Category Archives: News

The handyman of Balmandir

Written by Marina Viñas volunteer at the Children’s Home

The last three weeks we have been lucky to have in Balmandir our own “sparks”, Josep Maria. He has not stopped working even a second for the time he has been with us. He and his anti-mosquitoes uniform – green overalls and red hat – were always ready to work. Here there is always something to do. Often there are unexpected events that delay the easiest works and make them challenging and almost impossible. But with patience and persistence finally everything can be solved here, most of the times with the help of a hammer.

Some of the Balmandir doors did not close very well, because the door closers were damaged. After repairing them and add some news on the rear doors (without the help of any assembly instructions), now all doors open and close perfectly.

There were also some mosquito nets to fix or exchange. Mosquitoes also love to live in Balmandir, there are plenty of them. We do not know how to get rid of them, but at least we can prevent them to come inside the buildings. We are more than grateful, since we don’t love to be mosquito food.

As perhaps you remember, three weeks ago two new computers arrived in Balmandir. But… how to plug them? Our handyman made an extension of the plugs of the computer room. Now we can work five people at once, each with their own computer.

We also needed to extend the drainage of the water coming from the baths, kitchen and cleaning clothes because now the water ended up next to the toilets where lots of mosquitoes liked to stay. With the help of some collaborators Josep Maria extended the channel to take the water till the kitchen garden where the water can be useful.

Josep and Joana working on the water drainage extention


Water drainage extention


But water is needed for many things, and very often the tanks are empty. Why? Because the pump-motor has been spoiled. Balmandir water comes directly from the village network and is stored in a large underground reservoir. This water is distributed to other stores located above each of the modules using this pump-motor. Without this engine, children have to climb up the modules to connect the small deposits with the large underground reservoir using a small borrowed pump.

Josep incoming to the underground reservoir
Suction valve, in the underground reservoir


Ramesh Thami and Kiran connecting the small deposit of the kitchen with the large underground reservoir

To repair the pump-motor was one of the most resisted tasks for our own “sparks”. One piece was burned and had to be changed so he had to go to Hetauda. Once he got one new, and after installed it… the suction valve didn’t work!! Some moments of despair so the job done looked like it had been done for nothing. But finally the pump works again. We finally have water! But we have to be careful not to destroy the machine again (it cannot work more than half an hour). That’s why Josep Maria has made a wooden box that is closed with a lock that protects and controls the access to only a couple of people.


But when Josep Maria was fixing the machine he is totally astonished of seeing the electrical installation of the Children’s Home! In this country they do not know what a differential device is? nor even an earth connection??!! It seems incredible but true: nowhere are installed and it’s so difficult to find a store to buy them. But after spending a many hours we get them. Our sparks installed the differential and two holes were digged thanks to the help of some kids and volunteers. These holes were made to install the earth connection, one for the water pump-motor and another for the Balmandir electric installation. Here we learn many things. Do you know how an earth connection is made? Well, I didn’t know until now.

Earth connection of the water pump-motor
Earth connection of Balmandir electric installation

But this is not all. There was a project that excited Josep Maria more than others: repairing the swing. The legs were completely crooked, with a wrong inclination (that caused more than one accident) and the bearings were broken for long time. Ramon Coderch, member of Amics del Nepal, provided us with top quality bearings from Barcelona, so we were well prepared for the task. Two new holes were digged to straighten the left legs of the swing. Like everything, easy tasks don’t exist here. While digging one hole we found a metal pipe. We must take care to avoid a new problem. But finally we got it, the left legs were straightened legs and “sparks” have already installed the supports. Now we just need to put the swings and we can swing safely.

Previous to the reparation



Once repaired

Three intense weeks. Now we just have said goodbye to Josep Maria. We will miss him, to him, his green uniform and his hat. And his energy, that has made possible all this work. Thank you very much, Josep!




Football in Balmandir

Written by Mireia Masó and Jordi Giral, volunteers at the Children’s Home

August has been a very active month about news and changes on the football world of Bhimphedi. Like it would happen if we were talking about professional football, the hot news of the summer have been the improvement on the Balmandir’s football court, friendly matches, the selection of some of our teenagers to play in the Bhimphedi school’s team and even the selection of our small Messi for the region team.

On one hand, for the last months we have been having troubles with the football balls because they were blast very frequently. Which was the reason? When they kick the ball very strong, it is very simple that it ends in the prison wall, which is on the other side of the street, and the iron protection systems, which are used to avoid the escaping of the prisoners, blasted them all. After some days on thinking about what could be done, we decided to build a metallic net to install after the problematic goal. As soon as we bought the needed material, Luv began to work and in just some days he built it. It is a very big net, 10m long and 3m high. Since the moment we installed it, no more balls have been lost.

On the other hand, the goals began to have stability problems. We decided to disassemble them to avoid problems. We rebuilt them, developing better connections between the poles, painting them with black protective paint to make them more durable and we stuck them in the ground using concrete. Finally, we painted white lines and now the football ground has two goals which we hope they will last very long.

One of the new goals and the new fence, made by the kids to protect the balls from the wall of the jail situated next to the children’s home.

To celebrate this achievement, we played a game with the teenagers which last almost two hours. The result was 10-9. Dani’s team defeated Jordi’s team with a goal in the last minute by RamRaj, the star of the group. Only with the whistle sound, which announced the dinner, the players could finally rest. They went as happy as tired to get the deserved Dal Bhat of the evening.

Ramesh and Jordi shooting the ball as they were in Oliver and Benji.
Dani, Love and the other players looking how Sushil receives a ball.

In the regional news, Kamal, Luv and Ramraj were selected to play with the Bhimphedi’s school team. The school organised this team to play a regional tournament in Hetauda. After 4 victories, some of them we equilibrated as they got to the penalties, they reached the big final. The mobilization of the school was spectacular. They organised a bus to go and go back from Hetauda and lots of youngers, teachers and volunteers went to see the game. The unlucky part was that it rained a lot that day and the game was postponed.

Next day, the team and the supporters we came back to Hetauda and that day was very sunny and the game was played under a terrible warmth. The only goal of the match was scored by Bhimphedi during the first time. 1-0! CHAMPIONS! And moreover, our 3 teenagers played the match! The celebration began as soon as the game ended: Once the cup and the medals were handed. The players began to dance and take some pictures with the cup and the supporters. After a while, the bus came and we went again to Bhimphedi. The celebration continued and along the return trip, with drums and music dishes to be sure that every single person in Hetauda and Bhimphedi knew that they won the tournament. “It’s the first time we win this tournament!” Looking at their happy faces and how Bhimphedi people received them when they arrived to Bhimphedi, it seemed Futbol Club Barcelona (or Futbol Club Bhimphedi, as they like to say) doing the celebration with the people after winning the Champions League. Congratulations Champions!

Ramraj receiving the champion medal.
Luv receiving the champion medal.
Kamal receiving the champion medal.
The champion team with the cup and the medals!



The three kids of the children’s home selected for the school team, the team that won the football competition. From left to right: Luv, Kamal and Ramraj.

Once the tournament of the Hetauda district was finished, a selection of the best players from different teams was made to play the next phase. The good news is that Ramraj, our little Messi, was selected!

The team also won all the matches of the second stage and qualified for the phase of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Ramraj enjoyed this tournament, but because they lost the first match and drew the second, they did not qualify for the final. However, Ramraj returned to the children’s home of Bhimphedi with a big smile.

Janay Purnima, the Full Moon of August

Purnima is one of the girls who joined us in Bhimphedi Children’s Home last April. Her name means “Full Moon” in Nepali. A very appropriate name, because her eyes are as spectacular as the moon in its splendor.

On Thursday 18th there was the full moon of August, and this is known in Nepal as Janay Purnima, a festival which is celebrated throughout the country and India in different ways.

For the Nepalese Hindus of the mountains, priests are rubbing their hands, because it is a busy day for them: they roll a colored red and yellow thread around the left wrist of all people in exchange of some rupies. This type of bracelet will protect them but it can not be removed until Tihar, a festival held in early November.

For the Nepalese Hindus of the plains bordering India, sisters put some bracelet and “tika” to her brothers, as a sign of love and care.

Beli didi, one of the workers of the Children’s Home, putting the bracelet. Both caretakers of the Home put bracelets to all the kids and volunteers.
From up to down: Bracelets from Maya didi, from Beli didi and from the priest.

In any case in all the houses people eats “quati”, a mixture of 12 different types of pulses half sprouted with buffalo meat, reach food which provides them the energy to recover from the rainy season.

The day before the Janay Purnima festival, our Purnima had warned us: “Tomorrow is my birthday!”. In the file, the birthday is not that (besides the festival changes the date with the Moon). But her brother, a year elder than her, supported his sister statement. So the day of the August Full Moon, we didn’t only celebrate Janay Purnima festival, but we also celebrated the birthday of our Purnima.

The celebration was pretty beautiful, singing songs and eating cake in the light of the full moon of August (throughout the afternoon we had one of the common energy cuts).









The gift was a box of crayons, and still another box of plastic colors and little box of paints, with a small notebook of white sheets to draw. All wrapped up among dozens of newspaper sheets, and girl exultant of joy.






The diversity of festivals of Nepal, and the intensity they celebrate them, is surprising: the very next day of Janay Purnima, we celebrate Gai Jatra (the cow festival of the Newar caste) which commemorates the dead of that year. On next Thursday, we will celebrate Krishna Astami (birthday of Lord Krishna) on Friday Bhimsen Jatra (the big festival of Bhimphedi). The following week the Father’s day, followed by Teej the women’s day. The next week, Indra Jatra and between all these festivals still we will celebrate an Islamic festival, but we can not say the exact date till one day before celebrating. It is a country of festivals.

One cow dressed for Gai Jatra, the Newari festival to commemorate the defunct of last year.
gai jatra 05
Prachande, the funny character of Gai Jatra, who throws water dirty of cow poop to any fool who dares to come near him.
gai jatra 1
Some kids dressed for the Gai Jatra, remembering the defunct of the last year.

We must also say that we are not only entertained by these festivals, but we also have bus strike because the traffic police has been very strict allowing buses only to take the people fitting in the seats, which leaves the owners of buses without profit and the villagers without transportation (because there is never any seats available). And of course if there are no buses, teachers can not come to the village to teach, so the school is also closed. As I said, Nepal is a festival of a country…

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 wedding out of the ordinary

The coordinator of the Children’s Home is getting married with one of the teachers of the school! The children of the children’s home are very excited. All their friends don’t stop asking about the topic that everyone talks about in Bhimphedi.

Children Balmandir are eager to celebrate! We will celebrate our wedding only within the family: Manisha’s family and mine in Nepal (meaning the children and workers of the children’s home).

“When is the wedding?” Here things can not be planned, if someone plans something sure Nepal will make sure your plans change. This uncertainty makes things difficult but exciting. Even five days before the event, when the date was already fixed on Sunday 26th June, and some guests had already hired the jeep to come on Saturday to Bhimphedi from Kathmandu, things changed: the priest told to Manisha’s family that Sunday was not a good day for the wedding, so we had to do it on Friday, two days earlier. Everyone, run…

On Friday morning, accompanied by all the children and staff of the Children’s Home and friends, in a well decorated car and dressed in a peculiar way, the groom moves to the bride’s house.

1) sortida 2

2) cotxe

2) cotxe i gent

2) gent 2

3) arribada

3) arribada i monjo

After her family welcomes the coming team, we celebrate the ceremony in a small temple and take the bride. Here, when the girl gets married becomes part of the family of the husband. But in this case however, Manisha not change her surname or stop meeting her family.

5) despres de la cerimonia foto de grup

5) despres de la cerimonia foto de parella

4) celebrant la cerimonia

4) celebrant la cerimonia detalls

4) cerimonia anell

4) celebrant la cerimonia en el temple

5) despres de la cerimonia ballant

6) festa foto de grup

6) festa i foto dels nuvis

Friday afternoon the party took place in Balmandir, all the kids had lots of fun: creating the decoration, preparing gifts, eating lots of delicious foods (including lamb, chicken and paneer) and especially dancing.
Boys and girls who no longer live at the Children’s Home this year also came to the party, so this was also a good excuse for meeting friends and brothers. A day to remember!

6) festa pel basu 3

6) festa i menjar

6) menjar 2

One of the gifts that the children and volunteers prepared for us was a video: any resemblance to reality is pure coincidence…

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!

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.

Amics del Nepal President visits us

In Easter, the president of Amics del Nepal has used her holidays to visit the projects of the Association. Ten days Nepal making meetings in Kathmandu, Patan, Bhimphedi and Mahendranagar.

These few days have been very useful to close collaboration agreements and making meetings with all organizations that Amics del Nepal has been supporting for many years.

In Bhimphedi Children’s Home, the last week, some of the volunteers and children have been painting the stairs of the library; and didis have been repairing the garden in front of it.

Some of the kids painting the background for the stairs once they were dry after being newly plastered.
Basu painted the stairs and his hands.
The “art boy” of the Children’s Home draw some flowers on the new flower pots on the sides of the stair.


try again
The girls and Isa made some drawings on the central part as well: grass, flowers, insects and small animals.


To finish the artwork, Sita and Isa draw on the other flowerpot.

flors Isa

Saturday morning we did a general cleaning (we clean every Saturday, but this week we have put more enthusiasm). We have also prepared flowers and we have saved the only gas cylinders that we had so Cristina can use the two days she will be in Bhimphedi. Here in Nepal we have the saying “Guests are gods.”

Meeting with all the kids of the Children’s home to coordinate how to tidy and clean the compound and rooms before the arrival of Cristina.  And also how to welcome her once she was here.

During the brief but intense stay, Cristina (president of Amics del Nepal), Miquel (member of Amics del Nepal in Kathmandu) and Nima (daughter of Cristina) have visited the whole Children’s Home, played with children and met with the coordinators of the Children’s Home to discuss the next tasks and challenges of the project.

Cristina and Nima arrive!
On the backside Nima playing badminton. On the front Cristina looking from the distance, but…
Soon later she also joined and played a good game with Sushil.

As if it was made to entertain the visitors, this last week we have had new newborns in the children’s home: three goats, two puppies and six chicks.

With lots of guides, Cristina and Nima visit the Children Home and the new born  goats.



They also see the new chicks.
And our buffalos.

Cristina has also visited the office of AWASUKA, where she met with Monica (project coordinator), Amit (new local engineer hired for the project), Ranjit (President of the local cooperative), Ram (secretary of the local cooperative) and the  volunteers Alex and Diego (Base-A / UPC). At the end of the meeting Cristina and Ranjit signed the first agreement between the two organizations to hire a local technician for AWASUKA.

A short visit, but productive and enjoyable!

In front of the door of AWASUKA office: group photo with the members of Amics del Nepal, Agragami and UPC/base-A.
Meeting in the AWASUKA/Agragami office.
Final agreement signed by Amics del Nepal president and Agragami president.

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:

Recharging the batteries

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).

Excursion to Suping, less than one hour walking from the Children’s Home.

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)…

Some kids getting ready for a relay race organized by Kul.

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:

Careful! There are some big cracks on the table!
One levitating ball!
Another levitating ball!
Still another one!
Oh, these were not levitating balls, they were egg-ish drawings!
The five artists!

But today Sunday the children already return to classes with their batteries recharged!