Hello everyone! I am sorry once again for being so bad about updating this blog. I not only lost my USB port to transfer photos, but I also lost my debit card in Delhi two weeks ago traveling from India to Nepal. Losing my debit card made things quite difficult, some friends of the GVI staff in Kathmandu had to meet me outside the airport to give me money to pay for my Nepal visa. Luckily I arrived here in Pokhara Nepal without any other problems. This is now my third week here in Nepal and it has been action packed, and quite busy. The culture here is quite different from India, but this place is amazing. It's easily the most interesting and beautiful place I've ever been to. We all live in a homestay with a wonderful family here, the host father: Pashpati and the host mother: Chetra. The host mother cooks us delicious Nepali meals every morning and night. There are four projects the volunteers here work at; Children's Paradise, Male Patan, "Streets", and Conversation Club. Male Patan is a day care but I don't work there. Every day I get up around 8 am, have breakfast, and make my way down to Children's Paradise. This is a day care run by a really inspiring woman named Bunti. While it is a day care for kids anywhere from 2 years old to about 5 or 6, it is also one of the only places in Nepal that takes in and works with special needs children. There is a girl here named Nikita, who is much older than the rest (11 years) who has spinebiphida?(not sure on the spelling) Basically she has no feeling from the waist down. She has no wheel chair, no control of her bladder or bawl movements. She went to a normal school for her age but after about 3 months the school didn't want to have to "deal with her problem" and sent her back to this day care. She is extremely intelligent, and a very pretty little girl. She sits at one table all day doing a type of home schooling, surrounded by 2-6 year olds. Everyday we work with her on her school work through these homeschool textbooks, doing math, English, science, computer science (although there is no computer), Morals, and General Knowledge, and we also work on motor skills and stretches with her. As well as working with Nikita, there are several boys here with Austism; Arsen, Dipson, Sidat, Aavash, Auisch (spelling?). They all have different severity of autism, different personalities, but they are all amazing kids. When not working with Nikita we play with them and work on their social skills, development, and confidence. After a day from about 10 am to 3 pm, I head back into the "tourist" area of Pokhara we live in called Lakeside. In the afternoons we hold something called "Conversation Club" at a delicious local restaurant called Shanti. The owners allow us to use the restaurant to work with their son Raheet, along with several other children from the area to go over their homework, or just talk, play games, and other activities with them for about an hour everyday. Any kids from the area are welcome to come and partake. There is also another project in the early mornings that I have only been able to visit twice so far called "streets". This is a boys home of about 11 or 12 boys along with the daughter of the woman who runs the home. We get there around 7 am and work with them on their school work for about an hour, and then blow off steam by playing Soccer, (football as I have come to call it) on a nearby field for an hour, before they head to school in the morning at about 9 or 10 am.
The weekends here have been equally amazing. My first weekend here, a few volunteers and I hiked up one of the mountains overlooking Pokhara called Sarangkot. From the top we could see for miles and miles as well as the Himalayas. When we got to the top, we paraglided down to the base of the mountain. It was such a surreal experience, I wouldn't describe it as fly, but more like floating more than a mile above the ground. Unfortunately my camera died that day and I also lost all of my pictures on my phone( that's another story) so I have no pictures on me of paragliding, but will get some from the other volunteers. The next day we traveled to the Tisuli River where we spent a day white water rafting, surrounded by the beautiful mountains of Nepal. The next weekend we traveled to Chitwan National Park, where we traveled down a river in a dugout canoe seeing Crocadiles, we visited an elephant breeding center, and took a forest excursion on the backs of elephants where we saw the most incredible deer, monkeys, rhinos, hogs (woo pig sooie) and more. And finally this past Tuesday was a national Hindu holiday called "Holi" which celebrates the beginning of spring. The entire city along with hundreds of tourists gathered together soaking each other with water balloons, and throwing paint at each other. It was the coolest festival I have ever witnessed, and by the end of the day I was covered in an inch of various colored paints and absolutely soaked. There was a Nepali music festival and parade after parade after parade.
All in all Nepal has been great so far, I am getting very homesick, but the kids I get to work with every day, the beautiful surroundings, and the amazing weekends make everything worthwhile. I will also be starting a four day trek through the Himalayas on Monday. I will try to post pictures of the Trek as soon as I get back. Again I'm sorry for taking so long to post on this blog, and I'm sorry for writing a novel on this post.