All posts by Joana

Alu chop

Written by Joana Alsina, volunteer of Bhimphedi Children’s Home.

Saturdays children are divided into three groups. One helps in the kitchen garden, one is responsible for cleaning and the third is responsible for cooking lunch. Saturdays we enjoy of wonderful recipes! Every Saturday morning, the big talking topic is “what will it be today for lunch? momos, pancakes, rotis, panipuri, samosas, croquettes, pasties, and pakauda…”. This Saturday Alu chop!

Are you ready to try?



  • 5 potatoes
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cups gram flour (besan)
  • Massala (mix of species)
  • chilly
  • Coriander
  • ginger
  • garlic
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil
  • Water

How to make it:

  • Boil the potatoes (in the pressure cooker) and mash them after peeling.



  • Add the chopped onion, chillies, ginger, garlic, and salt and mix it well. Make sure the mixture is a bit lumpy.


  • Divide the potato mixture into equal sized portions.



  • In one bowl, make a batter from gram flour and water.
  • Dip each alu chop in gram flour and fry.


And then it’s ready to serve and eat hot.

Bon appetit!

Colored dreams

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.

Manoj finishing his garland of trees with knots

7- Finally we hanged the garland in their bedroom.

Anoj and Samir with their garlands of suns and birds
Santa likes birds!!!

Now, beautiful colors brighten their nights!


Small magical nooks.

Written by Joana Alsina volunteer at the Children’s Home.

Dashain is already over but we are still in holidays waiting for Tihar’s festival. During these holidays the weather is being very nice so we decided to do some excursions. The first hike we did was with the youngest ones. We took the goats to graze to the hills and after crossing the river we went until the Peepal Tree, a sacred tree.


There is quite a climb from the river to the tree. Some of us climbed quickly and others went slowly, but all of us finished sweaty. From the tree there is a beautiful view of Bhimphedi. Sitting under the tree contemplating the landscape was very relaxing, but the calm did not last long! Kids wanted to go back down quickly because they knew that after the hike we would go to the river for fishing and bathing. And they really love it!


After a week, we did another hike but this one was a serious trip. Our destination: Hattisude hills, the elephant trunk mountain (2900m). Only the biggest ones were allowed to do it. We left after Dalbhat around 9 am with our backpacks full of water. We went to Supping, the neighbour town located at the top of a small mountain. We crossed a hanging bridge and we started climbing. Along the way we met people over-loaded with plants, packages, shopping or milk-can on the back.

Hanging bridge.

After half an hour we reached Supping. This village is divided into three areas: Low, Middle and Upper Supping. The houses are scattered through the mountains and there are approximately 700 residents. His livelihood is agriculture, horticulture and livestock. Corn is the main crop but they also cultivate ginger, beans, peas and other legumes. At this season they have already harvested the corn. There we could see corn drying hanged in the balcony or forming circles in the columns of the houses. When we arrived to Upper Supping we met Maya and Ram (Children’s home workers) who would guide us to climb Hattisude Hills.

Upper-Supping house.

So, we went to the jungle with beautiful landscapes behind us. At the beginning the path was well marked but we lose it and we started to climb the mountain. As they say “monkey way.” There were many trees and plants unknown to us, even though we were in the jungle we didn’t see many animals, only a lot of leeches! If you stopped to breath for a few minutes they already were inside your shoes, or climbing up the pants. If you put your hands on the floor to help yourself to climb, in seconds you could find leeches between your fingers and on the arms. It was a very enriching experience, especially for them!

Finally we returned to the main path when we were already close to the top. The jungle was becoming clearer and there were few trees, exposing a completely different landscape; meadows of tall grass with flowers and really wonderful views.


At the south side, towards Hetauda, we could see a small village surrounded by high mountains. To the north side we could see Bhimphedi, Balmandir and even the Peepal Tree. The pity was that we couldn’t see Himalayas because of some clouds.

The team: Sushil, Ramesh S, Bishwo, Sumit, Bishnu, Ramesh T, Krishna, Ram, Maya, Marina and Joana.

After 4 hours walking we took snack. Maya told us that she was born in the summit of this mountain. Her parents farmed these lands, where they grew potatoes and lived in a stone house.

Maya in the summit of the mountain.

The descent was much quicker, although we often stopped to harvest medicinal plants, fruits and flowers. This time we went down by the right path and it was much easier. When we reached to Middle Supping we took a little path that led us among the crops and we went to visit Krishna’s family. We were invited to a cup of tea and some cookies.

Krishna’s family.

Finally at 5 pm we went down back home with tired legs but with the mind full of memorable images that we carry with us.


Note: I would like to thank Marina for her great contribution to this tour, attracting all the leeches. Thank you for your generosity, we all appreciated it very much!

Making some games

Written by Joana Alsina Vega, volunteer of Children’s Home.

Last week we built some games. The kid called Love is the handyman of Balmandir. He makes a spinning with wood and one nail, and they work really well. One morning we said that we would like to make some hoops, because we could use them for different kind of activities. He went to the workshop and in few minutes he brought some of them. Exactly what we wanted!

We play with hoops every day. We use them as a base to play baseball, to do sport exercises and as hula-hops. To make them, Love cut wire to create circles and he joined them to be more consistent. But when we tried on the football field we realized that we cannot see really well. So we went to look for colour tape to cover them. We started to stick tape around until we had red and green hoops.

Ashish, Som and Bishow doing hoops.


We also painted some plastic bottles for make bowls. We don’t use only with a ball, we also train with hoops. But this is not as easy as it seems! We painted spinning tops as well. Now, when you turn spinning tops colours and shapes mingle, creating special effects.

Basu and Anuj painting tops.

Yogurt afternoon snack

Written by Joana Alsina volunteer at the Children’s Home

In Balmandir, at six o’clock from the morning it’s the tea time for the biggest and the buffalo’s milk time for children. Five litters of fresh milk are bought every day, which quickly are gone! But we are in very special dates now and some of the biggest boys from Balmandir have gone to celebrate Dashain with their family so every day we can spare a few litters of delicious buffalo’s milk. Making mozzarella seemed too risky, so we decided to try to make yogurt.


Transform the milk into yogurt is not really difficult; you only need a portion of yogurt sample – which is needed to transform the milk -, a thermometer – to measure the water and the milk temperatures – and a yogurt-maker. Despite we have neither yogurt-maker nor thermometer in Bhimphedi, we still decided to try it.

Every day we take two litters of milk. Once it has boiled and while let it cool, we put another pot of water to the fire. This will works as a yogurt-maker. Once the milk cooled a bit – and we believe that it’s around 46 degrees – we add yogurt and stir it trying to avoid lumps. We fill in metallic glasses and put them in the pot with hot wather.

We put milk in metallic glasses and we leave in one pot with hot water.

Then we cover it with a plate and we wrap all with blanket to keep the heat all night, like in a yogurt-maker.

The next morning, we open the pot and …. surprise, yogurt is done! We don’t use thermometer and for this reason they get different textures every day. We don’t like routine so it is fine for us. We keep them in the fridge until we have enough for every child. Every three days in Balmandir there is yogurt afternoon snack!