The Oda Project

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

Cuts, Cockroaches, and Cleaning

Thought I’d shoot a quick update out with regards to the Kopila Valley Badminton Team, the deep cleaning occurring at Kopila, and the nest of creatures from under my bed.
The Badminton Team is looking great over here at Kopila.  A few weeks ago the principal asked me to put together a team for the Nepal National Badminton Associations annual tournament.  Prior to practices I used a bit of the funding provided to me by our fundraiser to purchase new and improved badminton equipment for the team.  We bought three new sleeves of shuttle cocks and 12 new racquets which have been hugely helpful when trying to conduct an organized practice.  Additionally, the kids have been playing barefoot and in jeans, so I’m currently working to design and purchase athletic uniforms and sneakers so we will look like the team that we’re becoming when we get to the tournament.  Beyond these purchases, I’ve been spending a good deal of time researching badminton techniques and drills in order to get the kids up to speed.  Unfortunately, after a week of practice we had to narrow the teams down to two players each.  As the first week wore on, Matt and I discussed in great detail how hard the cut was going to be, and rather than choosing two children subjectively we played a round robin tournament amongst the boys.  Thankfully the girls’ team weeded itself down, and we now have two superstars, Goma and Socializa.  I’m actually not kidding when I say superstars; there are two of the most athletic middle school girls I’ve ever seen (Including at home).  The boys narrowed themselves down to three before we had to play the tournament.  In the first two rounds Avicheck beat Uraj and Arjun to secure a spot on the team.  This development led to a winner takes all third game for a spot on the team.  Uraj advanced in a heated contest, which was hard to watch knowing how much each boy wanted the victory. What made this pill even harder to swallow were Arjun’s tears after he lost his match that combined with the recent passing of his mother, father and brother melted my heart.  All of the boys were working their butts off, and it was a challenger to stomach this cut.  On a more uplifting note I spoke with Arjun and he’s going to come back out as a member of our 1 man practice squad starting tomorrow. This was good news to me, as it gives him an excuse to stay at school and eat a healthy breakfast here at the home.  All of our badminton players have been coming in for tutoring at 6 am during the holiday, however, don’t eat breakfast and aren’t able to eat anything until lunch.  Matt and I found this out last week at practice, when some of the boys were acting sluggish.  We asked if they were tired, only to find out that they were all starving, and don’t eat anything all morning.  After talking with the Kitchen staff, I was able to get breakfast arranged for the entire team before breakfast.
Beyond athletics, things have been very busy at the house.  With the return of Maggie, things have picked up and she’s been working to get the house back in order.  As a result of this initiative we did a “Deep Cleaning” two days ago, where we cleaned out each of the bedrooms washed the walls, and prepared a few rooms for a fresh coat of paint.  You wouldn’t believe the hoarding that goes on at this house; there were piles 6 feet tall of assorted things coming from under some of the kids beds. Thankfully I was in charge of the “pissing room” and they don’t have nearly as many possessions stored.  This made my life much easier than Kelly and Safira, who had to deal with the girl’s rooms.  In addition to cleaning out the kid’s rooms, we also did some much needed upgrades to my room.  We removed the two little beds in favor of one larger one. In hindsight the next development was somewhat amusing, recently the other fellows have been laughing at me because I’ve insisted that there is a snake in my room.  I’ve constantly mentioned how I hear hissing sounds at night, but the other fellows have dismissed the notion as my imagination or from outside.   Well turns out it wasn’t the snake at all, but about twenty cockroaches keeping me up at night.   Much to my dismay, when we lifted up the bed I’ve been sleeping on for the past 7 weeks a swarm of about 20 Cockroaches came storming out. I went on a tear with one of my sneakers trying to kill as many as possible before they could escape back into my room.  I think I did a fairly good job, and I haven’t seen one since we removed the bed.  Hopefully this new bed will treat me better; the carpenters just put some legs on, which should keep them from nesting beneath.
On one last somber note, one of the 5th grade girls from the school passed away last night, which has been challenging for everyone at the house.  I did not have the pleasure of knowing her, but from I’ve heard she was an amazing young woman.  As you can imagine this has been incredibly tough for Maggie, the children, and staff.  I know prayers are spread thin right now in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, but an extra prayer for some healing here in Surkhet would be much appreciated.