The Oda Project

Essential healthcare and education - giving Nepali communities in extreme poverty a fighting chance

Sleepless Nights

First of all, apologies for the long delay since the last blog post.  It’s been about four nights since I’ve slept, which has led to a very tired John.  I think a combination of an eye infection, terrible allergies, and some homesickness have led to me going stir crazy every time I lay down at night.  Thankfully, I was able to find some antibacterial eye drops in town recently, and have been using Benadryl heavily so I think I’m on the road to recovery.  I actually just got in from a nice long run, and am finally feeling like myself again.  Despite being a bit sick, I've still managed to do some exciting things this week! 
The first story I’ll bring up pertains to my dinner with the principal of the school on Wednesday night!  We went to the towns new restaurant, where they remembered my name from my night out with the fellows on Saturday!  I think they’re excited that we are live here, and even more excited that we will likely spend plenty of money in their establishment.  Getting back to dinner with the principal though, it was fantastic!  Since I showed up I knew I wanted to bring him out to dinner, and hear a bit about his life and his road to Kopila.  His wife lives in Kathmandu, and he lives by himself just down the street, so it was a good excuse for both of us to get out of the house and get something different for dinner.  The principal, started 4 months ago after serving in the Nepali army, where he was a general and spokesman.  Not only did I hear a wonderful history of his life, and time in the military I also heard a very interesting history of Nepal.  While I was very interested to hear about the old Kingdoms of Nepal, what I found most interesting was the more recent history beginning with the King stepping down in 1990 through modern history which trickles through to current events.  Of particular interest was the conflict with the Maoists, which ended just a few years ago and is still the source of a friction.  This friction is the major reason for Nepal’s painstaking constitution process, a constitution which has still yet to be ratified.    When talking to the principal, more so than the economy, or developing industry, he is a firm believer that the next step for Nepal is to develop a sound constitution and a more cohesive group of leaders in Kathmandu.  As for dinner it was delicious, like me the principal is a big eater and we did some damage to the menu, which was a very welcome change from the status quo.  The most unique thing we ordered was “Nepali Pizza” which is a crust made of rice, with fried egg on top and ground up mutton (Mutton = Goat).
Out with my fellow Fellows at Sukhet's newest hot spot!
In addition to dinner with the principal, we had an eventful night on Tuesday when one of the local girls showed up at our house.  She was dealing with trouble at home, and did not want to go back.  This resulted in some drama when her cousin showed up to get her, and she refused to go back.  Ultimately, some of the older Nepali speakers spoke with the cousin and addressed some of concerns, while we talked to the local girl.  Eventually, she returned home and things seem to be going well.  This incident, was gave me just a quick glimpse into what the Staff deals with at Kopila Valley regularly.  There are so many children here desperate for help, and simply not enough resources to help all of them.  The longer I’m here the more my eyes open to the struggle that the children and families deal with in this country, alongside Maggie and the rest of the staff.
ON a more uplifting note, things continue to go really well with the other fellows.  Another fun fact about me is that I’m really into musicals.  Well... Kelly (from Seattle), found a 4 pack of Musicals in her room the other day, and we just watched Fiddler on the roof, on the roof of the house!  The longer I’m here the more I realize how much I need to enjoy some of the simple pleasures in life.  Things as silly as watching a movie with some of the other fellows is a great break from the norm and puts something on the calendar to look forwards too.  I was actually downloading Moulin Rouge (another favorite of mine) from ITunes for next week’s movie, however, the movie stopped downloading, and seems to be lost somewhere on the internet…where I’m not sure.  On another fellow related note, our newest arrival just got here.  Ben is from just outside of DC, and we actually got the chance to meet up before my departure for Nepal.  As expected it was great to see a familiar face, and he’s been a great addition to the group. 
Further, since he left about 2 weeks after I arrived I was able to request some things brought from the states, which are in desperate need over here, some personal (i.e. Bugspray) and some for my extracurricular role with Kopila.  We now have more badminton supplies, pinnies, and a new and improved pump for balls.  I’ve actually started differentiating between recess supplies, and resources we intend to use for the extracurricular activities.  It’s a slow process, and quality goods are tough to come by in Surkhet, however, I have  a growing stockpile in my room which is already leading to much more fun and effective practices.  Currently we’ve, been focusing only on sports, which contrasts with my original intention of taking a more holistic approach to the program.  That is in large part due to my thought, that baby steps are necessary at first to get this program moving in the right direction.  It’s already been a shock to some of the boys that they can’t use the soccer field every day.  Additionally, the concept of team, taking turns, and organized practices, has been a handful as is, and after conferring with some of the other fellows; we’re pretty much all in agreement that we don’t want to bite off more than we can chew.  As the expression goes, “Rome was not built in a day” and I hope to get momentum with the programs we have going right now, prior to expanding.  On one last note, I have been blessed to have some awesome help thus far from the other fellows.  Kelly and Safira have been fantastic with the girls, both getting them motivated about coming out to play, and providing a positive role model.  Matt and Ian have been great with the boys especially with regards to soccer, which can be a zoo at times.  With over 100 kids playing at any time, I’m beyond thankful that the others have been so willing to help, and realize, this would have been nearly impossible without all the extra support. 
On one final note, last night we celebrated Ian’s 23rdBirthday!  Not quite the same as if we were in the states, but the boys went out for some dinner, and then we all came back for a great satsung where we sang some Happy Birthday and gave Ian some much deserved gifts.
Miss everyone increasingly!  More soon.
Ian's Birthday!