Since being here I have worked with the kids on correcting grammar and spelling in letters they wrote to their sponsors. I typed up a list of punctuation and grammar rules, as well as helping them with certain sounds in English they have trouble making. Last night we had a discussion on the environment. Loo and I started off the discussion asking the kids how they felt about their home in Kathmandu, health issues related to pollution and garbage. They all participated and knew that things needed to be changed. We worked on how they can take small steps to make a difference.
Saturday I was happily surprised when Dinesh (the house dad) and his wife, Hira, asked Loo and I if we wanted to see a guru. We took a scooter ride to an ashram right outside Kathmandu. The ashram was beautiful and well-maintained. We walked through a garden, or "small forest," as Dinesh's son had called it, and up to a room where the guru was sitting. Swami had a long, fluffy white beard, gray dreads and was shirtless, wearing bright orange pants... wish I had snapped a picture of him! He spoke English well and talked a lot about the development of your inner self. Many times we are told to look out to help others, but most important is first developing your self, then the rest will follow. Swami was also an artist and violinist, both skills he performed beautifully.
Sunday was Founder's Day at Reliance Boarding School. It was great seeing the kids again and watching them perform on stage, either singing or dancing. Each grade performed separately. Two of the children came and sat on my lap, remembering me from my trip here in April. It was funny sitting there, being the only two white girls, and having a few of the kids take pictures of us. Not with us, but while they thought we weren't looking. Afterwards, Loo and I went out for nachos! Wow, was I missing my cheese!
During the day the kids leave for their bridge courses and I'd like to find more opportunities to occupy my time. So Monday I was taken to Sungava, an NGO for women that are mentally handicapped. I'd like to do a couple art lessons with them, but realize it can be a huge challenge, as the girls do not speak any English. Also, I may do some art lessons with the kids at Reliance. After Sungava, I went to the orphanage that the children in Reliance were sponsored from. The building was once a palace. However, it was very difficult to walk through, seeing so many children orphaned. The first two rooms I visited were nurseries. Yet, those coming from the orphanage to Reliance have such incredible spirits. I am very happy to be spending time with them.
Yesterday was a public holiday, Buddha's birthday! Loo, Craig and I celebrated by getting drinks and food and the Funky Buddha. It was a great way to enjoy Buddha's b-day, all the while forming myself a nice little Buddha belly.