Monday, April 23, 2012

Summer of '69!

Hello everyone and a very Happy Nepali New Year to you all!  The turn of the year 2069 means that we are now officially in the Summer of ’69.  Anyone who has been here will know that this is Nepal’s unofficial national anthem and can only imagine how delighted the population are now that they have a real excuse to blast it out at every opportunity. Now, wherever we go we hear Bryan Adams’ famous hit blaring out of radios, cover bands or mobile phones.  Fun...?

Enjoying some hard earned candy floss at the fair
Anyways...back to us!  We celebrated New Year’s by heading off to the festival in the park.  We took all of the kids from theStreet Kids’ Centre along and enjoyed all the fun of the fair.  The bravest amongst us risked the swinging pirate ship, we all took our chances on a ride that was much faster and scarier than it looked from the ground, and the little ones practiced their motorcycle riding and plane piloting skills on a merry-go-round.  After that, it was lunch time.  Dal bhat all round.  And all over the floor and the table and the children...they got a bit excited and kept jumping up to point out things to each other sending their banana leaf plates flying all over the place!  We stopped at the main stage to watch some traditional dancing and then very nearly ended up in a tent of scantily clad ladies doing some not-so-traditional dancing.  Luckily, we realised that this wasn’t the magic show that we had been looking for and got out before the children saw anything too inappropriate.  Quite why the staff at the ticket booth didn’t think to tell us that the dance show may not be exactly what a group of volunteers and staff with 8 children were looking for, I don’t know!  Anyway, we finally found the magic show which was great fun.  People disappeared, flew and were cut in half.  We thought about a helicopter ride, but decided that may stretch the budget a little and so walked home instead.  Good times all around!

It’s also the start of the school year for us here.  The great news is that all of the kids we work with at the Asha Foundation, SOS Bahini and the Street Kids’ Centre passed their exams.  Our SOS Bahini girls all had improvements on their English results.  Asmita at the Street Kids’ did fantastically well and won a scholarship to a private school.  Shreeram, also at the Street Kids’, did well in his exams but really excelled in his conduct and behaviour in class and has been made class monitor.  They both begin their new roles with the opening of school this week.

Distracting kids with balloons, always a winner!
Ward 6 Children’s Centre has had a fresh batch of children starting.  It’s been quite chaotic.  Lots of crying and squabbling, not so much of the cooperation these days.  No one seems to want to sit and sing songs, read books or learn their alphabet just yet.  So, we have been distracting them with fun games and balloons, anything to make them associate the centre with fun rather than punishment!  The aim is that in a week or so the children will be happy and comfortable enough for us to get back to some sense of order and re-start more productive, structured sessions!

We have just finished distributing this quarter’s PoD Charity donations across our projects, too.  We have paid for the construction and fitting of windows in the living room and a front door for the Asha Foundation, the building of a shelter for the Street Kids’ Centre and sports equipment for Shree Krishna Lower Secondary School.  More details and photos will follow next time once all construction work has been finalised.  These donations, as with most of our past donations, have focussed on upgrading the physical environment for the centres.  For our next round of donations we really want to focus on giving the children a bit more fun and excitement in their lives.  To do this, we are looking at running day trips and experiences for the children.  If you can donate some pennies towards this, please visit our donations page.  If you can contribute some ideas for fun, child friendly days out in and around Pokhara, let me know! 

And finally...I want to invite you to a party.  Yes, that’s right. A party.  It's not in Nepal (although if you do come here I will put on another party for you!).  PoD turns 10 this year – hurrah! – and to celebrate the lovely ladies in the UK have planned a very special, fun, fundraising event.  We are all going to meet in the Peak District on June 30th for a sponsored walk (or run for those of you so inclined).  There is a 4km and a 10km route, after which will be an evening BBQ and party, after which will be camping, breakfast and then home.  It’s free to attend, you just need to raise £25 for PoD Charity.  You will be able to choose which project you raise money for and will have a lot of fun in the process.  If you are interested, email Gemma in the UK to let her know.  Keshav and I will be there and want to see as many PoD Nepal faces there as possible.  Yes, that’s right, we are coming all the way from Nepal to be there, so you lot had better make an effort too!

For more information on our work in Nepal and how to join our team, look at our website or contact Becky in the UK on 01242 250 901.  If you would like to help, but don't have the time to come in person right now, you can always make a donation to the PoD Charity and help fund our work here.

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