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Wondering and Wandering I graduated. Now what? Do I live the life I never wanted to live? The one where I move to the city, get a job in a corporate cubicle, and slave away 60 hours a week for $40,000 a year? No thanks. How about 5 years down the road when I settle on a girl I don't truly love, buy the car I don't need, have the marriage that won't last, buy the home I can't afford? No thanks. I want to see things, I want to experience life in every way. This is the only life I've got, I might as well make the most of it and do something I won't foget. So here I am, travelling the world one step at a time. Where I'm going is yet to be decided, how long I'm there is up in the air, but one thing's for sure. Whatever I do, where ever I go, I'm going to be living. You can count on that.

A day in my life

NEPAL | Friday, 9 November 2007 | Views [1083] | Comments [1]

I get up around 8, still a late sleeper, even in Kathmandu. I make my way to the German bakery down the road and have my croissant and cup of coffee, ahh life's little pleasures. From there I walk 10 minutes to the local minibus station. It's always an interesting trip. Imagine crowding 20, literally 20, people in a van no bigger than an Astro Van. I usually get lots of stares, it's uncommon to see a bearded white man taking a local bus. It's a short, but painful, journey. Our driver, usually no older than 18 enjoys speeding down pothole ridden roads. I've learned not to sit in the back if I can help it. We're constantly dodging pedistrians who get an ear shattering honk of the horn if they don't move quickly enough, goats, chickens (who don't get dodged), and the ever sacred cow (who we will slam on the brakes for). By the end of the journey I'm happy to be alive. I take a short walk to the orphanage and walk through the 8 ft. high iron spiked gate that's locked after 8 p.m. It's not the safest neighborhood but the man who owns it (an ex-Gurka who fought for the British and now lives in London), leases it for a fairly cheap amount as long as his mother is allowed to live on the top floor. It's a beautiful building, the architecture here is actually quite stunning, it's got an amazing rooftop garden and is quite large considering where it is. I walk through the screen door and take of my shoes, we don't wear shoes inside. I step into the children's playroom and they all snap to attention with a "Good Morning Uncle Alice (still working on "Alex"), Namaste" (Nuh - mas - tey, is the Nepali greeting meaning "Hello and respect to you"). It's enough to melt your heart. We usually start the day going through English and then Nepali. We will start with facial features, dadi=beard, they love my beard, and move on to nose, eyes, mouth, teeth, hair, forehead, etc. Sometimes we go through the Alphabet, one of the older girls will bring out her school book and we will work on letters, "A is for apple" etc. The we will bring out the big childrens encyclopedia and I will teach them the names of different animals, construction equipment, you name it. They are crowded so close I feel like it's a big hug session. You can hear the excitement in their voices as they repeat, quite well, what I am saying. They still have a long way to go but they are trying and enjoying learning. They don't have many books, I've seen a Thomas the Tank Engine, The Childrens Encyclopedia, and a few coloring books. It's disheartening at the least to see the desire for these children to learn but without the materials to do so. We soon move on to drawing and coloring. I'm not much of an artist but they enjoy my flowers and fish and coloring them in. Luckily a group of Aussies came in yesterday and delivered a large package full of coloring pencils and paper. It's a good start but there is so much more they need that I just can't supply. Think about the supplies a daycare has and take them all away. That's pretty much what these kids have, nothing. A few stuffed animals, a doll or two, a matching game, and one puzzle. All this for 8 children. 2 boys and 6 girls. They go to a private school which is free on a exchange program. They get to go for free as long as there are a few English teachers who volunteer on occasion. I can't start volunteering until the festival is over and that only leaves me 2 days until I leave for Everest. At least I get to spend some one on one time with these kids. They love singing Nepali songs, playing clapping games, and a few "ring around the rosy" type games that I can't figure out. I've taught them "heads down thumbs up" but I can't seem to think of anymore. Their meals consist of Dal Bhat (Dal is Lentil soup, Bhat is rice, and potato curry). It's quite delicious (I get to eat with them). They line up in the hall to the kitchen, with their hands behind their back and walk in slowly and orderly. They sit in a semi circle in the kitchen on the floor and eat quietly after saying thanks to Shiva or Kali or some other Hindu god. There are a few so I tend to get them confused. There are two people working full time at the orphanage, which is set up for 20 children, but they just don't have the funds at the moment. One man, Biswa, who is doing this for free, lives with them and started the orphanage not too long ago. There is a lady who works full time, cooking and cleaning. I told Biswa that I felt this orphanage is what I'm supposed to be doing. Helping, teaching, and fundraising. When I get home I'm going to put my efforts into gathering enough money to set up in some sort of fund to sustain at least 10 children. After enough money is gathered for that we will work on 20 children. At the moment it costs only $800 a month to feed, educate, medicate, house, and protect these children. That's nothing, there are people who can make that in a week, some even in a day, but I'm worried that people either don't care or don't realize the poverty. I know I didn't before I got here. These kids are so happy just to have someone there to give them attention. So far there are 4 of us. Me, a girl from Holland, a guy from Germany who is helping with the website, and Colby who will be doing photography for a pamphlet I hope to put together to help raise money. If you know anyone who can help, please pass this along and let them know pictures are on the way. If you want to link to the website this is it, http://www.happyhomenepal.org. This is proving to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I am enjoying every second of it. All it takes is a little help from a few people. Just a few of us can make a big difference in these childrens lives. Thanks, Love you, Alex

Tags: Culture



Ah, Uncle Alice, yours is an interesting life. I wish I had a video of your day as described. Your travels has been such an treat for me. You make me feel as if I am with you. Great writing .
Love and prayers.

  Grandmother Nov 12, 2007 3:35 AM

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