So many things have been progressing here in Nepal with the Orphan Fund. I keep receiving more and more donations, which leads me to believe that we are on to something. Something good and wholesome, and important. The confidence my family, friends, and donors are giving me on a daily basis has only furthered my decision to continue my work here in Nepal.I attended a "4th of July" event at the American Embassy over the weekend to do a little networking and see where I can take this fund.
After speaking extensively with a diplomat, I have decided to begin the long and tedious process of registering our fund as a legit NGO. The first step is to write a business plan, then register as a 501(c)(3), and finally to apply for grants. This will take the entire month, but I have the time and the skills to make it happen. These are all reasons why I extended my trip one additional month.
At the Orphan Home:
We have been busy finishing up projects at Annapurna Self-Sustaining Orphan Home. Jesse wanted to complete the arduous and tedious work before leaving Nepal. Time was running out, so we recruited our two French friends and one Russian lady to help with the remaining construction. Our vision was to construct a bamboo shed over the washing machine.
Jesse started the project with the Austrian-born CERN physicist and the two Jewish boys from Boulder who we had recruited in the beginning of June. However the idea got scrapped after they left for a pre-planned trip to Thailand. Jesse lost motivation, because really -- I wasn't too sure how she expected me to actually help.
Me with a hammer is like Jesse with a baby -- completely and utterly out of our elements. We both like to look at these things from afar, but when we have to hold one... well lets just say things go terribly astray. I figured it was in my best interest (and hers) to recruit more tourists to assist. That is how the two Frenchmen and one Russian woman came into our lives. I doubt she wanted my help anyway -- I just kinda pushed the nails around and took pictures of her looking pissed.
Meanwhile, I went shopping!! Ah now here is something I'm actually good at. We had received donations to purchase clothing for the children. Friends back home had tried to ship boxes only to find it cost $500. Really I'm not sure how China does it.
So instead, we used some of the donations to buy clothing. Trousers, underwear, bras, and shoes were bought last week. While this week, I finished up the purchase of material to make bed sheets and dresses for the girls.
We grab our four bags of material and hop onto her scooter to head home.
I have a bag in each hand while Sarada weaves in and out of traffic, around cows who sleep in the middle of the busy road, and past people who cross the street while only looking one direction. Horns are blaring, the wind is rushing through my hair, the lush Himalayan foothills adorn the horizon, and I'm thinking to myself... Gosh, I love my job.
Back at the home, I excitedly dish out the new presents for the kids. I pull all the girls to one side, because I have something special for them. New headbands and bows for their hair. Girly items that these ladies don't have. Items that Western girls take for granted are so very important for these little ones. It's like Christmas Day. Everyone is happy and they all look so beautiful. I love them dearly.
Oh construction in a 3rd world country, how we love you so! You see, construction in Nepal is one of the most difficult tasks in perhaps the world.
Even the simplest job of hammering a nail into a piece of wood takes an hour. The wood in Nepal is like concrete and nails are like plastic! Saws are rusty and falling apart -- just take a look at our tools. Plus combining that with 95 degree heat and hand mixing all of our cement makes for an impossible and grumpy day.
Truthfully, we didn't even know what the hell we were doing. In Western terminology, we definitely "winged it." I saw it done on TV once, but really --
how hard could it be; I thought. Its a shed for Pete's Sake. Four posts cemented into the ground, and a tin roof. Viola!
Again, it was back to playing with the baby and drinking my chai while I let Jesse take the reins.
Many trips to the local hardware store consisted of speaking in Nepali - English Ebonics. Lots of hand motions and pointing as the the language barrier made communication egregious. The wood we were using to construct the shed completely broke not one but three drill bits in half! So it was back to the hardware store for God knows how many times.
What should have taken two people an afternoon to complete in a Western country took five people three days to finish here in Nepal! Talk about frustration. But needless-to-say, we built that damn shed and feel all the better for doing so.
Our work even inspired the teenage boys at the orphan home to fix a few more repairs around the property.
Future Projects: Jesse has now left Nepal. I was sad to see her go, but I know I can get a lot done by staying. So this Friday, we are off to a village in the Everest Region to help an at-risk village. I don't really know what to expect, accept that they don't even have a school for the children. Please keep checking back for updates!