Sunday, December 4, 2016

Just a little trip in December

It was time for RED and I to catch up on some school fees pending as well as a little up keep of the kids. Did a little shoe shopping as well as a stock up of the basic food necessities. It was great to catch up with the kids again and as usual, they were all very enthusiastic in meeting and chatting with me, telling me all about everything that has happened since my last visit.

While travelling around, I mentioned to my driver of 11yrs, that i feel to need to find some other places that might need some help. I was lucky that morning to meet a young lady who had heard about me and my little RED expeditions (i guess word gets around) she pointed me in the direction of an all girl orphanage and sort of development centre for abandon girls or girls who's parents are in jail or missing. 
its a very nice place and well maintained, a step about the other places i usually assist because this particular place has a German association helping them with their accommodation and school supplies, they have a small but useful computer training room (with little to no internet access) as well as basic art classes and martial arts.. but the fact remains.. in order to have a proper education the girls need a person to help. There are only 50 girls in this orphanage because they cannot accept anyone else due to lack of funding... it was a very interesting find and a bit different than what i'm used to dealing with.

Our Journey starts out as it has for the past neatly 10yrs..  scrambling to select the things you know they might most need during this time of year, trying to make sure we are watching the weight restrictions and making sure things are packed in such a way that we don't encounter heavy scrutiny by the customs and other officials upon entry into Nepal.. its a bit of a stress but its also allot of fun .. lol .. right up my alley one might say ;-)

RED patiently waits as i run around exchanging currencies, look for our boarding gate, while making new traveling friends

Upon reaching the kids after the relatively easy flight and lengthy drive.. The smiles and the general welcome i always receive is heart warming.. they always have a tea made and a hand crafted flower necklace or other form of traditional respectful welcome gestures.. I always feel as welcome here as i would in my own home.

I could not stay very long this trip, as I was only in town for less than 24hrs and had to make every minute count.. the kids understood this and helped me execute my less than perfect plans.. lol

I always ask the kids what they need that i'm not already aware of and unanimosly they said they needed shoes. Well ok then, shoes it is. Since I have been doing this for a while now, I have learned to bring some backup cash, because this kind of thing is always sure to spring up ;-)

There are no malls, or big western style shopping centres, just small family run operations that get most of their supplies from bordering china. I'm always surprised on how well stocked some of these less assuming places actually are.

About an hour later and lots of negotiations, we have 3 full bags and shoes for over 50 kids..  PERFECT 

Of course I always top up their basic food supplies between regular visits and today is no different. its never tedious work, its always fun and done with plenty of smiles and good laughs.

we managed 200kg of Rice, 100kg of sugar, 100kg of dried stores, onions, tomatoes and other vegetables as well as some confectionary items for the girls.. packed in a little truck and ready to go ;-)

Then it was time to hit the school to catch up on the school fees for the kids.. I took care of most of the other kids earlier in the year, but this time it was for 9 of the older kids High school fees. 

Of course I never travel alone during these events, every one likes to come along and enjoy the fun. today it was boys day out it seems .. lol

The school principal and school accountant were more than happy to come out of a Saturday to receive final school payment.
9 great kids, full school term with books and all exams included, summed up to about 400 USD per person (in local cash of course).. not bad compared to other parts of the world, and here they have a great english speaking curriculum. 

 After finishing with the kids I have known for years, we said our goodbyes until next visit, and i moved on to explore and experience the next part of my journey

An all girls Orphanage and sort of development centre, I say it like that because not all the girls are orphan or parentless, some girls their parents are in military prisons and some parents are so poor that they just give their kids to places like this and hope for a better life for them. (can't imagine that)

The girls are all extremely well mannered and disciplined, but at the same time they all seem very happy. In the photo you see one of the girls bedrooms and how they are kept neat and clean in military barack precision .. lol

Nearly half of these 50 girls do not have any sponsorship for a proper education, they have food and a roof over their heads as well as some in house educational activities, but nothing for further education. I did some digging and investigating for scams and things as well.. they come up pretty clean and straight forward.
for 350 Euros (375 USD) I can select a girl to sponsor and send to school, I took it upon myself to speak to some of the educators and they assured me, with that i would receive full statements and reports of her progress, as well as open lines of communication. Not to mention my periodic visits to assure funds go where they are supposed to go as i usually do.

People are always asking me, how can i help ? well, thats always hard for me to answer because i just spontaneously do so many things on a whim and on my own that I cannot narrow down what will help and what will not, and i am always against asking for money.
When I found these girls it came to me quite simple.. 350 Euros (375 USD) one of these girls can go to school for a year. there are 3 girls in the back of this picture that have sponsors from Germany and they are already in university training for a Bachelors in teaching .. they have been in this home for nearly a decade... very nice ;-)

Back on the jet and heading home... it was a whirl wind 24hrs and a whole lot of fun.. As the sun sets I once again leave Kathmandu and I gaze over the Himalayas, I sit and reflect on what i did and what i'm going to do on my next trip in.. time will tell and as usual the universe will look after me.

Thank you for being part of my incredible journeys 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

I quick and effective trip

My normal professional schedule can sometimes be fairly busy and leaves me little time to do those things i would like to be doing. I guess just abut anyone who reads this blog can say the same.

So on this occasion i used the opportunity of having 2 days OFF to quickly take a flight over to Nepal and catch up on some things, it was unfortunate that i also had to deal with some corruption from individuals i extended a helping hand, but this is a 3rd world environment and its precisely why i travel here to do what i do personally. in this way i know for certain where every cent of money goes exactly where it should.

as usual the kids were happy to see me as i was just as happy to see them, I managed to take care of many stationary issue for their school as well as paying for all their text books. In the next few weeks i'll have to make another trip out to Nepal to take care of the high school kids funding for their schools well.

RED and a few his friends are getting ready to head out the door for yet another expedition to help, fully loaded with all kinds of things for the kids.

Like RED has done a million times before.. he leaves behind his friends to be checked in while RED meanders thru the airport as a privileged carry-on bag 

Kathmandu, like many other capital cities, is a very crowded and over populated city, bursting with activity as well as poverty. Many people from surrounding villages come from afar thinking they can find a better life in the city, only to realize life is just as hard or sometimes harder than what one would experience in the country

Due to some corruption issue i suddenly found out that one of the orphanages I used to frequent no longer existed and many of the children were displaces all around the city, making it nearly impossible to find them all. But i did find some. After a lengthy investigation i found some of the kids slightly outside of the city limits in a building (back ground distant right) that was not completely constructed and even lacked some exterior walls. I was so appalled by what was happening to these kids and so involved with sharing my thoughts and emotion to the people responsible (those of you close to me can only imagine how that may have sounded echoing down the Kathmandu Valley), I did not take any pictures of the place they now reside. Probably better not to see it and keep the levels of frustration to a minimum for now ;-)  

In a nearby village I found the school 25 of the former 48 children could be found. The school itself took it upon themselves to assure the children were properly enrolled just days before my arrival in hopes a sponsor team (like RED) would arrive to help fund the children on going education. I had a look around and was happy with what i had seen based on local standards and RED managed to take care of all the years stationary and books that the children needed.

The school is basically a newly built house (after the earth quake) that was modified into a school for over 200 children it was clean and well built 

During my visit I watched as the children worked thru their daily curriculum . Its not often a foreign man comes into their rural school.  I did pose quite a distraction, but a pleasant one and all the children were very enthusiastic about my visit.

We met with the school accountant and Principal (not in the shot).. we worked out a proper price to assure the kids get the right education this year ;-)

During one of the school breaks i managed to round up the kids RED directly funded. We are happy we could help make positive strides forward for these kids, but in the back of my mind my heart still goes out to the other displaced children who we did not yet locate.

After the earth quake and the huge loss of life associated due to poor construction techniques and little or no regulation inspections. I was a bit concerned about the new building the kids were in. I did some investigating, and now i know what to look for. Any building that is used for commercial purpose must now have this large green emblem on the built, showing that there building had been inspected and met with the standard set forth by the government agency responsible , so the kids are in a relativize safe building. to some of you it might seem like a to little to late story.. but during my visit i felt 2 small earth tremors of no more than 5.0 on the richter scale. the earth is still moving around.

There had been many ancient temple and monuments that have been destroyed due to natural disasters in the region. Although i'm not personally religious, the fact remains that it is very nice to see some of these temple and historic religious sights still in tact.

In Nepal as in many countries, the hindu religion abounds, its easy to notice based on the cow factor, yes, the cow factor.. funny but true. Cows are considered a sacred animal and is not to harmed. For that reason the cow is everywhere, walking the middle of the city, hanging around temples checking out foreign men .. LOL

The first orphanage I started to help back in 2006. It has come a long way from shanty city rooms to this rural home out side the valley. Although it suffered greatly during the earth quake, thanx to a lot of help, its back to its former state.. with some great improvements.

The kids are no longer living in tents and all the construction crews have long gone, they have some solar panels for light as well as warm water, they also have a garden to help grow their own vegetables .. a Job well done ;-)

Not all the kids could be here for my short unannounced visit but some of them came from the school a few kms from here to greet me with a traditional greeting.. great kids here ;-)

Due to the fact that it is rainy season, the car could not make it to the orphanage due to washed out roads. so we had to walk a few kms to get RED where he needed to be

While at home, I had someone drop off a large bag of pencils, pens and other colorful pencils. Ramesh the guy i have know for ever was happy to see the needed school stationary.

After leaving the orphanage home we ventured down the the next village and the high school some of the kids attend, We managed to negotiate a deal with the schools again and during my next visit in July, RED will take care of all the school fees for these high school kids 

it was a fast trip in and out and ALLOT to do in terms of locating kids and negotiating deals on education in 3 different schools.. but .. success prevails once again .. lol .. RED will be back very soon for more.

Monday, September 7, 2015

another RED follow up trip

Well, its well after the earth quake and the dust has settled. most of the relief effort has left and not the long term NGOs and things are left to deal with the long term effects.
the kids are no different in the respect. ou can't avoid the long term effects when it comes to a natural disaster.
one example being, one orphanage who was doing OK in general terms, and RED was only providing food as well as schooling for the kids. The other local people who helped with donations towards their rent and things like that, have stopped helping !! mostly because they now have their own tragic stories to deal with and some of them did not survive the devastation. This left the kids home 3 months behind in rent as well as not further donations for their rent in the future. RED took care of the back rent as well as a little in advance, but we all know thats only a temporary fix. But this is an small example of the long term repercussions these people face.

it was great to see the kids before heading off to the school that RED assured they could attend this year. We brought some of the excellent stationary items that were kindly given to us by many people as well as the Park House School.

The Kids getting some great colorful school stationary before heading off to school in the morning, a fun surprise.

Like i mentioned in the opening of this segment of REDs adventure. The issue for this particular orphanage was not food, school or cloths.. it was the RENT. They were on the verge of eviction and messaged me in a desperate attempt to find a solution, and we found that solution for them. I immediately travelled to Kathmandu and had a meeting with the landlord of the house. on a side not, i'm always a but shocked on how money can make people heart so cold and so blind to the devastation their actions would cause so many people. In the end.. negotiations aside and we came to an agreement. All the back rent was paid and we look forward to finding a solution to paying the rent for these kids in the future months.

A smile of relief for the lady of the house who looks after the home where all 48 children live.. back rent paid.. no eviction.. the kids still have a place to call home.... for now ;-)

good job RED

the girls room where 14 girls sleep !! . thats right.. some are small enough to sleep width wise not length wise on the bed.... you would not believe it if i did not see it for myself, but many orphanages are the same.

The boys room with just as many boys in here as in the girls room, its quite a sight and sound when all these kids return from school.
I can't help but notice how clean and organized they make there rooms and beds before departing for school.

All the kids walk the short few kms to school every morning. 

it was then time for REDs team to head over to see how the other kids are doing.. there was a big rebuild going on and we wanted to see the progress of our efforts and funding. We were happy to see all the kids in the schools we provided as well as all the construction on thier newly rebuilt home..

after the quake the schools looked like this.. and some even worse. Thru allot of hard work and dedication, many teams from the local area and around the globe pulled together to make things better.

2 of the boys standing up are 2 of the kids RED helped to assure their place in school this year.. great to see them. They are exceptional students we are told..... Nice ;-)

The school teaches over 500 children from the local community. The kids don't take an education for granted and realize how important it is to them and their future... all really good kids.

Watching the kids learn and go thru the routines of their day to day schooling was great fun and everyone is always so very happy to see us and show us how well they are doing .. lol.. so much fun.

RED has made a huge difference in some of the children lives.Its always so great to see the fruits of your labour and i'm one of the luckiest guys in the world who get to witness this first hand every time i visit these great kids.

while visiting the school, we stopping in to finalize the deal that was made for the kids lunches and food while in class. Nutrition is an important thing for me and i know kinds need some decent food. .. we managed to strike good deal with the mom and pop organization that runs the school canteen. kids food has been settled . the back pay of 3 months as well as 3 months in advance.. until our next visit.

The small family that run the school canteen, nice caring people. offered me more during my visit that more wealthy people ever have... good hearted folks.
going to the local markets to get the veg the kids need is always a fun experience .. dealing with local farmers and suppliers is always good fun.

this young lady works all day sorting out potatotos into family sized portions that locals can afford.

on our way up to one of the orphanages and loaded with food supplies.. out little german tank got stuck (first time in 8yrs). due to the local heavy rains it make the roads a but traitorous .. lol

we all resorted to carrying the rest of the good up to the orphanage

I have never had such a cute and wiling helper.. she was just so much fun and so glad to help.
if you go back a few months in this BLOG, you will see this sign in the broken rumble of a demolished home.. now it proudly stands once again. Thanx to everyones help, the kids have a new home that is safer than the last.

a little bit of stuff for the kids and a nice looks around the newly built building for the kids... perfect.

this is the temporary place the kids sleep while still under construction, but they are all over joyed they are no longer sleeping in the tents outside.

Red made a new friend this trip.. so sweet.