Mission Nepal April 2014
I am a voluntary Hanuman Onlus since 2008 and this is my second trip to Nepal.The state of mind in which childbirth is a mix of feelings:
the pleasure of finding friends who I met five years ago and with whom I have "collaborated" indirectly in all these years, thousands of miles away;
The desire to see a spectacular country in all its aspects, that every time I pleasant surprises;
The excitement of finally seeing Happy Home, the family home where children are accommodated without parents and living with them moments, then find out, will remain indelible in me.
The group with whom travel is ideal for the success of the adventure: the directors and founders of Hanuman Onlus, now veterans of Nepal, able to tackle any organizational problem, plus a group of volunteers and some young friends to their before leaving for the first time in Nepal and with our association. The experience, coupled with the enthusiasm of novelty.
The premises are so great, but on the second day, I realize that the reality will be able to overcome them!
We start as soon as possible (time permitting Nepali), Kathmandu hotel and face the first of many trips to the dust of the streets in rebuilding, smog almost intoxicating (I will not complain ever more air I breathe in Milan, I promise! ), where live traffic indescribable trucks and cars and vans of tourists crammed to capacity and public buses and bicycles and pedestrians and sacred cows, all apparently unaware of the existence of road rules (especially the cows!) and all miraculously survivors to one another; a show, if it was not their everyday life.
Our driver, Babu Gaji, who will accompany us throughout the trip, it would deserve a separate chapter is a concentrated (also due to its reduced height), skill and speed and direction measurements, so good as to seem a whole with our scassatissimo minibus; fails to address the narrow streets of the capital of Nepal guide him as if a small car instead of the bus Mercedes. Truly amazing.
We drive along the scenic Prithvi Highway, the road that will take us Benighat from Kathmandu, the country where Hanuman Onlus has built as many as 8 of its 12 schools, where the country is our "Happy Home," the family home.
The excitement is great, mixed with curiosity to see finally realized the large project, which will allow orphaned children to live in a decent environment and be able to face with confidence the school curriculum. Then we face the last stretch of road uphill to reach it and, suddenly, it seems to enter a different world, made of quiet, nature and clear air.
And finally here is there in front of us, the result of the endless markets in the Italian squares, in order to raise funds for its construction, the chill of winter and the heat of the summer.But to see her, I realize that it was worth it!Happy Home is beautiful and great to welcome us and we are his people, ie the first 15 children who live there and who are waiting for us with their charming smiles, a little intimidated, or maybe they are more of us, but now ready to celebrate our arrival.And suddenly becomes quiet chaos, with all that you endeavor to clean and prepare rooms for the volunteers, getting to know the kids, the house and explore the magnificent terrace, assess the work of painting that there are to do and that will start the next day.
There is also offered chai nepali, Nepali tea, hot and very sweet.
Everything happens so fast and at the same time that seem to live in different time dimensions, as if to make the most of the short time available.At the end of our adventure, because that was every moment of this journey, constaterò that time really has flown by and I wanted to do many more activities with the kids.
My very little English did not stop me, however, to live exciting moments of sharing, such as: show girls and girls like brushing your hair with shampoo, how to keep in order and take care of their personal clothes in the dresser in their room, laughing with their linguistic blunders of my business or my mime to compensate for what the language prevented me from expressing.And my shyness in public was finally won by the intimacy that is created in the home, where one of the last nights we were all thrown into a dance of Nepal (or trying to be such), imitating the grace and charm of Sushila, the youngest daughter present at the Happy Home.
Our days have been equally divided between institutional activities and tourism, with and without children.
We did not miss anything:
nature, with the walk at dawn in the Chitwan National Park, a World Heritage Site, where, from the back of the Asian elephant we saw the rhinos, deer and countless birds of different species and colors ; the boat trip on the river in the late afternoon, with the alligators that quietly slipped around us or, remaining motionless on the shore, they followed our passage;The story and art, with visits to the cities of Patan and Bhaktapur and their magnificent squares surrounded by richly decorated temples;
Spirituality, with the Swayambhunath temple or to Pashupatinath, bathed in the sacred Bagmati River, where the cremations take place, the stupa of Bodhnath, the largest in Nepal and one of the largest in the world; religious ceremonies, attending a wedding, a memorial service and a communal prayer of the monks.
The work and daily life in remote villages, admiring the women who go to fetch water or wash into public fountains and even women carrying wood or brick on the back in huge baskets, the children have fun with simple games, dyed yarns that dry air, the potters who mold the clay, grain drying in the sun, and finally the most dramatic images of the brick factories, where workers work and live in inhumane conditions.
Exciting was the best tour of all 80 children of the Happy Child project in Nagarkot, in an attempt to see the sunrise, unfortunately failed attempt due to the haze. But the disappointment was offset by seeing the joy in the children stay together and share a special moment.
Equally engaging was delivered to all the children gifts, clothing and shoes that supporters have made Italy; and play with them in the beautiful squares and streets of Bhaktapur.
During our trip we visited all 12 schools built by us, some easily reached by bus, others in a more adventurous, with hours of jeep and then a section on the back of the truck, but everywhere greeted warmly and cheerfully.
In all we found the care and attention in the maintenance, principles that Hanuman has struggled to grow in the minds of the various communities, some really poor.And 'in fact a priority for us, that what builds Hanuman, is preserved in time for the future of children and Nepal.
And to know that each of our journey these checks are carried out carefully, it reinforces my personal belief and my pride in openly support the seriousness that characterizes Hanuman Onlus and the certainty that everything that is collected is exclusively designed for children.
The whole time of my stay in Nepal, I was haunted by the desire to share what I lived, from images to emotions, with the many people in Italy who support my fundraising activities, economically or dedicating their ideas or their time.
I think the photos, videos or stories will not be sufficient to explain the feelings and that the only solution would be to invite them to come with us next trip, to be infected by the smile of these children.