali tunes are mixed and fused together with our Pop ones. Besides, while listening to the kids playlists one can find among Raju Lama, Sugam Pokhral or Anju Panta superhits some songs of Justin Bieber, One Direction or Shakira (they love the Waka waka song!)

Together with Marcel we fast decided with all these musical high spirits we should promote them. Therefore, Marcel keeps on with Àlex’s legacy teaching the kids how to play guitar and I, with some percussion instruments and flutes that I picked up before travelling to Nepal, I’ve started to introduce the kids to the mysterious language of music. Pentagrams, keys, notes, silences, tempo, crotchets, quavers… such a bunch of unknown concepts that the beginner musicians are assimilating bit by bit and with a lot of patience and effort. Ah! And don’t think this is only a children matter… Even Krishna, Balmandir’s center chief, has joined our little orchestra! If this experiment works out we will try to play some songs all together, let’s see how it ends up… We will keep you informed!

First music lesson with the begginers.
Bishow, Samir, Kiran and Raju making their debut with the flute.
Kamal reading pentagrams.
Krishna, the center chief, also wanted to join us in the music lessons!

Meanwhile… we’ll go on enjoying our walks around the playground and the kitchen garden while we hear, as a background sound, how the guitar players in the bandstand improve day by day and are able to play the chords of their favourite Kollywood songs as they sing them with a melodramatic voice.

Walking with dinosaurs

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.

Kids painting their masks
Santa and BIshow cutting their Tyrannosaurus Rex
And here they are, our frightening dinosaurs!

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!

The timeline in the study room wall
The dinosaur corner
Some of the kids work and… Patchi!


Written by Eva, volunteer of AWASUKA project.

I have arrived to Nepal with the thrill of returning to a country that fascinated me. Newly arrived to Kathmandu I got some good news: I will share the trip to Bhimphedi with Dani (the coordinator of the children’s Home), Sujan (a kid who is in Katmandú for a dentist visit), Sarita, Susmita, Purnima and Samir.

Dani and Sujan already know well the way. so we follow them with our eyes and steps. The rest of us we will be in Bhimphedi for first time.

I’m happy to share the first moments with Sarita, Susmita, Purnima and Samir. waiting for the Jeep, a mango Juice, listening to them singing songs in the Jeep on the way to a beautiful but still unknown valley.

We arrived after three and a half hours, it felt short to me despite the warmth and the small space that we, 13 people, were sharing.

Just arrived to Bhimphedi, we were curious and anxious. We quickly felt the warm welcome and the joy on the air. We ate the dhalbat and went to sleep, looking forward to the coming brand new day to discover the place where we were and, the place that will be the new home and the family of the Fantastic 4.

The girls and Samir eating a snack with Kali and didi Maya.
Sarita and Purnima with Kush, getting to know the buffaloes.
Samir having fun with Kali and Tate.
Sarita and Purnima playing at the slider.

Saturday, 6:30 AM: POM! POM! One of the best awakenings. I opened the door and I see Samir, Sarita, Susmita, Purnima with Dani giving me a Suba Prabat  (Good Morning in nepali) and an invitation to go for a stroll around Balmandir… impossible to reject!

“Wooow! We are surrounded by mountains”, we strolled watching the buffaloes, the kids, the garden, the chicks… and on that ride we started knowing everyone; after just being able to sense their faces the previous night we finally could see them with the morning light.

A few days later here they are: playing in the slide and enjoying. They have already started at school, they work hard during the study time and they have their own favorite corners in the children’s home. They also help to prepare the snack on Saturday, they dance and sing in this new home with our new family here in Balmandir… and we’ll keep on walking!

movil LG 591
Purnima and Sarita with their new raincoats.
Susmita, Purnima and Sarita ready for school.
Sarita and Susmita made some nice earrings with paperclips for me.
Samir playing guitar with Bishnu.
The girls after having a good shower.


First week of Marcel in Bhimphedi

Written by Marcel Rocafort, Bhimphedi Children Home volunteer

Paula and I have already completed the first week as volunteers. During this week we’ve had time to realize about the differences that exist between the country where we come from and Nepal. We have also started to get to know the children of Bhimphedi’s Children Home (Balmandir) and tried to memorize their names, which is not so easy.

When we had just arrived, Dani explained us the different projects he had in mind for us and the next day we got into work. One of these projects was to build a bamboo stage for the goat’s barn in order to make the room’s cleaning easier. Working with Àlex and Diego (volunteers of Awasuka’s project), we decided the material that we would need to build it and we ordered it. We are still waiting for it… (in Nepal the most simple thing can take such a long long time).

Waiting for the arrival of the materials Paula and I decided to organize some outdoor activities with the children of Balmandir that led to an entertaining evening full of laughts. We played various games such as sack races or the challenge of biting apples without using hands.

Basu and Manoj jumping with sacks
Anoj starting the waiter ‘test’
Ashish running against Luv
Anoj, Santa and Raju eating apples
Rojan and Kiran trying to bite apples

Now we have in mind to start Spanish lessons and make the kids learn some basics. Soon we will start teaching them the most commonly used phrases and from there we will try to increase their vocabulary and their knowledge of the language gradually.