Category Archives: [:ca]Cantar i ballar[:en]Sing and Dance[:es]Cantar y bailar[:]

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.

Birthdays and more!!

  Written by Vanessa Mártinez volunteer at children’s home

April is a month full of birthdays, so we celebrated all of them with a big party!!

We had gymkhana, cake, presents, music and lots of fun!!

Kush singing Manu Chao!!
Samir, one of the birthday’s boy enjoying the cake!!

We celebrated the birthdays of Samir (9 years old), Bishnu (12 years old), Arjun (18 years old), our didi Beli and Mònica from Awasuka.

And to refresh ourselves in these hot days we went to the river! Kushal that is just 4 years old, walked downhill and uphill without any problems.

Beautiful hill sight!!
Kushal’s first time at the river. He gets crazy!!

Saraswoti Puja

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.

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.

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.

Bhimphedi, village of dancers

The cultural activity in Bhimphedi is, almost in its totality, about traditional celebrations (some Hindus, some Buddhists) of the different casts who live in the different neighborhoods of the village: the Tamangs (mongols who are mainly agricultures), the Newars (the traders), the Chhetri y Brahaman (religious and farmers), the Praja (woodcutters)…

Some of the young people of the village have found, though, a huge common passion that makes them be united and work hard to improve day after day: the dance! with a lot of influence from Bolliwood. Some of these boys started a very active group called “Bhimphedi Guys”. They organize daily dance classes (morning and evening). Often, you can find them around the village shooting videoclips.

Leaded by Nirmal (one of the boys of the village that some time ago won in a national channel dance show), this team has collaborated with the Children’s Home in many occasions. The children of the Home have partaken in the dancing classes and some videoclips, even in some of the dancing tournaments the Bhimphedi Guys have organized in the village. This group of dancers created a videoclip for Mònica Sans (Singer and responsible of the AWASUKA project and the Bhimphedi Children’s Home in the Amics del Nepal Board).

Last Sunday, the Bhimphedi Guys recorded a new dance videoclip. Many of the scenes were in the children’s home, with the kids, staff and volunteers of the center as audience. You can already see the result:

One of the scenes of the new videoclip of Bhimphedi Guys, recorded in the Bhimphedi Children’s Home.
The older children and the staff looking at the shooting from the distance.


After years of practice, many of the children of the home love to dance, they don’t do it bad at all. They don’t miss any opportunity to use their dancing skills, for example when Sara and Xavi came to Bhimphedi. These two wonderful volunteers of Amics del Nepal, who apart from recording for AWASUKA project, they visited us to the children’s home and we enjoyed with them for few days. Thank you for coming Xavi and Sara, thank you for making us the Bolliwood dance workshop!

Sara and Xavi recording for AWASUKA project.
Sara teaching one Bolliwood choreography to three of the girls of the Children’s Home.
And Valeria also joined to the dancing workshop.

Very happy to live in this village of dancers!