Nepal and the Himalayas have always exerted a strong attraction on me. I only stayed in Nepal for a little more than two weeks and still it seemed like an eternity full of transformation, overwhelming emotional experiences and richness of heart connections.
We went to one of the self-sustained orphanage homes a little outside of Kathmandu already nearly in country side. We were all welcomed like queens; the children had painted pictures for all of us and had prepared songs and dances. Step by step they performed the entire program mixed with playing games and having fun using our digital cameras. To see all these children left without parents, coming from mostly disadvantaged families, sharing only two rooms among each other and having barely nothing -according to Western standards- and still being so cheerful, playful, funny, alive and at the same time peaceful and balanced was so deeply heart touching that really no words can describe what I felt during this visit.
I will never forget these few hours. I still get tears in my eyes when trying to describe this experience. The children are looked after by an incredible sweet and devoted couple who have basically taken over the role of parents for these 20 children ranging from an age of 8 months to 11 years. In my opinion two real heroes which deserves our deepest appreciation and respect. It was also touching to see how the older children looked after the younger ones. For example, the older sisters and brothers in turn took care of feeding the 8 month old baby, playing with her and bringing her to bed. All that was naturally integrated in the stream of this little community life, this amazing community this ‘family’ has created over the years of being together.
I was also very impressed to finally get a grasp of what the concept of ‘a self-sustained home’ really means: the food for the little community is mainly provided by the little cottage garden in front of the home, the mushroom farm close by and the Buffalo living right next to the boys sleeping room. The children were very excited about the fact that the cow had just given birth to an calf. After a delicious lunch in the home’s kitchen all children showed us full of enthusiasm their school which is conveniently located just next to the orphanage home. I left the children with my heart full of love and the determination to sponsor the education of two of the older boys, one of them being extremely bright and always best of the class, the other probably quite clever as well and both just extremely cute. Both are not sponsored yet and are therefore not able to finance their education. The English of both was impressive and this was partly due to the fact that volunteers had stayed for some time in the orphanage teaching the kids some English. I had not realized before how relatively little financial support is really needed for us Western people to actually do a big difference for one of these children life.
Back in Kathmandu we went on the same day to another, a little bit smaller orphans home in Kathmandu town. We spend the evening playing cards with the kids.. and again being around these lovely beings just went directly into my heart. With the help of some foreign aid Narbine, the ‘father’ of the 10 kids, had managed to coordinate and organize the building of a new house next to the temporary accommodation. When we arrived he was just watering the roof and the kids showed us proudly around their future new home and played with us for a while on the roof terrace or their new home. Back at the Hotel I fell into bed with a heart which was bursting. I have not been touched so deeply for a long while.
I have the feeling that this has not been my last trip to Nepal and if I can arrange the time somehow I would really want to volunteer some weeks or ideally some months as a teacher.
Tania writes about her experiences during her stay in Nepal and visiting some of the Hands with Hands projects in 2007