Saturday, April 30, 2011

Helping Nepal from the foreign land

When I had just come to USA, in 2008, we had been to a party, party hosted by some Nepalese friends. There my husband was constantly talking to a skinny gentleman, I did not know. On the way back home, I asked to my husband about that gentleman and he said – “his name is Hemu Adhikari, he has been serving the school he went to, in Chitwan”. “How is that?” I asked. “He has collected the books from various sources here, he is going to ship them to the school and distribute those to the children”. I was so happy to hear a man being so thoughtful and generous about a school in Nepal, but I was wondering how expensive would the shipping charge be, and how would the kids in rural Nepal like the English books. I thought it would have been better if he had collected the money instead of books, and buy books in Nepal.

Later, Mr. Adhikari became our family friend, and I now call him “Hemu Dai”. He spent more than $2000, in shipping the books and visited Nepal to distribute the books. When he came back, he had so many stories to share with us. Stories that made my eyes moist, every time he told. He figured out that sending books that way would be more expensive and less useful. He figured out that, the children who do not even have proper uniforms to wear, proper school supplies to use, and even a meal a day to eat, care less about those colorful books. Then he registered an organization called Books4Nepal, and started working not only for the school he went to but for the more rural schools. It was like a story for us when he said that he just stayed at his house for some days, did not go to any of his relatives, and stayed at the Chepang villages for weeks. He had so touching photos to share, photos of the people, who had to depend on corns for six months, and had no option to eat for the other six months. Photos of one of the students in the school, who did not come in front of the new people, because he had nothing to wear but a tattered pair of half-pants, and that was how he used to come to school every day. Those people, those moments inspire him more and later he started school supplies and meal program in the schools. The children now have a proper school uniform to wear, proper notebooks and pencils to use, and tummy-full of lunch to eat. Hemu dai says – “I may not do anything to change the world, change the nation, but I can make change in one life”, and that touches my heart.
Later, he met Mr. Robert Rowen. He became an integral part in fundraisings and all, to push Hemu dai’s effort more. They then started a new organization “Global Action Coalition Nepal”. Mr. Rowen and his team have very nice ideas of fundraising. They are now contacting schools in Tampa, to make the American students help the students at Nepal. Mr. Rowen has already been to Nepal twice, and they have been serving five schools at Chitwan and Gulmi.

Yesterday, there was a “Nepalese New Year” program organized by Global Action Coalition Nepal. We had been to the programs organized by this organization every now and then, but this one was a special one. They had art-works made by rural Nepali children on sale. There I met some people with the heart of gems, like Mr. Rowen and Hemu dai. I met a little girl Tylor, who designed a t-shirt with the artwork done by one of the Nepali children.
She was fund raising for those kids, selling the t-shirts. There was a sixth grader called Jack, who said something which made my eyes moist again. I do not remember everything he said (I should have noted :( ). But, it was something like – “After knowing about the children in Nepal, I feel so guilty today, for taking so many things for granted. I want to do something for the kids, which lasts with them not for a week, not for a month, not even for a year, but for their lifetime. I want to give them education”. He and his teacher handed a check of $758.06, collected by and from the school students.

I felt so guilty, after meeting all those wonderful people doing so much for my beloved country, and I being belonged to the country myself, cannot be able to do anything. I would like to thank all of them, for being so generous. There were two Nepali girls in the event yesterday, I asked them-“If they can, why can’t you start these kinds of projects in your schools?” They replied-“We know about it, we want to do, but you know our parents, right?” I had nothing to answer. If I were a parent, even I would do the same, I would have to give the kids, the American lifestyle, on limited budget, and I would also be hesitant to encourage them to do the fund raisings, and donations. :(

I met a very interesting guy, a Yoga teacher, over there, wearing a long Buddhist “mala”. He went to Nepal last year, and has been planning to go again with some of his friends. He not only wants to go there and visit there, but he wants to live there for the rest of his life. When I asked him “What did you like the most when you visited?” he answered – “Oh Everything, Nepal is the best place for people like me to practice Dharma. And it’s a beautiful, peaceful, very natural country” Smugly I asked-“And what was the thing you dislike the most?” He said-“There is nothing, I felt Kathmandu city little bit more polluted and I was scared of the stray dogs here and there, other than that, there is nothing”. I wondered, if I had asked the same two questions to a Nepalese person, what s/he would answer. Can you tell me what the answer would be?