Thursday, December 31, 2009
I will leave for Nepal on Saturday, January 2, 2010! I'm very excited to be visiting Nepal again to continue the work of the Madhav Ghimire Foundation and to further the work of supporting literacy in the villages of our Scholarship recipients.
I have been receiving updates, messages, and pictures from our friends in Bandipur concerning the library and it seems things are going well. Biju, the librarian has done an amazing job in continuing to maintain an environment of welcoming all castes and ages into the library so everyone is able to enjoy and learn together, regardless of their "position".
I'm very excited to visit and see how things are going. I have collected more learning games for the kids, books, and donations for more supplies.
During this three week trip I will visit the homes, schools, and villages of many of the scholarship girls and look for the next library location. The goal I have in mind is to build/make a library in each scholarship girl's village. The benefits are for the girls and their communities. Supporting the teachers and education in these villages is also beneficial to all and a great joy as well.
I will be posting here and share my findings and explorations...joys and sorrows....
and love with you all. Namaste Friends...thank you for being an important part of this journey and this work....
Love to All~
Happy New Year as we continue on this Journey of Love and Learning.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I adore the flowers and plants in Nepal~ such a variety and amazing colors~ everywhere you look you can find natural beauty and amazing views surround you...whether near or far....
This picture shows the dining area at Gaun Gahr Hotel in Bandipur. The hotel is rustic, but BEAUTIFUL beyond... a Newari family home originally it has been renovated back to it's original beauty. I learned much of my Nepali here through dialogues with the staff... and the food was incredible! Rabindra is an excellent chef ~ "ek dom meto chaa" ~
"Birdie drinks" ~ Nepali people all "birdie drink" so they can all use the same water containers without worry of sharing germs! I am still working on this skill~ :)
I appreciate the challenges of everyday life when I am in Nepal and realize it is not really the "things" in life that make us rich or poor, but more so...the love and connection we have with others... (photo is of typical stove inside a Nepali home).
I adore our scholarship girls~ they are all so wonderful! It was a great experience to get to know them more personally. I was amazed by their desire to learn each thing I shared with them. It was nice when they became more relaxed with me and I really got to experience each of their personalities in the group and separately. I cannot wait to see them again to continue to see them grow and develop. They are beautiful young women... :) so fun!
I love the Nepali women's dress~ they are so elegant as they work hard and carry the burdens in their lives. These ladies would walk through the village each day going about their business. Umbrellas are used for the rain and the sun, and often both sun and rain are experienced within one hour's time in the summer! I have a great respect for Nepali women~ I found them to be strong, kind, compassionate, and patient.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Shortly before the Library opened the Himalayan Times in Kathmandu asked a question in the paper about which is better...the internet or a library! I simply had to submit a 200 word response...
Although it is true that modern technology offers those seeking information certain benefits, there is no comparing the use of the Internet and the experience of visiting a good library. A library is a gift to all because libraries offer individuals the opportunity to explore and experience the very essence of the authors’ efforts, wisdom, and knowledge through the ages. We quite literally hear the voices and capture the essence of writers through time. The library is a reverent place that offers each individual, the opportunity to learn and understand if they so choose. Knowledge in the library is free to all. The Internet offers many of the same benefits, so we are truly blessed with both at our disposal.
With great appreciation, devotion, and passion for libraries, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to open The Children’s Library in Bandipur, Nepal on Monday, August 31, 2009 at 4:15pm. With the gracious help of Digumber Piya, and many donors, the library will be a place where children, teachers, and community members can visit and have the best of both worlds — a library with books and the Internet as well!
— Heather Guay,
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
"A Library is a Gift to All~"
The making of The Children's Library has been a long and wonderful journey~ The opening day was rushed, and I was doubtful of having everything complete even at the noon hour on Monday. Rain was threatening and still I had not even placed the books in the library as the workers were still finishing their final touches. I had hoped to have several days to place the 450 books, educational games, stuffed animals and decorations in the library...but as it stood I had only several hours. Thanks to help of several of my lady friends and young college students in the village, and the hotel staff I managed to get everything in the library and set up so it "looked" like a library!!!! I was simply astounded at how gorgeous the library looked...simply wonderful...beyond my wildest dreams and expectations!
The opening of the library was very grand! I had been inviting all of my "friends" and people I knew in the village and Digumber and I visited the different schools in Bandipur and invited the teachers and let them know when it would be. At the opening there were over 150 people and they all gathered around the library area to celebrate! Mahendra and his wife (the owner of the building) also came from Chitwan to speak and celebrate the opening of the library.
Several other speakers spoke about the library... Mahendra, Bikram Sir (my Nepali teacher), a local politician, and Digumber spoke last by summarizing the entire journey and speaking about his family roots and dreams for the village of Bandipur, and how everyone must work together to hlep improve education and help children. It seems the making of the library is a sort of catalyst for growth...and that is just as it should be...the sharing of inspiration, knowledge, and spirit...inspires people to DREAM..... if we can share that, in whichever way we are given to share it, then we have accomplished a great deal....
The library has been "open" for two days....each day the library has been literally PACKED... over 60 children are there reading all the books...adults of all ages have visited and are thrilled to explore the many different books. I felt so blessed when two grown sons of a local hotel owner came into the library and browsed a picture book on Nepal... they told me they saw and learned new things about Nepal they had not known before...... truly... a library can make a difference.... at any age.
After polling the children I found about 1/2 are from the local private school and 1/2 from the local public school. The children are so careful with the books and they are truly, truly enjoying the beautiful space to relax and explore books and learn. The children are also playing with the learning games and are choosing the games that require reading and writing in English! They LOVE TO WORK HARD! Our librarian, Biju, is a beautiful and wonderful lady, (she was one of my students from the women's group) and I feel thankful she took the job. She is perfect for the job and it affords her many benefits, win/win situation.
I am leaving tomorrow.... I am ready to go "home".
I miss my friends and my family so very much... I will say though, I am going to miss my "new home" and my new friends~ I feel I now have two homes...and that makes me very rich indeed.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Due to the delay in some of the construction in the library building there has been a delay in the opening of the library and therefore a delay in my return to America. I will be "home" a week later than expected...Sept. 6! I have been organizing and typing the lists of books for the library and getting everything ready to go, once the paint and glaze in the shelves and floors are dry. It is raining still here every other day so the drying process takes time.
"Nepali time" comes into factor here as well....
The opening will be officially on Monday at 4:15 p.m. and the entire village will be there....
the scholarship girls will be there and so will the women and teachers I've worked with this summer...it feels great!
I will take lots of photos and videotape as well...I'm planning on speaking a little in Nepali as well...we'll see how that goes!
HOpe you are all well...
can't upload photos.....
Saturday, August 22, 2009
The library is really beautiful....I mean...amazingly beautiful!
There is a sense of beauty and peace there that I hope you can "feel" from the photos (once I get them uploaded). I think perhaps this is related to many factors~ first...tremendous love and goodwill that this project has been brought forth with...the good intentions and best wishes of all of you who donated and who are keeping us all in your thoughts and prayers....also...the building itself is located at the heart of the village and when you stand on the front porch you can hear children playing, men and women working and moving through their day....Nepali music and a gentle breeze blow across your cheek and through your ears...."Namaste~" and smiles abound.
The library is built in the lower section of a building that is a holy place for people to stop and rest while they are traveling (called a Pati) Women gather here in the evening and sing and play music. The carpenters are from Chitwan and have been working so beautifully~ they are expert wood workers (Thank you to Digumber, once again for his "connections" and dedication to making this library quality for the girls!) Local village people have been working (for minimum fees) painting, staining, cleaning, carrying, working, working, working...... the shelves are half way in and I can see "the library" materialize before my eyes.
When I think of all of these things together, the love from all, and the amount of dedication and work it has taken, and takes to not only bring forth books, and literature, and learning....but the building, the workers, every person who has been involved...and the benefit (that we may or may not know~ the effects of our efforts.....) I have been moved to tears several times when I take all this in.....
it's really amazing.
Friday, August 21, 2009
I am having trouble uploading my photos, so I will have to write for now!
The past few days have been fast and furious~ there are workers everywhere in the library and
it is really coming along. It looks Dheri RAMRO....BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!
I have so many beautiful photos and I can't wait to show you! Everyone in the village has been stopping by to see the progress of the library~ everyone is excited...
The children have been visiting~ one sweet little girl came by and I told her we were building
a children's library...and that we brought many different books on many different subjects....and that she could come and read the books in the library~ She asked me "How much does it cost?"
I told her "FREE" and she said, "FREE?" and I said, "Yes!!!!"
I took her pictures at that moment...she was so excited and happy!!!!
I'm so excited!!!!!!
more later....with pics, I hope!!!!!
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Yesterday we bought the books for the library in Kathmandu! It was FUN hard work choosing a wide variety of books for different levels and interest. It took hours to gather them and once they were all packaged up, it did not look like that many books! OMG....I'm terribly excited! When I think of the people of Bandipur having a quality library (even if it is small) I feel so happy! I think about what a difference books and the library have made in my own life..... how wonderful to help provide this for others.
The books are being shipped to Chitwan and then to Bandipur...I do not know how all these things work in Nepal and Digumber has been absolutely a lifesaver....It would have been tremendously more challenging for me to do this without his help and "connections"!
I am hoping each year our volunteers and friends will bring books, send books, and donate books to keep the library growing. THIS IS A PROCESS.....and evolution~ it will be interesting to see how the children and teachers value the library....I think they will...the books are all high quality and on a variety of subjects and levels. We have to find someone to be the "librarian" and I am hoping for one of my women students or someone from the teacher's training to do the job~ when I return to Bandipur I will find the "librarian".
The inside of the library is being finished currently and I will return to Bandipur either this afternoon or in the morning to get everything "finished" before I leave. I will post photos...don't worry!!!!! :)
Ranjana is from Gorkha. She works in the hotel in housekeeping and any other job they need her to do! The staff all work together throughout the day on little and big jobs...they laugh when I join in and help around the hotel too...I tell them that is part of "my culture" to work and help... "Americans are like that...." ~ Ranjana is just about the sweetest person I've met and when I first came to know her she always looked so sad. She has been smiling lately and we even make private jokes together..it's fun and hilarious. She often watches me and laughs as I give the male hotel workers and Digumber a hard time...my outspoken ways and expression of my opinions are not customary in Nepali culture for women...the women staff members see me as something out of the ordinary...but I can see the twinkle in their eyes as I wink at them and "call people" on their "stuff"!!!! :)
Children wait for the parade to begin and then they are able to act out their favorite religious and cultural stories of Krishna and Radha. It is fun to see the excitement and realize how these activities and festivials are part of their lives, their memories, and how they will carry on these traditions with their own children.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
This is the "road" up to the World Peace Pagoda~ mind you the edge of the mountain is just to the right~ we met another car coming up on the way down and it took us five minutes to finally pass each other...we were literally 1 inch apart from each other.... (Nepal...got love it!!! :D)
Monday, August 10, 2009
This beautiful cat caught my eye as I walked for hours through the mountains.
"It's just over that hill." ~ Famous Last Words in Nepal! :)
I shared my simple advice and favorite scriptures~ I talked about my Faith, Forgiveness, and Love~ They asked me questions about facing hardships in life and how to deal with the suffering of others~ We also discussed how to respond to those family members and friends who were not accepting of Christianity~ Faith, Forgiveness, Compassion & Love.... same as Buddha would say, or what we find in most faiths.... :)
It was a blessed day.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Bina is a girl that you like instantly. She has a twinkle in her eye and a smile that radiates from her entire body. She is curious, intelligent, hard working, and kind. She has a graceful spunk that makes you want to spend time with her. When I visited her home I was stunned by the simple charm and obvious energy it takes for bare survival.
Bina and her bag of treasures.
Bina holds her treasures in a bag that she hangs from the ceiling of her mud house to stay dry during the heavy monsoon rains. I had to smile when she brought out the things she "treasures" they were a poloroid photo from Jeffrey Kottler (that her brother marked on) and photos of Caitlin and Drew (two volunteers from Canada who recently did a marvelous job with the girls)! My heart smiled as I realized how the effort that we put forth makes a deep difference...at least to Bina.
These photos were taken by Jeffrey Kottler, the founder of the MGF, on a previous visit. He takes poloroid pictures of the scholarship girls and their families....these become lifelong treasures and reminders of those who care and believe in them. (And...naughty little brother drew on Bina's photo...)
As we climbed up and around the narrow path that led to Bina's home I felt a bit frightened a few times because the path was very small with a deep drop immediately left...at one point, Bina took my hand to help me across and I was surprised by her strength! I was not going anywhere with her holding my hand... I could feel it! How do they manage that path in the rain and at night? I can barely walk it in daylight with someone holding my hand.... wow!
We came across an old blind man who was babysitting a small child by the edge of a cliff. I did not know how he managed to keep the baby safe because he had to feel around to locate the child and the edge of the mountain is so close.... We shared a few "Namastes" and watched for a moment...Bina told the little man where the child was and he quickly felt his way to the baby and picked the child up. Really amazing...we found out that was Bina's Grandfather and her cousin... everyone else was out working in the fields so Grandpa babysits! Everyone works! Somehow, amazingly, they work it out....
because I can read,write, learn and see new English books. Another reason I like school is because my teacher teaches very well.There are six people in my family.I have 1 brother and 1 sister.My mother cooks food and my father digs the rice in the fields.Each day I cut grass,wash clothes,go to school,go to temple, and carry water. You can see there are many things to know about me.