Sunday, April 3, 2011

Another Update on Another School

Dear All;

Recently our main man in Nepal, Rajan Simkhada (trektibet.com), sent us a photo update of our first school in Darkha. The work to finish the details, such as concrete, furnishings, and toilets, took a fairly long time but all quite worth it as you will see, it is looking beautiful!!! We are so proud to have completed this school, but of course there will be an on-going amount of work revolving around this building, as maintenance and upkeep go, and little niceties like paintings, maybe a mural on an outer wall, and of course the internal development of curriculum's, workshops, and training programs.

Bree and I are spending the day in a coffee shop. It is hailing here in Boulder, on the verge of snow we think, and so we retreat to the warm indoors and she writes letters while I type away answering e-mails, researching organizations in Nepal, and keeping up on this blog and a little work on our new up and coming website. While looking for something to listen to on youtube I happened across an incredible video. It is by a band called The Walkmen, who I have been listening to and loving for a long while, yet never did I expect them to have a music video like the one I came across. All filmed in Nepal, little children dancing in a Himalyan landscape!! Amazing!! I looked up the person who made the film and found out that its a French Artist who has spent many years living in Nepal, even has opened a sandwich shop and a tattoo shop there! His name is Bruno Levy. I sent him an e-mail thanking him for making such an awesome film, and also asking if we could meet.

Check this out... http://brunolevy.com/videos/0-four-provinces






Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Photo Update

Dear HANDS supporters;

We recently received long-awaited pictures of the school building work going on in Fulkharka, the second village we are building a school in. Currently the work is being conducted without our physical presence. We have sent over 2 installments of money and agreed that a certain amount of work will be done by the time of our arrival on April 17th. It was a sweet surprise to check my e-mail the other night and find this visual update of the work waiting for me.








Sunday, March 6, 2011

Happy Losar!

Tashi Delek Everyone!

It is the week of the Tibetan New Year festival called Losar, on the Tibetan calendar it is now the year 2138, the metal rabbit year. This morning my girlfriend Bree and I put on a fund raiser at a local Boulder restaurant called Aji. We had been planning it out for a while now and we're quite happy with the way it turned out. It is an annual event that happens for the non-profit organization that our friend and soon-to-be colleague Debbie Young started some 30 years ago, the AACC, Americas Association for the Care of Children, working to build schools and implement educational programs in Nicaragua. This year since Debbie is on sabbatical and off traveling the world she left it in our hands to hold the event. She made it sound so easy, as if all we had to do was take the wheel and drive for a bit. But we found that with Debbie gone so also went many connections with people who may have come to the event. We e-mailed, we telephoned, we even did a bit of canvassing, but all in all people weren't at all eager to spend $30 on a ticket for a morning of listening to talks about Nepal and Nicaragua and the severity of life there. But alas we were able to eventually gather up a nice bundle of people who were really generous and supportive to us. We had a very successful morning and everything went fairly smooth.

Jan has also been on the fund-raising work recently and was the speaker at an AAUW women's group meeting at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, CA last week. She sent me pictures and called before and after to keep me posted on the details. It was a success on all accounts and she says also a very emotional experience, speaking about the importance of women's education to this room full of dedicated, hard-working and concerned women. Many tears were shed from full hearts and many connections made with amazing groups of people.

Now we count the days until mine and Bree's departure on April 16th. We have received news from our Nepali friend Bhupendra whose village we are being sponsored to build our second school in and he informs us that the land on which the school will be built has now been flattened and is ready for construction to begin. Good news, very exciting, its going to be a good year.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Starting our Second School

Dear All;

We have recently been coordinating the start of a new school in the village of Fulkharka, just a ways up the mountain from Darkha. This is a project that we were recruited for. A family in Minnesota contacted us about fulfilling a promise they had made to a Nepali trekking guide they had met 7 years prior. He had explained the desperate situation for schools and education in Nepal and the family agreed it was worth following up on. The Nepali man had heard about us working in Darkha and had even seen the work progressing, being only a 4-hour hike from his own village, the news spread quickly. He recommended to this family in Minnesota that they contact us about coordinating the work for them. We were contacted and began a dialogue with the Minnesotan family about how the work would go and the time-line and budget. We then contacted the Nepali man and had our own Nepali representative go to meet with him and see if we were on common ground. Direct contact was established and reliability was confirmed so we decided to proceed. Now we have a monthly payment plan set up and an outline of the work to come. It will follow a similar model as the school in Darkha, with some added difficulties mainly in the transportation of materials since it is much further away than Darkha. This area of Nepal, as in any rural, remote areas in Nepal is at high-risk for child-trafficking scandals. We feel strongly that by providing more facilities like school's that are designed with proper latrines so girls can always attend we are making a huge impact. The less reasons families have to send their children off to the city with seemingly well-intentioned men, the better chance the children have to grow and flourish in their own communities.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Little Princes

Dear Readers!

Recently a book has been released onto the market entitled "Little Princes." When we found out the subject of this book is an orphanage in Nepal called Little Princes Children's Home and one man's experience with said orphanage we of course bought up as many copies as our wallets could manage. Jan has devoured her book and already contacted the people involved with the NGO that the author of the book has started, and Danny (myself) has broken into the book with ferocity and is almost too shocked to continue reading now at the half-way point. The author is kind of living a parallel existence to my own, only a few years ahead of myself. He describes in wonderful written language the exact feelings that I had working in Buddhist Child Home the first time.

For myself, this book cleared up a lot of issues I had been wondering about for a long time. Besides the overall impressive knowledge on the finer points of inner-city life in Nepal, like which castes live in which parts of the city and other information about festivals, cultural gestures, and language, Connor Grennan (the author) explains his personal experience with child-trafficking in Nepal. He discovers very interesting things about why so many children are on their own or in orphanages in Nepal. I will leave the details to be found in the book, I absolutely recommend reading it! It has been fascinating to hear about the Maoists, the corruption and the opposing sweet nature of Nepali people and all the wild craziness that a place like Nepal brings. We are in contact with the organization created by Connor Grennan called Next Generation Nepal, (http://www.nextgenerationnepal.org/index.php) and very much hope to be able to visit them during this next trip to Nepal. We feel deeply that our causes are connected and linked and that promoting education in the remote areas of Nepal (where most children are trafficked from) will increase their motivation to stay and not follow after false opportunities which could lead to sticky situations.

That is all for now, more news on the inner-workings of our org to come. A new website is on the way! Along with a possible online auction store.

Thanks for reading