The Oda Project

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

February Thoughts!

Hello again...Wow, time really flies. I feel like every time I talk to one of my friends from home, I'm startled when I realize how long its been since we've last spoken. I constantly get asked, why its taken so long to which I usually respond “but we just talked”. Not until really thinking about it do I realize that its been a month, two months, or even four to five! I think the same principle holds true on this blog...and not until I really think about it do I realize how much time has elapsed since my last post. I can't believe that its already February! Which means my brother's visits is just around the corner, and I leave soon! Granted, due to a recent change of plans that departure is not permanent, and I will be returning to Kopila Valley for May and June. Aside from traveling with Bobby, I'll also be returning to the States for a month, which should provide some much needed decompression and family/friend time.. I can't wait to see everyone, and catch up on everything I've missed since I've been gone. I also look forward to the perspective which will come from my trip home. Currently, I'm so entrenched in life here that it can challenging to reflect on my time. Ultimately, I think there are two potential outcomes. My trip back could renew my interest to continue down the path I was on prior to coming to Nepal, or I could walk away with it with a renewed vigor for what I’m doing here in Nepal. I don't think I will completely know until I've come back to the States though.
Beyond that brief update, things continue to go well over here. I was sending an email and proctoring an exam for one of my favorite classes earlier today. While sitting in class I realized, how much I enjoy walking into school each morning and getting greeted by 300 kids saying “Good Morning John Sir, how are you?” , that always puts a smile on my face. That in and of it self pulls me out of bed each morning, and I'm so happy with this moment in my life. There are so many amazing people that I interact with on a daily basis, and I am so appreciative for being so fully embraced by the community.
3 kids missing their two front teeth!!!
Another one of those “happy moments” happened today when I took two of my absolute favorite girls to celebrate the end of their exams. I've already told some of my friends about the two young Nepali's I've fallen in love with...but for the rest of you their names are Kabita and Ramita and they're in 1 class. Last Friday I walked home with them from school. One of the girls, has a 1.5 hour walk each way, battles a rare gene disorder, and lives in a one room mud hut in the mountains...yet still always has a HUGE smile on her face and is just unbelievable. The walk to their homes, really cemented my love and respect for both of them and I was so happy to bring them out today for some snacks and a new pair of chappals (sandals). In all honesty, walking home with some of the school children, and seeing where they come from was a real eye opener for me. While just about everyone over here has a tough situation, some of the kids living outside face huge obstacles with regards to their education. Yet, they continue to rise up overcome the challenges on a daily basis. For example, today and yesterday we experienced torrential downpours in Surkhet. Coincidentally, the Kids were all in exams and couldn't miss school. Well without fail, at 9am I saw 6 year old Kabita and Ramita walking in through the gates, with a huge smile...and some wet clothes!
Kabita & Ramita!
Turns out each experience and interaction like the one I mentioned above makes me love it more and more here. Not only has this experience continued to surpass all the expectations I had, I've also learned that I love working with Children. I'm not sure how this will fit in to the rest of my life, however, I am extremely happy that I learned sooner rather than later.
There is so much else I could update on, but I'll just do some quick hits... Since my last post we've had Safira's, Hansha's, Yagya's, and Rupa's Birthday! Construction has continued on the new third floor of the house, and it appears that the opening of our new woman’s center is right around the corner. Sports practices continue to go off extremely well, and we're close to finalizing some games for both our girls volleyball team, and the boys football team. Exams are coming to a close, and we've been spending some late nights and early mornings working with the kids to prepare. We've had ups and downs, punishments and parties, laughter and tears, along with everything else you'd expect in a house with 40 kids. That said, despite how chuck chucky (a Nepali expression for misbehaving) they can be some time I love them all. A sentiment which is true of everyone here, the staff, the aunties, the uncles, the kids, and the other volunteers. I couldn't have asked to be with a better group of people, and remain thankful for this amazing opportunity.
Just three of the people its easy to love..Amrika Auntie, Laxmi Uncle, and Safira!
Until next time...Cheers!