Monday, 22 June 2015

Introducing Some of the Children at Maitri Griha

Sagar (above looking bemused) is only 8 but he has the mental capacity of a 2-3 year old, as well as being autistic he has several other disabilities and severe epilepsy - something that I found really distressing to watch when these children already go through so much. Sagar doesn't talk, he just makes sounds and generally laughs all the time. I would adopt him in an instance if he had no family of his own, generally the happiest and loveliest child I have ever met even though he faces so many barriers. I was told before I got here not to expect much from him, that he doesn't take to people and spends most of his time alone - it is unbelievable to see how much a child can be fascinated by rolling a yo yo across a table for hours! It just took me pushing him on the swing, making faces at him and doing impressions of his funny laugh to make him my best friend here. He generally sits on my lap any time I appear, cuddles me constantly and just stares at me (something he generally can do for hours at a time, wide-eyed and smiling as if he's seen the best thing in the world). He now calls me 'didi' almost constantly, along with some of the other children, which means sister in Nepali.

My other best friend at the moment is Dependrant (above) - literally the sweetest boy. He is deaf and can't really understand any spoken words - yet he is so smart and constantly trying to communicate with me through play or through signs, we can have literal conversations through signs for hours and he's just always happy.Generally just finding myself not wanting to leave these kids, they've just become the best part of Nepal. Every one of them so sweet. I will talk about the other children in detail in my other posts as I am still finding myself getting to know each and every one of them, they're all so different with different needs. Plus, I am the only volunteer here for June so my time is being fought for between the kids - and I mean literal smacking and pushing each other off with any tools necessary to get me to themselves.

A cheeky video of the diva of the group Anusha (above), she asked me to show people her, she loves a good show but doesn't like not getting her way - so bossy!

Lastly if anyone is considering donating to causes in Nepal then please take time to read this blog and my fundraising page:

EHN is a non-profit organisation and completely trustworthy, with so many of these big charities the money is going nowhere and I have heard so many bad things currently being in Nepal at the moment. It is not just the earthquake that Nepal is having to fear, it is their future which is now in a state of unknown despair. Donations have slowed in Nepal generally and people are reluctant to help because they think the worst is over in Nepal.

I have found it really sad to be honest, because the worst thing about the earthquake wasn't actually the deaths, the deaths were a tragedy but they believe here that when you die it was meant to be.
The earthquake has cut the majority of the tourists who normally visit Nepal for trekking or otherwise. This is Nepal's main source of income in any already poor place. I have seen how non-existent tourism is and the devastation of literally all of their tourist attractions and temples. It's going to take them so long to rebuild their economy, their schools and their reputation as a place to visit again, they predict it'll be years until tourism is thriving and they don't get money from many other sources. Many of their homes are ruined and they can't rebuild from fear of a bigger earthquake heading this way, if they want to buy stronger material to rebuild their homes, like cement, companies have now tripled these materials in price so that these already poor people cannot buy these, so people are living in communal tents everywhere I go, outside of my home which is technically unsafe to live in if another earthquake struck. Not only that, but they are having to apply and most likely pay the government to build or move in to a new home, and if they don't then their house will get demolished or they can go to prison, I mean there's devastation and buildings destroyed and they're threatening to destroy people's new homes if they can't afford to pay the government and do it without their permission. Mostly all of the rural villages have been destroyed, their homes, their children's lives and their entire years worth of food and livelihood they'd been growing. There is a monsoon coming and with it landslides and flooding, if there is no monsoon then everything will dry up that is left. The worst thing I've found here is the corruption from the government at a time of need and unity. They currently tax goods at the airport that are brought here to sell at 13%, but now if people are to bring donations and earthquakes supplies in to the country, then they are taxing people over 30%.. for donations! Which is just sickening.

Furthermore, a large majority of Nepal has to survive in this and no electricity because the power can shut off, more likely in the poorer districts, because the only available power is running the homes of the government who live in luxury in their big houses.
Some of the bigger charities working here are the worst, many of stories I've heard have been these charities and their 4x4s refusing to take rice to the worst affected areas because it is a luxury vehicle and not worth the trip for some rice, it's just completely incomprehensible to me. Many of the stuff that has been brought to help has been taken and locked up in warehouses, where it's stayed for god knows for long untouched. When I've heard of them finally taking supplies it was plastic bags of water which had written "consume within 3 days" - I mean they had no idea how long they had already been sitting around for.

Just because there haven't been any more deaths or big earthquakes, and just because there hasn't been a whole countries worth of devastation doesn't mean that Nepal aren't in dire need of aid. We were still averaging around 2 earthquakes a day last week, many of which I hadn't even felt. If a bigger one comes at night then many more would die and buildings would almost instantly fall down. Because of this the whole place is living in fear, with a lack of support due to mixed messages about what it's really like over here. The earthquakes have slowed but after a few days of nothing, I had found myself in a false sense of security with a scary one happening around 6am the other day along with 3 others on the same day that I didn't feel. Many of the cities and inner city towns are okay but that doesn't mean that they aren't suffering in other ways. So please, if you're considering helping or donating then please donate to the organisation that I am currently working with, it's an honest organisation that sends all of the money to those in need, every penny will be accounted for and you most likely know where your money is going! Thank you to those that read this, the point of this isn't even to get more donations, I just wanted people to know what it is actually like because so many things are being said but not really the truth of what it is actually like.

It will be a strange day when I am not being soothed to sleep by the hundreds of dogs in the vicinity barking - when one starts then this domino effect of barking seems to begin. It's become the Nepali equivalent of the British car/house alarm going off in the early hours of the morning - apart from here it is endless.

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