After the exams, 8 days of holidays for the small kids, 3 for the bigger. We have being using these days well.
We visited the army camp (although they didn’t allow us to cross the front door), Dhorsing, the bridge of Suping, we have to gone to the forest for firewood to cook (India still maintains trade blockade with Nepal, so we have no cooking gas) and we went to the forest again to look for “tarul” (a type of potato that is eaten in a festival called Sangratri).
We played many sports as well: basketball, football, table-tennis, activities directed by Kul (one of the big kids who studies the ten class and helps a lot in the Children’s Home)…
And volunteers have organized fun activities:
– A group treasure hunt with sweet rewards:
– A game where both teams had to memorize the symbols that were at the quarter of the other team, then ran to their own quarter and reproduce them as similar as possible:
– Modeling clay:
– And five children participated in a drawing contest where they had to make two drawings that give the impression of three dimensions:
But today Sunday the children already return to classes with their batteries recharged!
Written by Krishna Pudasaini, Center Chief of Bhimphedi Children Home:
Maghe Sankrati was celebrated across the country on January, 15th 2016 (1st Magh 2072). This festival takes place every year, on the first day of Magh (nepali month).
It remarks the end of winter and the beginning of the spring season. In every house, friends and relatives enjoy Magne Sakranti by eating ghee, chaaku (a kind of fright sugar), yam, selroti (a fright doughnut), tharul (sweet potato), with other delicious varieties of food items.
On this day, devotees who lives near a river take a holy dip known as makan snan. This types of holy dips take place in different parts of the country, especially in Chitwan, which is also known as makar mela.
Magne Sakranti is the special festival for tharu community. They celebrate as their new year and the day of emancipation and they perform their cultural dances.
Newari community calle the festival as Gyhyo chaku sanun celebrating this day by eating ghee and chaaku.
On this auspicious day in Betrawati, a village situated near Rassuvoa and Nuwakot, hundreds of people observed annually bull fighting as the event to preserve their ancestors’ memory. Such event attracts people from the nearest districts as Kathmandu, Dhading, Lalitpur, Makwanpur…
We celebrated it in the Children’s Home as well. The day before, the children went to the mountain with shovels and picks to dig up the root eaten in this festival, a type of sweet potato they call “tharul.”
In the morning, everyone ate the sweet chaaku with butter (gui). At noon, it was time to eat tharul.
Written by Sergio Rodriguez, Bhimphedi Children Home Volunteer:
Today we thought that going out together to enjoy nature and give us a daring bathing in this sunny winter day was a good way to spend this holiday for small kids of Balmandir (the big ones have still class). We hike to a nearby river in Dhorsing. Start recruiting!
All the kids are scattered on the playground and many are reluctant to leave the comfort of their daily entertainment, such as spinning top, I tried to pass on the desire shouting “Who wants adventure”? Finally, we got a good group (almost all) and we set out of our way.
The trip was fun and entertaining for the team with an unexpected union of a goat that has followed a good stretch, battling with the two dogs from Balmandir, who also made the entire trip with us. After crossing the yellow bridge of Dhorsing we entered to the jungle trails to get into the river. Frozen water and small waterfalls received us and we have had a very good time playing in the sand and getting our feet wet.
The return was tiring and a bit more difficult. The group splited into two because the first group went to a wrong way. The second group waited in the bridge eating some snacks. Tired but happy at the same time we made our way back looking forward for one thing: dhalbat. The feeling of having used great the last four hours with laughs and good moments.
The kids show great agility, orientation, domination of territory, knowledge of the environment and even creativity in creating tools and “toys” with different things they have been found along the way. They are amazing!
Written by Isabel Valero, Bhimphedi Children’s Home volunteer
This week had been very fast, but not for the children of class 1 to class 5 who have had a week of exams. They were all studying very hard these days to pass everything.
Every morning, after the glass of milk with rice, they have studied an hour. Occasionally, the volunteers asked them what went into the exam to verify that they knew all. And yes, the truth is that they memorize all with ease!
After eating dalbhat, they made a last reviewed and prepared, a little nervous to face the exam.
Two hours later we had the children back to the shelter. They returned very happy, I don’t know exactly why they had got rid of the exam, without thinking whether or not to pass it or so had gone well and knew that they would take good marks. In any case each time we asked them how exam had been they always said, “Very good!”.
After distracted few hours, one hour of study. Then, at 4 pm, when the big ones arrived from school, Kul, one of the youth in the shelter, managed a session of sports activities. Kul greatly help in the shelter, both in the garden and farm, such as taking care of children.
After dinner, we started all over again to study all the topics of the exam of the next day. And so, for 8 days.
The exams ended on Friday, and as a prize, have a whole week without class!
This week, as we don’t study much, we go on trips, do fun activities (playing games, using the computer, playing Meccano, they made amazing spinning tops themselves…). In the evening, the have the opportunity to put movies in English and spend a very relaxed time together.
This week certainly is happening much faster for them!
Amics del Nepal, besides managing the management of Bhimphedi Children’s Home, it supports four other Children’s Homes. One, Siphal Child Protection Home is in charge of welcoming children who have their parents in prison. This Children’s Home has had to accommodate many children after the earthquake, too many, some children who lost parents in the earthquake, and others living in other Children’s Homes that were affected and had to be evacuated.
One of the kids who lived in this Siphal Children’s Home, Arjun, who is studying in class 8, a very important course, asked if he could be transferred to Bhimphedi Children’s Home. After considering this possibility with NCO (semi-governmental organization, owner of the Children’s Home of Siphal and Bhimphedi, and seven more) we conclude that the best for the welfare of this boy and his small brother, Santa, was to accept his request and transfer them to Bhimphedi.
So, once the holidays of Tihar were over, I went to pick the two brothers to take them to Bhimphedi. But of course, nothing here is so simple… First I went to the office of NCO, there they told me that they could not make the letter of transfer because the file of the two children was in the Siphal Children’s Home. So they called there and told me that the director of Siphal Children’s Home would write himself the letter, so I can go directly next day to there to pick up the letter and the kids. But I do not trust it, it seems too easy.
So, I decide to go the same day to ask to Siphal Children’s Home director if it will be so easy. Of course he says “no”, he can not write this letter, the NCO office has to send the letter to him. I say: “They told me they could not because they don’t have the children file… could you call to the office?”. He does and he agrees to send the file, then they will make the letter and send it to Siphal… But the director tells me that they don’t have any staff to send with the file to the office, so they will do it tomorrow morning first time… This is becoming complicated…
Incidentally I ask to the director to show me the last year school marksheet (the course ended in April), I have to give them to the schools Bhimphedi for registration. New surprise, they don’t have it, the school still has not prepared it… I ask what I have to do to get it… they tell me I will need another letter from another department of NCO to give to the school… my god… I think tomorrow it will not be possible to go to Bhimphedi… I request the director to call back to the office to ask them to prepare this second letter as well.
The next day, very early, I go back to Siphal Children’s Home to make sure that the file is sent to NCO office. When I arrive they say they have already sent it! The day starts well!
The officials who have to make the letters will not join for duty until 10, so in the meantime I will buy an electric heater for cooking, and give it to one of the young kids from Bhimphedi Children’s Home who already lives in Kathmandu. It has been already one month and a half that the trade blockade started, and the kid has already run out of gas and he can not cook… So now he will be able to cook when there is electricity (in winter 12 hours a day there is no electricity). The smile of the boy when he saw the electric device, it well worth the 5€ it cost to me.
10:30 I’m going to NCO office and ask them for the letters. They make me sit. I spend two hours sitting there… They tell me that the typist today has taken leave, and the rest of staff are not very fast typing in Nepali. Finally they give me the letters, and I go walking to Siphal (transportation is more complicated than usual, it was already complicated, now there is a blockade and there is little access to petrol).
I arrive at Siphal Children’s Home, I take the elder brother and we go to his school to ask for the last year marksheets. An hour later we go out from the school with both marksheets. They have some errors, but I don’t dare to say anything, maybe it would take another half hour to fix it.
We return to the Home. Come on, come on, let’s go to Bhimphedi! Santa is not there? he is in the school… fortunately it’s very near. Arjun goes to pick his small brother, and once he change clothes, and they take all their bags we leave. After living eight years in this children’s home, they go to a new home, with new “brothers”, new “parents”, new school, new hopes, new everything. During the whole trip the elder brother is quiet with watery eyes, but every time I look at him he smiles. When I ask to the small brother if it is happy or sad for the change, he says: “Both”. They look calm, but not indifferent. Without drama but aware of the importance of this moment. I like how they are handling the situation.
After 30 minutes of taxi and 3 hours of jeep, we arrived at their new home. They are received them very well, and in a few days you would distinguish which kids are the newcomers.
Santa, who was studying in a government school is a little bit weak for the English community school, so teachers advice to put him in third class. But we see he is working hard and he is eager to remain in fourth class, with other three boys and a girl from the Children’s Home. So we agree with teachers that we will help a lot to Santa so he can catch up in the four months left of the course. Teachers are not completely convinced, but Santa is already working hard, and always with a smile.
Ah, and three small goats have been born in the Children’s Home! The family keeps growing!
Some of the children in the children’s home have some members of their own family out of the house. Examples of this fact are two of the girls of the children’s home, that even though their family situation does not allow them to live permanently with them, we do promote that they stay as much time as possible during the holidays, so the relationship with them becomes strong.
So these days we have brought Sita and Binita to their home towns, a good excuse for a trip for the other girls too, to visit new places.
On Saturday we went to Binita’s father house. To get there we had to take a bus and then request a truck driver to take us in the cabin with him. And slowly, uphill, we arrived in her village, located near Daman, over 2,000 meters of altitude.
On Sunday however we went to the plains beyond Hetauda (Terai) to Sita mother’s house (re-married after the father of Sita killed).
All girls and staff spent a really good time in these new surroundings for a couple of days. Although we returned a little sad to leave two girls in their house for a few days, soon they will return to continue the activities that we have planned in the children’s home.
On the way to the children’s home we saw the first consequences of the earthquake (7.5 Richter scale) Many houses made of stone and mud, have been affected by the earthquake, some had cracks, some need a piece of wall and others are completely destroyed. Few houses have remained intact.
Fortunately, many people were on the sports court (see the post of the act) and others outside the houses, so we didn’t have injured people, but they were strongly affected, especially those who have lost their home and shop.
We hurry with the children to come back to the center and meet the other kids to see if they’re right.
In the children’s home, only the volunteer’s house (an old building of the Rana dynasty) has been affected. No light, no mobile phones… We have no battery to charge mobiles or computers …
After a while the earth trembled again, this time more gently, everyone wonders if it will return the strong earthquake. They are coming rumors and mixed news, so we don’t know how can be the rest of the country…
Seems that there are no serious injuries in Bhimpedi, but many people have lost their homes. Our four workers that we have in the center;Beli and Ram, they can’t live in their homes … and Maya and Santa Maya’s houses have been cracked. Everyone is sad, but mostly of them scared. They all sleep in the streets, now they don’t feel safe in their own homes, now there are dangerous places. So, they sleep all together in the street and they spend hours with family and friends, giving support to each other.
At night there are five or six earthquake aftershocks, soft but enough strong to shake the ground and the villager’s hearts.
At the morning we follow with no communication with the outside and we get confused news, some expect a stronger earthquake. . Schools, shops and medical centers, everything is closed. But the streets are crowded, groups discussing the same issue “was the strongest earthquake I’ve ever experienced”, “there has been no equal in the past 80 years”…
At night the situation is even more complicated, it seems that there will be storm tonight … People did not dare to enter inside the homes because they are convinced that there will be another earthquake of level 9, but they cannot sleep in the street … the center workers come to sleep with their children in our children’s home and we slept together in one room, close from the exit. This night there was a couple of trembling, but very soft.
In the morning, finally becomes the light and we can charge mobiles. We can communicate with the outside and talk with our friends and family. We also can read the Newspapers and see that Kathmandu and Sindupalchowk the earthquake was devastating. The newspaper speaks about 3,000 dead but it can become 8,000. It is a sad day but we have to be strong, smile and be together.
At night we projected a film on the outside, just after the film we feel another earth’s trembling. They are very soft but there not calm the situation … Hopefully at night there’s no more. Now, while some children snore, we are writing this post and we will try to send to Barcelona by phone. If you are reading this it means that we have been lucky. Thank s to Barcelona’s volunteers and to you for following us.
We send you a warm hug from Bhimpedi and we keep in touch!!
Thanks to a project by Rotary Club Kantipur, with financial support coming from Spain coordinated by Juan José Rodriguez, a multisports court has been built in Bhimphedi village.
Everybody was talking about it some time ago, cause it has been a long process: first its planning, then its construction process. And now it is finally completed, and everybody can play whatever they like: basketball, football, volleyball, badminton …
Although many villagers were already using the court some days ago, the official opening will be held on April 25th. The project promoters are coming to Bhimphedi from Madrid and Kathmandu, along with the sports minister and other personalities from the country. So, on April 25 a big event will take place in the village of Bhimphedi!
About one month ago, event organizers asked Laura and me to organise an exhibition basketball match with the children in our home and the children in the village. So, this month we really had to work hard, because children do not forgive any single training!
Every afternoon from 4h to 6h, and some days even in morning time from 6:30 to 8am, we had to go to the sports court and teach them how to play basketball. And most of the times we had to stop them, otherwise they would have kept on playing on and on, until midnight!
Both boys and girls have learned to play very quickly and plus, promoters offered us team t-shirts and sports shoes for the two teams, which we delivered on the events day. They all looked like real teams!! It was great to see how good they played while wearing sports shoes, after having trained wearing flip-flops! (Almost everyone in Nepal wears flip-flops, no matter it is summer, winter, rainy, must climb a mountain, or must work at construction sites). Ram Raj, the star in one of the teams, achieved to reverse the score in favor of the orange team, while executing his attack movements very well, but still having to count his steps loud, cause he had only been doing them for one week: “One, two, toss!”
After the five minutes basketball game, the speeches came. Two hours of speeches where everyone was getting infinitely bored… Finally they decided it was enough and let the local kids do some dances, “but do it quick, quick, it’s about to rain!,” master of ceremonies said…
But it’s not the rain what closes the event. The ground begins to shake… it’s an earthquake! We look at the village and we see many town houses starting to collapse, everywhere. And, far in the mountains, where many detached houses used to be, we can only see some smoke plumes.
After a long minute, the ground seems to be still again; but we are not looking at it the same way we did before: everybody is scared. Nobody had experienced an earthquake like this before… Everybody is very concerned about the consequences this quake might have had, and also to know whether it is stopped or it will have more afterquakes. We all head to the village very quickly…
On April 25 there has been a big event in the village of Bhimphedi! Although it was totally different event than what we all expected …
If you want to know what happened the next hours and days after the quake, read the next post about the earthquake.