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.