The Oda Project

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

Bobby is here!

ImageBobby is here!

But Safira is gone...

The last few weeks have been a great adventure with lots of accomplishments, and progress. That said, it is those two realities that are top of mind right now.  We were so lucky to have Safira visit us for a week.  Her positive attitude and genuine desire to help was immediately appreciated by our team in Oda along with the community at large.  Whether it was Nena’s visit 3 months ago or Safira’s visit last week I am so fortunate to have such incredible people in my life, people that will jump in a shaky jeep or a bus for 12 hours to help the project.  Her return to America was certainly a sad day, but much of the sadness was alleviated by the arrival of Bobby!  Bob’s is making his second appearance in Nepal, and I’m so excited for him to jump in and begin making a difference.  His laid back attitude, level head, and positive demeanor are exactly what I need right now.ImageSafira with our Nepali Staff!

My last journey to Kalikot was a tremendous success.  I was joined by my great friend Safira Amsili, who worked tirelessly in our clinic and with our kids during her week in Oda.  Thanks to Safira’s efforts and the generosity of Cara Valentino, Magdalena Long, and the Kopila Valley Woman’s Center we were able to provide reusable maxi pads to sixty girls in the local community.  Initially we were concerned about how these efforts would be received, as the girls off Oda are very shy.  As it turns out they were ECSTATIC!  Before our arrival girls would skip school for five days a month, rather than deal with potential embarrassment, something we were able to alleviate with our dissemination of the reusable Pads.  While Safira is gone, we have another tremendous female volunteer coming next month (Cara Skillingstead), who will work with our girls in order to see what is working well and what is not!


Beyond the gift of Maxi’s we also distributed track suits to 100 of the community’s neediest children.  These are kids who prior to our arrival would walk around in shredded clothes, providing little to no warmth, comfort, or modesty.  We also distributed gloves and hats to 400 children, to help them during the cold winter months.  After passing out these outfits you would have thought the kids won the lottery. They were going crazy, and so excited about such a simple little gift.   This gift came at the perfect times, as 2 days after our distribution Oda received its first snow fall of the year…

ImageNew Clothes!!!

A snow fall which led to the most fun day ever!  Safira and I woke up early to the sound of my partner Karan going CRAZY with excitement.  He left Oda as a boy, and hasn’t seen the snow fall in his village for a very long time.  His excitement was palpable and rubbed off on Safira and I who engaged in a snow day for the ages.  We built two snowmen, and one snow woman, had relay races, took tons of photos, and enjoyed a day I will not soon forget.  The next day we left Oda, which was harder than usual.  Each time I go up, I fall more in love with the community, the kids, and the adults.  This trip was made even more special by Safira’s visit…and we are very eager for her hopeful return!

During the next few months, we plan to focus largely on the programs we have in place.  Karan and our team in Kalikot recently built a new room for sick patients to receive treatment if they are unable to return home.  Further, Bobby’s arrival will be a tremendous boon to our tuition program.  He will be at the project for almost three months, which will be amazing in terms of providing continuity and direction to our tuition program! Beyond that, I plan to spend the majority of the next three months in Oda as well…with the exception of a quick trip down in March to receive Cara and purchase some additional medicine!  During these months, I hope to work diligently on my Nepali.  With each trip I learn more and more, however, 3 months of immersion should go a long way in terms of bringing my language skills to the next level!