Nepal Project Report October 2006
We are almost natives by now. It doesn't mean that the emotion and the will to return decrease, they are constantly present in all of us. Even the curiosity is high this time. After the disorders of this last spring, cost dozens of dead on the streets of the capital, finally a stronger has been signed, with the reopening of the parliament and the renewal of the civil rights. The country has once more appeared as protagonist on the international scene, but this time in a positive sense. The path to the reconstruction of a democratic and violence-free Nepal seems now started, and our friends write us about a changed atmosphere and of a newfound serenity.
We come back in October, the month that hosts the most important holidays of the country. At our arrival at the airport our friends' eyes can't hide a serenity we hadn't seen in them for years.
On the roads the absolute lack of military and road blocks is immediately noticeable. The usual chaotic traffic of the capital proceeds with the normal orderly disorder. The foreign tourists crowd the charming area of Thamel; the Italians are still very few. The sensation of being the only tourists to walk through the deserted streets of the capital, normal for the past years and almost a sad traveling companion, has now left the place to its friend serenity.
The Benighat village awaits us one more time. Off the bus, here it comes the Mayor, called "Little Mayor" for his short height, who hugs us with tears in his eyes and donates us lots of sincere smiles. The schools are closed in these days for the holiday of Tihar, but the children are here anyway to form the greeting committee.
Finally we meet our children of the ""project. In the next days we will be living with them to know them better.
The festive atmosphere is at its peak, almost like out Christmas period. The women of the village are all busy to prepare the ceremony of the tika, to honor the men of the house with the traditional red tika on their forehead. Even we will participate as protagonists, since we are now part of the big Kandel family.
The days pass quietly, the kids keep us company and with them we pass special moments. Their games seem like the ones of the children of our past in our countryside, when they used to run down the stairs with still the lines of chocolate on their lips, to go and play with their friends in the courtyard, to run the tire or to play hide and seek. And when the luckiest child would arrive, with the football, they would run after each other and after that magic rubber ball. We have remembered in our memory old games that technology has put in the attic. Here we are now organizing a small tournament of games: "Bandiera", "Quattro Cantoni", hide and seek…So many sincere laughs from those young faces ready to fly in the air like small white butterflies.
The same butterflies, in a flutter of wings bring us back to the music of the village band that has almost reached the Janagaun Primary School, the school on the top of the hill we had built for the Janagaun community, three hours of walking from Benighat. We rest for a few minutes; the walk is hard and steep. We don't dare lament though, thinking about all the strain those workers must have endured, transporting on their shoulders the weight of all the material used for the construction of the school. How many times they have gone back and forth without a noise, strong in their fierceness and proud of their work.
But now, almost at the end, the children of the village run towards us. Taking us by the hand, they accompany us to the top of the hill. We finally arrive, our heavy breath that suddenly disappears to leave space for the surprise: the school is really beautiful, sky-blue, on one floor, L-shaped. "L" as in Laura, the generous benefactor that has wanted to finance the whole school. The rooms now are bright and wide, and the strong windows will protect the children during the bitter winter.
The party starts. The music, the dances, the songs and the laughs rise in the air throughout the valley, calling the last few curious people arrived from the valley. Everybody thanks us with sincere appreciation. Even the Nepalese journalist of the national television, sent to film the event, remains surprised at such show of affection.
In the evening we decide to invite the whole village, children included, to the thanksgiving dinner we of Hanuman Onlus decide to offer as a sign of appreciation of such hospitality.
The goodbyes are at usual the most painful thing, but we leave with a new important project for the 2007: the rebuilding of the Shree Basanta Primary School, on the hill of Swayalbhanjang, made of only 3 small and dark rooms that will be replaced by 6 new classes, much wider and brighter to host lots of children in comfort and dignity.
We come back once more from this magic country, rich in sensations and missions to realize: the construction of the Shree Basanta Primary School and the finishing of the Bunghamati School; a new project in Baktapur and especially the construction of a "Family Home" for the children of the "Educating Children" project.