A Travellerspoint blog

Sunday, 24 February 2008

From Pokhara to Bandipur.

sunny 26 °C

Sunday, 24 February 2008.
Pokhara – Bandipur.

We packed our small backpacks for Bandipur. I even took the pictures and my photo-album with me to work on it in Bandipur. (which not happened, too many other things to do).

After breakfast at H.E. we took at 9.00 a taxi to the bus stop. When we got out of the taxi we were “attacked” by the ‘bus’boys.
They are hanging out of the busses, whistling to the driver when to stop, knocking on the bus when to move on again, jumping on the roof of the bus like monkeys to tie the boxes, bags and everything that has to come with the bus.
Dragged into a bus, hoping it was the right one going to Dumre, where we had to take a jeep to go up in the hills to Bandipur, Mountain resort.

As usual the bus was packed. From Pokhara to Dumre took us 2 hours for 300 Rs for 2 persons!
Made pictures on the way.

At Dumre we had the same theatre with the jeep ‘boys. Luckily we knew that the price was 20-25 Rs per person. The first clever boy took us to a jeep and asked 250Rs!
We took the first jeep in line with more foreigners already sitting inside: 20 Rs each.
45 Minutes later we were in Bandipur.

There is a lot changed since 3 years ago. More hostels, rooms, restaurants. The Old Inn has now also a café on the other side of the square: Ke Gerne Café (what happened-café).
The terrace overlooks the fields and the mountains.
We got the same room at the front and Ramsaran was happy to see me again. What took you so long?
H.E. has now 10 staff members working in Bandipur. Out of the season they are renovating a hughe house on the square to make it into a 5 star hotel (Ramsaran said).
Siam, one member of the staff, took us for a walk through Bandipur. To the temple, to the “5 taps”, a place where water is coming from the mountains and never stops running. If the villagers have no water, everybody is going here to get water.
The walk passed a monument, raised for the casualties, died in a fight between two parties. The fight was about the cast-system. The party that wanted equal rights no matter from which cast you are won, and since that day there is no cast-system in Bandipur anymore.

Following the path we came to the hospital (photo). All people of Bandipur support this hospital with blankets and means to make it able to work.

A viewpoint of the Annapurna Range, unfortunately it was too misty to see the mountains.

There are now 4 schools in Bandipur. Since July the first volunteers of G.V.I. are working here.
We met Jolana and Rosanna, volunteering here at the moment. They are teaching English, give dancing and singing lessons and every Friday they have a creative day in the room of H.E., where they also give computer lessons to the locals.
I think they are doing a great job there.
Jolana mentioned that there was a big need of teaching the local teachers.
At this moment the children are just copying everything. Slowly the volunteers get them to use their own imagination.

We also met Pete, volunteer in Trisuli and James, a traveller.
There was a retired couple staying at the Old Inn as well, who came to Nepal to work here for 2 years. They had to leave the Terai region because of riots. They are now working in Kathmandu and needed a break from this busy town.
In the evening we had diner all together in the garden around the wood fire. I started to feel sick, so went up to bed. Had fever and the runs, but next morning I woke up feeling fine again.

Posted by Sanghita 07:01 Archived in Nepal Tagged bus Comments (0)

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Picnic in the park with the children

sunny 25 °C

Saturday, 23 February 2008.
Pokhara, Lake side Picnic.

A bit later for breakfast at H.E. Today picnic with the children in the park at the lake.

Around 10 we were in the home, but Nepali time around 12 everybody was finally ready to go. A long line of well-dressed, freshly showered children carrying bags and pots with food and drinks.
Arriving at the park the plastic sheet was folded out, Gongka and the Didies were sitting down.

The fun could begin: first we tried to play badminton, but it was too windy.
So, we moved on to the Frisbees. The boys got the hang of it very quickly and made us run up and down trying to catch the Frisbee.

It was a very warm sunny day and soon Gurash and I had faces like overripe tomatoes.
On the swing, chasing each other, football, learning some of them to ride the bicycle (meaning: running after them like hell).
The little ones wanted to go off the slide, so I ended up going with them, sitting in the front, making sure they did not go down too fast. At the bottom they had the biggest fun ever, me on the bottom, all of them landing on top of me, one big bundle of arms and legs, laughing, screaming.

After an hour it was lunchtime: chicken with some kind of cornflakes. Sprite, Fanta and Coke and everybody happy.
Back playing again.

Around 3 o’clock Gurash and I were wracked. Some word games and with the promise of a surprise on the way back we got them in line, walking back to the home. The surprise was a stop at the ice cream shop.
Bipana, 3 years old, got her first ice-cream of her life! Watching the others what to do with it, she got the hang of licking the ice-cream soon. Everybody laughed when her ice-cream cone started to drip at the bottom. Clever enough she sucked at the bottom that hard that the complete cone collapsed. Ending up covered till her elbows with ice-cream she managed to eat it happily, not caring about anything, completely.

Marching home, where we left them for a short break in our room.

At six we were back for Dahl Bath. First the children, then they came back upstairs. It was a pleasure to see them going into the study room, picking up some of the new books and all started reading.
Amazing how well they can read. Sometimes they asked me or Gurash the meaning of a word and any times we had to look at each other like “how to explain this”?

Then Gurash and I were called to the kitchen, our Dahl Bath was ready. A very tasty Bath with vegetables.
21.00 it was time for us to go. Walking straight to Tea Time for our pancake desert, Internet and more then ready for a good night sleep.

Posted by Sanghita 06:58 Archived in Nepal Tagged volunteer Comments (0)

Friday, 22 february 2008

Visiting the house of Star Children, Mik and Margriet

sunny 25 °C

Friday, 22 February 2008.
Pokhara.

Same routine: breakfast, children to school (although still sleepwalking; we could not wake up).
On the way back to the hotel we bought to sets of badminton rackets and two Frisbees. Tomorrow (no school) we are going for a picnic in the park at the lake and this way we have something to play with.
Today school is finished at 13.00.
After bringing the children home, Gongka, Thak, Gurash and I will go with a taxi to see the land they’ve bought to build a new house.
In November they renewed the rental for this house for two years, but if the owner sells the house they have to leave. That is why they started the building of the new house.
Today it is a beautiful clear warm day. Both of us are tired, it is too hot suddenly. I slept one hour before collecting the kids from school.

With Gongka in a taxi to their land. It is a bit far out of lake-side, but a big piece of land in a quiet, peaceful area, close to the water. For sure they will need a minivan to take and bring the children to school when they are living there.
Gongka said that they will grow their own rice and vegetables there. Also there is space enough to keep the buffalos and for the children to play.
Back walking through the main street, a mixed fruit juice and then we have to poke ourselves to go to Margriet’s house.

With Pashpathi in a taxi to Margriet’s second house. This is on the other end of Pokhara outside of the centre. In this house there are now 8 children. They don’t want to take more than 10.
Bimal, a boy, was there only for 1 week. Ramesh, the manager, went 5 hours with the bus and then walked 5 hours to the remote village to get him. Some of the villagers did not even speak Nepali!
Of course he was very shy, we were the first foreigners he ever saw, but after we took photo’s of them and Ramesh showed Bimal his picture, we got a big smile of him.
Bimal came to this house, because when he was small his sister hit him on his head with a sickle. This could not heal properly out of lack of the right treatment.
Star Children took care of him, took him to the doctor to release his skull from pus. For sure Bimal will have the best medical treatment now and the chance to grow up and go to school like the others.

On our way back we stopped at a furniture shop and with the help of Pashpathi we got a good price for two small cupboards for the Shining Star Boarding School. We left a deposit and Tuesday – coming back from Bandipur – we will collect the two cupboards and bring them to the school. (75 Euro).

Back at H.E. diner, to Tea Time for our daily pancake desert and coffee. When the electricity came back on to Internet and then back to our room, reading a little and sweet dreams.

Suba Rathri, Gurash and Sanghita.

Posted by Sanghita 06:56 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

Thursday, 21 february 2008

Arranging computercourses for the children.

sunny 23 °C

Thursday, 21 February 2008.
Pokhara.

Sunshine – 23 °C in the sun.
Breakfast at H.E.: pancakes.
We brought away 20 children, let’s see how many we can take back this time.
Again to the lake-side, Fewa restaurant, where our sun chairs were waiting for us. Planning our schedule, reading, sunbathing.
Since last night Gurash and I are having the giggles. On it nice of course, but sometimes also a bit embarrassing. After getting the kids from school Thak, Sudeep, Kamal, Gurash and I were going to organize computer courses and painting lessons.
Just before we saw a small Suzuki 300 where – as it seemed – an endless line of monks was coming out. Straight away we were thinking of the joke “how many….”.
But, Buddha punished us immediately for this joke. How can you get 6 adults in a Suzuki Alto? Thak and the driver in the front. The four of us in the back. Me sitting half on Gurash’ lap, Kamal sitting half on top of Sudeep. Finally we arrived at the computer centre.
Before we had a moment with Sudeep, in which we told him that he honestly had to say it, if this computer enter was not the one he wanted. 17 Years old, very intelligent and exactly knowing what he wants.
Thak was standing at the side, while Sudeep was bombarding the teachers with questions. Knowing how modest he is, we pointed out to him that we thought that the most expensive course was what he needed.

Dear Friends of Nepal, I wished all of you could be there to see this young mans face.

We registered him for ADWPD = Advance Diploma in Web Designing. The course duration is 20 weeks. Charge: 10.000 Rs, but we got discount, so it was 7.500 Rs.
Also Rosila is registered for a course, which Sudeep choose for her: DGD (Diploma in Graphic Designs). Duration: 16 weeks. Charge 8.000 Rs, with discount 6.000 Rs.
Unbelievable this price: for 13.500 Rs (±150 Euro) two certificates.
I paid the total all at one. For this money they will get: all the books needed, a membership card valid for 2 years. With this card they can use as often as they want the computers at the centre, to practise and to use Internet for free for 2 years.
The teacher showed us all the classrooms. (pictures).
Leaving the building we asked Sudeep if he was happy. I got a lump in my throat looking at this smiling face saying: “I never could believe this dream of mine could become true. This is even more than I ever hoped for@.

Back in the taxi, on our way to the painting school for Kamal and Arjun. Again Sudeep was the one checking out all the papers and the details.
Gurash and her parents paid for 3 months the painting lessons for Kamal and Arjun. Later this week we will go with the 2 boys to Mahendra Pool to buy the material for those 3 months. We will also buy a trunk with a lock, where the boys can keep their materials, away from the little ones.

At 18.30 we came back running to H.E. where diner was served: Pizza, pasta, potatoes (alou) and spinach pancakes. With Asta, the cook, we went for a drink to Busy Bee, later one for the road at Old Blues Bar and than it was really time to go home, both of us tired of laughing.
With a grateful feeling that we can help these boys with their future, we slept like angels.

Posted by Sanghita 06:53 Archived in Nepal Tagged volunteer Comments (0)

Wednesday 20 february 2008

It's a beautifull day.

sunny 21 °C

Wednesday, 20 February 2008
Pokhara Penthouse.

Breakfast at H.E. To the home to bring the children to school.
From the school first a walk to the place where all the boats are at lake-side.
Then to a restaurant which said they had a garden at the lake.

Sitting at the lake, a quiet place, in the sun. The Tibetan saleswomen grouped together at the waterside. A calf grazing, a white bird standing next to it. On the background the sound of a flute of the ‘snake’man. Boats on the lake, friends, couples, families, tourists rowing the time away.
Looking up, there is the Stupa of World Peace, sending it’s vibes over all of us.
A traveller writing postcards to the people at home, wonder what he is writing.
The sound of birds, flutes, children playing, people mumbling.
Other tourists settling on the waterside. Reading, playing a game, just sitting, relaxing, watching, listening to the sounds of life, of the water, of the sky.
This is a place to come back to, writing, watching, resting.

It is warming my heart to see how the children of the home are brothers and sisters to each other. Bipama is a little girl, who’s father died just 3 weeks ago. Her mother can’t take care of here at the moment, so she came to C.W.A. She is still quiet, but at times that she is completely ‘lost’ on her own, one of the other children picks her up, hugging and cuddling her.
They all have been at that same point once in their life, entering the home as a stranger, all alone and sad.
Also Gangka, the mother – ‘Auntie’, whenever she passes one of the children always she strokes their hair, a wink, a pinch in their cheeks, a cuddle, letting them feel that they are loved.

One of the boys of the restaurant busy in the garden in front of us, getting fresh vegetables for dishes ordered.

Last night two teachers were also at the party. You could ask yourself, what are they doing there, but they looked like really enjoying it watching the children playing together. One of them told me that all the teachers were very pleased with the C.W.A.-children. They always showed so much enthusiasm in learning, they were very creative, painting, dancing and singing. More then the other children who had a family. This was thanks to the volunteers he said. The parents of the other children did not have so much time to do more with their kids then homework, working and running the household.

And then a busload of German speaking tourists swarmed around us.
Gone is the peace, the calmness, the inspiration. Even the sun is hiding behind a cloud.
What’s left is, finishing our coffee and run away from here.

We will be back, but leave before the tourists will come!
15.30 back at school. 4 Little ones came out. Gursha and I looked at each other like: is that one also one of us?
We did not know, but the little one became spontaneously
nr. 3 in line. Okay, it was too much to count until the end of the line. Who cares, 23 or 22? Nr. 1, 2 and 4 said nothing, so we assumed it would be alright.
Arriving at the corner to the street of the home, a girl started shouting: nr. 3, come here. We are going home.
See, we were right from the start, it was not one of ours.

Sudeep asked if we could make pictures of all the children in school uniform and download them on the computer. So we did. One by one, a picture of the big boys, and Gursha downloaded everything plus the speech of Sudeep and Mongol singing on the house computer.

binod_schooluniform.jpg
In the meantime I (Sanghita) was helping some kids with their homework. Mina is still a disaster. She gives just any answer, without thinking, hoping that I will give the right answer so she can fill it in, finish quickly and go downstairs to play. Bisal was sitting next to here, he is very clever and at one point I saw him filling in the answers in Mina’s book.

We also brought superglue to repair a few presents which were broken or in the backpack or in the excitement when they got them.

Until 18.15 we stayed with them, still all the homework was not finished, but we had to be back on time at H.E. for diner. (18.30 sharp).
Astar cooked for us fried rice, yummy. We were eating in the kitchen, looking at the boys making a birthday cake for one of the trekking guests who came back this evening.
Pashpathi sat with us and we said that Sunday we want to go to Bandipur for one night and at the end, when we have to leave Pokhara (cry cry) we first want to go for 3 days to Chitwan, before going back to Kathmandu. He will arrange this and maybe Friday afternoon he will take us to Margriet’s second home and the Tibetan Monastery.

After diner to the Internet and then for a coffee (no pancake as desert tonight, we were still full of the fried rice) and a wine to Tea Time.
Around 22.00 we were back in our room.

Gursha said her head was hurting a bit, there was a bruise on her head. Sanghita had a bruise and a big lump on her head. Sitting in bed we got the laughs. Gursha said the bruise on her head was probably from the head end of her bed, and since her fontanel never really closed, it was hurting now.
Sanghita’s lump had a more ‘normal’ explanation: she tried to walk out the iron door from the home. All the time Gursha is pointing out to Sanghita : careful: whole in the road; watch out: pipe on the pavement. Mind your head.
But, clever Sanghita knew that when you are going out through the iron gate of the home, you have to make a little step over the threshold. Concentrating on the threshold, holding two little ones by the hand, she forget that you also have to duck for the top of the door. BANG!! Bruise, lump.
We are very proud of ourselves.

And with this we are leaving you for now,
Suba Rathri, Peri betounla,
Sanghita and Gurash from P.P.

Posted by Sanghita 07:19 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

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