Thursday, October 4, 2012

Last year's Deusi

"Did you read the article about female friendly toilets Rabindra Mishra wrote in today's Nagarik ? " I asked when we all met at Keshav dai and Goma bhauju's place last year. Most of the people present there had already read the article and we started talking about it. "मेल फ्रेन्ड्ली ट्वाइलेट त थिएन हाम्रो स्कुलमा, फिमेल फ्रेन्ड्ली" Hari dai said on own his witty way and everyone was adding his/her own story.

  Being lived in USA, our life has been so simplified in terms of such basic necessities. Wherever you go, you will not have to face a problem of not having a toilet or not having water in the toilet or things like that. If we tell the stories we experienced during our childhood to our kids, it will be hard for them to believe on those, if they are born and raised here, and those kids in Nepal, same aged as ours, are still facing the same challenges, same difficulties and same hurdles as we did decades ago. 

'नेताहरुको ढंग र बुद्धी नहोला तर ढंग र बुद्धी दुबै भएको विश्वास गर्ने हामी मध्यम र उच्च वर्गका नेपालीहरूले चाहिँ अधिकांश स्थितिमा आफैं हिरो’ बन्ने बाहेक राष्ट्र निर्माणमा के योगदान पुर्यायौं एक पल्ट सोच्ने कि?'    The first paragraph in that article was enough to touch my heart. That article moved me from my inner self and some fellow NeSA (Nepalese Students Association at University of South Florida) members, we always had some aspiration to do something for the children in Nepal but we were not doing something in actual. On that day, NeSA decided to get united, get united with all the Nepalese community members, raise the fund as much as it can, and send the fund to Nepal to construct some Female friendly toilets in some remote schools in Nepal. We thought to reach to the most remote part of Nepal we can reach to, somewhere in Humla.

 Moreover, even for the fund raising, we did not want to make it just a fund raising program, we wanted to do something more fun, do something which brings our kids in USA one step closer to our culture and do something which just gives us a break from the mundane busy life we have, hence we decided to wait until Tihar, knock on every door of the Nepalese household on the community, sing and dance on our own Deusire song and raise the funds for our cause, savoring the delicious sel rotis and other assortment of rotis and mithais from each house.

 I was not able to join the Deusi troop physically, because I was expecting my baby on December, and going here and there with the Deusi troop could be exhausting for me, but did my best to manage the troop behind the scenes. Our NeSA members with their families and some friends did go to as many Nepalese door steps as they could and collected $1081.00 for the cause. It was a great achievement for us. However, the way of sending every penny to the little children in Nepal was the biggest problem in front of all of us. 

 We even thought about going through some of our own networks. However, none seem to work perfectly, we explored many, but only one seem to fit perfectly on our needs, our goals and our dreams, that was an organization called Help-Nepal Network (HeNN) , established by Mr. Rabindra Mishra, the writer whose influential article gave us the energy to come through this point. 

 None of us knew anyone from HeNN personally, but on today's world knowing people and communicating with them is no big deal at all. We communicated with them and delighted to know that they not only take our money to do our projects of constructing the toilets but also if the funds shortfall took place, HeNN would put the money provided by some other source/donors to complete the project. When we were having the conference call, they indicated that places like Humla being very far from the capital, could be very difficult to administer the projects, and they could be expensive as well. Hence, unless we could appoint someone just to manage the school project, which we could not afford, having a school project in Humla was next to Impossible. 

 After we first talked, HeNN friends did some research too, and they found out that Shree Bishnu Secondary School, located at Gaimudi, Dolakha was in a pretty bad shape.

When we looked at these photos, we had an inner urge to go ahead and help this school. And, we decided to do so. NeSA had total $1500 including every penny it had, and we decided to send it all, for those little children in Dolakha. The money we sent was very little to build the whole school building and the toilets, but HeNN started the project of reconstruction of the school. They started building a toilet and a building with two rooms with the money we sent (the shortfall being met by HeNN). The building construction is not done yet. A two room building for a secondary school, well, that was what we were able to make. The toilet construction is done. I hope no teenage girl has to miss the classes now during her menstrual periods. I hope the children will now learn health and hygiene is as important as education in one's life.


I am just thinking how happy we all will be when Rabindra jee sends the confirmation email of the project completion, with the pictures of school building, and the pictures of the happy little children around. I am thinking how much satisfaction will it give, when we fund raise again this year, send money to Nepal and help another school somewhere else, to bring smiles all over on the faces of some other children on some other place of Nepal. 

 (Writer is the founder General Secretary and current  Adviser of NeSA)