Monday, January 20, 2014

Trips to the park, Charity donations and Sweet Potatoes

Once again, the schools were shut for holidays last week so we spent most of our time keeping the children from the Street Kids Center entertained. If we don't go there, they literally have nothing to do, no space to play in, and nothing to play with, so it is in the holidays more than ever, that we need volunteers to keep the children going.We spent a few days in the center, doing arts and crafts, reading stories and just generally chatting and a few other days we took them out to the local parks to blow off some steam. It's great to get them out of the center and playing badminton, football or volleyball, watching the paragliders and just generally enjoying  the lake.
Last week we celebrated a small festival that I have to admit that I do not know anything about, except for the fact that on the day you have to eat sweet potato! (I apoligise, there are hundreds of festivals here so many of them I am still learning about!) One of our newest volunteers, Marion, also had a fantastic week when some local friends of hers took her to a festival where she ended up dancing on stage in front of approximately 5,000 people! I'm still waiting to get my hands on the photos, but she's definitely got some great stories to tell when she gets back to the UK.

We had some exciting news the other day, that the PoDCharity in Nepal has been given a rather large grant to help with out placements, which is absolutely fantastic news! So I have been busy, with Phil, visiting all the placements and discussing what their current needs and wants are to see how we can help out. I have sent our 'wishlist' back to the UK who are currently working through it to see what we can do best with the money. It also means that the monthly donations that we currently give can be continued at east for the next two years which is absolutely fantastic. Living in Nepal and working with these placements over the past two years, I can see how much of a positive impact this money has on the placements, and would like to thank everyone that has donated. We went to Annapurna School on Monday to give them their next three months donation of lunch money, which is vital for the kids, as the majority of them do not get given any breakfast or any pack lunch so their first meal of the day would be dinner at around 7pm.

Schools are now back, and we're getting back into a routine now. I'm looking forward to the next few months and hopefully welcoming many more volunteers to Pokhara.

If you would like to join us here in Nepal, please contact Gemma on

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year...

Me and Buttons on Christmas

We're now in the middle of winter in Nepal so it is getting pretty chilly here! You even need your coats on when your inside. Winter also means that we have seen a decrease in the amount of electricity and we are now power cuts of up to 14 hours a day which is always good fun. All past volunteers will tell you one of the most vital things you need to pack when coming to Nepal is a torch! I had a few weeks with no volunteers so it's great to have Orla with us here for the next two weeks (and the school and Street Kids are even happier than I am!), and a few new volunteers join us early in January which is brilliant. 

BJ and the dye

This week Orla has been busy working at Annapurna Primary School during the day and the Street Kids in the afternoons, and because on her induction day she found it so hard to choose between her placements, she's also been spending an hour in the afternoons (on her walk home) at Ward 6 day care center. We had a great afternoon at the Street Kids the other day, as we brought a Batik teacher to the Center who taught them all how to make batik paintings. Most of the kids opted to make Buddha's eye's which looked beautiful with all the different colours. Here's a few photos of the process, we're still waiting for the finished ones as they've been taken off to be ironed. We always love doing new things like this with the kids and it's great to see them get into it and learn a new skill.

Out in the sun to dry
We've also celebrated Christmas this week. Although a very small amount of the population is Christian, in Nepal they will celebrate everything!! The streets have been lined with flags, lights and Christmas trees and all the bars are blaring out Christmas tunes (we had a bit of a dance to 'Last Christmas' in Busy Bee the other night!). Orla spent Christmas day with Bindu and her family at the church service - a totally different Christmas than she has had before but it's sounds like they all had an excellent day dressed in their Sari's. And I spend the day with my partner, his family and some friends, kayaking, having a massage and enjoying a roast dinner at Moondance restaurant, I even managed to have Turkey for the first time ever in Nepal!

Happy New Year from Annapuran Primary School
After Christmas was over the whole town got  ready for the New Years Festival. The children will be at school throughout this as they do not have winter holidays which means we are still busy working in the schools, but the whole town turns into a week long street festival. We enjoyed the main night at the festival with Janice from the guest house and a few other local friends - a good night was had by all!

I'm looking forward to 2014, hopefully welcoming lots of new volunteers to Pokhara! If you would like to join us in Nepal, then please contact Gemma on Happy New Year Everyone!!