Kathmandu update

16 Oct 2010

Hello again,
The leprosorium visit was interesting…………..all the workers are on leave as this is the biggest Hindu festival of the year called Dashain.  We got to see their work, however, which is truly remarkable in its precision and beauty…..they weave fabrics, make Christmas decorations in the form of tiny angels and hearts and stars, they make beautiful papers and cards and thanks to a recent Japanese teacher, also create felt flowers and animals and balls.  It is a well oiled machine thanks to the organisation of Marianne the German founder who lives in Germany but supervise all the manufacturing.  We did a brief tour of the hospital which is light airy and clean……..something you don’t see much of here!  We are returning to the leprosorium on Thursday to see the workers in action and to place orders for the St Paul’s Fair which Peter will bring back with him.
Today we enjoyed lunch in the home of Raja and Sabnam (his beautiful wife). He works for Isis here and is involved with Snowlands in an indirect way.  Huge, delicious meal served to 30 people in their small apartment……..Sabnam’s friend was there too……… the most beautiful woman in a lilac/pink sari……….she was Miss University here in 2007. She is trying desperately to get into university in Australia but the funding is an issue and how to support herself in that time.
This afternoon we went to the home of Subraj (Peter’s protege)……….this involved climbing three flights of stairs in a dark and dank building to emerge in the tiniest room you’ve ever seen.  There we met the fmaily…Mum and Subraj and his brother and two sisters. The ceremony which took place was the blessing of the younger sister Nisha who was celebrating the coming of womanhood by her first menstruation.  The humble surroundings were adorned with flowers and the women in beautiful saris……….Nisha in the festive red with bangles and jewels looking absolutely stunning.  We all then performed the ritual  of first throwing rice over her head, then flowers, then applying the red tika to her forehead and finally giving her a little curd to eat.  This was a rare opportunity to participate in a private Hindu celebration and we were truly blessed to be included.  Then more food!! And its rude to refuse especially when they are so poor.  I get the feeling that there is much love in this place and although heart breakingly small and primitive, still exuding a sense of family and home that I don’t see in many of the ‘grand’ homes I decorate in Perth.
Feeling both joy and sadness here when I look at the kids at Snowlands and wonder about their future in the ‘real’ world when they get too old to stay.  Not sure they are equipped to deal with life on the outside.  But for now, they are full of love and affection for us, surprisingly undemanding of anything other than our company………….it is going to be hard to bid them farewell.
We are off to Nagakot tomorrow to hopefully see Everest in the distance although the clouds need to lift for that to occur………..speaking with the kids we discovered that none of the group of girls had actually seen the mountain and they have lived here all their lives…………..perhaps that’s another outing we could organise for them as a treat sometime if we can get the necessary authority.
Struggling with my emotions and wondering whether anything we offer could possibly make a real difference to the lives of these children known as ‘paper orphans’…………for most of them their parents live in such remote places that they never get to see them and their only hope of education and quality of life is to be sent miles away to school/orphanage in Kathmandu…………..so the papers say that their parents are dead…………
How do their mothers feel about that process I wonder?  It makes me sad but I am learning about what is and isn’t possible in this place.
The Nepalese are charming, head wobbling (their gesture for ‘yes’) smiling people in the main and they melt your heart…………
x Kim

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