Tuesday 2 December 2003
I’m back from Copenhagen. But before I launch into an account of our weekend there, here’s a new update from Penn:
Well as usual i hope that everyone is well and that things are bright and cheery seeing as you have entered the christmas month at home!!! I can’t tell you what an odd concept that is to me here, that it is christmas at home here they have put soem lights up in the street but that is pretty much it! What with the warm days (nights are bloody cold now) and the running around christmas seems like a million miles away.
Well i really do not know what to tell you all it has been an odd few weeks. I am sorry that the emails have not come to you all a little more regularly. It would seem that there have been problems with emails getting to some people with hotmail accounts so i have been sending emails but i have no idea what is and is not getting there! so apologies if i seeem to have been ignoring you. Things here have been a little eratic as have my emotions and i have been popping in to send the odd mails but could not really face having to look at what i was doing or try to decipeher what i am feeling about the whole trip. It’s difficult as you feel like you should be grateful for being in a place such as this and savouring every moment but there have been times when i have been absolutely desperate to come home and have had enough of the hardship that Nepal presents both to myself and for its citizens. I really do not know how i will feel when i get home. I know that i will be glad to be back but as to whether or not i will miss it i do not know. I now it will be a shock to be back in the luxuries which are usually routine everyday things for me and i am a little nervous about how i will find it all.
SO where shall i start – lets start with the reason i am here – the shopping !!! No only joking my kids!
As you will see i have attached pictures for you
Green fingers – this is painting the kids hands so that they can make the leaf imprints on the wall
Finished wall – this is the picture i took of the kids when we showed them the first wall finsihed
Leafy Hands – a picture of me putting the kids hands prints on the tree
Green Olis – this is Mr oli (the homes cheif officer – real sweety ) and i after he has doen his hand print!
So the tree of life wall is done and i have to say that it was a lot of fun doing it. the kids were fascinated by the paint being put on their hands and it was bliss as i have not seem them so quiet and in awe before or after the event and believe me they are very manic and very noisy!! So 54 kids cames in had their hand painted and made their print o n the wall and then had their little hands washed all to produce the lovely tree!!
Now you would think that i came away elated after this day but oddly i did not. i came away feeling quite numb and a bit shocked really. At the time ( I am feeling fine now) i just felt dispondent and confused. I was thinking how on earth did i think painting one tree was going to help these kids!! I have found out alot about what the childrens future here and it is not necessarily good – some paretns will come out of prison and have no money so will sell their children to child labour, parents will also pay to have their children arrested as it is cheaper than trying to bring them up in this economical situation etc etc and i came away that day with a heavy heart and i felt like the merriment that day was so temporary and i would (still)like to be able to look at those children and tell them that in some way thinsg would be ok. Of course not all children will have a bad future but Nepal is so blooyd corrupt you just do not know what will happen!! There are now 53 kids at the home as little 3 year old Babita has gone back to her mother. But there was no joy when she left the home and you can see the question of “what will happen now” in everyones eyes. As some of you may be aware ;o) i am quite a forthright person and i found it so hard not to pin the mother down and ask her what she had planned for Babita… I feel fine now and i see that what little i can do here will help them in some way but i also feel that the little I have done is a drop in the ocean to what actually needs doing and i think this bit of sadness will remain with me forever and because of it i am changed – i could not tell you how i am changed just that i have been…
Being with these children makes you continually question yourself and your patience for the rest of the western world diminishes – it is hard to explain what happens here to a person who comes to stay here and to the poeple who live here and i will not say too much more other than i will try and convey as much as i can when i get home.
As the pressure has been getting a little much i have been trying to do as much with my weekend as possible to lift my spirits. This has included hiring a motorbike and driving out of Kathmandu now this may not seem likee much but here the traffic is nuts!! they drive in any directiion and make four lanes of taffic in a road that we would not considere driving down at home!! I went to the Ghatts where they hold the cremations and ok this sounds a little gloomy but in an odd way it is not they treat the person (body) beautifully and the whole death thing is not taboo here at all and it is not at all intimidating to watch.
This weekend i went up to Nhagakhort and stayed at the highest hotel in the world in the middle of the Himalayas and it was amazing. Apart from anything else it was just so nice to be out of all the dirt and noisee ( i have got used to the end of my nose being black with dust). Then add to the peace and quiet hot water!! Spectacular viewes and good company and you have one of the best weekends i have had since i have been here. On saturday mornign i hired a horse and rode around the mountains rodes watching the condors and looking at the stunning views. In the afternon we all sat n the ebalcony and watched the views and the susnet and talkede about our experiences. It really was lovely. The only down side to it all was having to come back into Thamel. Got back on Sunday evening and chucked a full on 5 year old temper tantrum at having to be back in this noisy, filth ridden corrupt town!! I know what you’re all thinking but really you try it!
So in a little under two weeks left here and by this time ei will be ready to come home thoroughly knackered minus a few pounds in weight oh and completely non smoking!!!! I think i will probably be back in the UK for the 22nd/23rd depedning on the flights etc so i will hope to see you in or around then some time!
Well i will leave you with that and try to send at least another two updates before i come home, i hope that you are all well and that you are enjoying thesee updates. As always i continue to miss you all and the things which you are all up to
Loving you all more each day
Actually, the pictures weren’t attached, so I’ll ask Penn to send them again, or maybe wait until she gets back to Blighty.