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HOG HEAVEN FOUNDATION
Attn: Joanna Giles
Address:  PO Box 4456, Sedona, AZ 86340  USA
Telephone: +1-928-202-5057

E-mail:  joanna @ hogheavencharity.com

Trip to Nepal - September 2017

The NEXT NEPAL ADVENTURE will be 12th September - 26th September 2017. Join Joanna for a 2 week experience of a lifetime visiting their many projects, celebrations, cultural connections and Life in the bustle of Kathmandu and country life in the Mountains. A personal heart felt tour with new friendships. Get more details or sign up HERE.

Trip to Nepal - September 2013

Dear Hoggers,

Well the time has come - the final day of The Nepal Adventure - 2 weeks for some and 20 days for me. Again this amazing experience has out done itself and flown by in the blink of an eye. Three Teenagers and 5 Adults (sometimes) and our entourage of Nepali's - 5, including our wonderful Tour Operator Sanjaya Tripathee.

Let the tour begin:

Day 1. World Youth 14th Year Founders Day Celebrations were wonderful - arrived to circus style striped tents, banners, multi coloured streamers strewn from one side of the compound to the other - children bustling everywhere - flashes of costumes and make up dashing past. Speakers blasting trial music, full blue skies and eagles soaring above our heads always a very full and long day filled with bursting smiles of children whose hearts race as they take the floor for their much rehearsed performances. And in the midst of all this I was surprised and strongly coerced to join a group of very beautiful girls in traditional Nepali dance - (another one to add to my resume) followed by a short speech - not in Nepali this time - I made them laugh way too much 2 years ago.

Radika who runs the WYI school and Sapana Dreaming Home - had everything beautifully orchestrated and we left 9 hours later with our hearts full and broad smiles. Ann and Ralph Hoey from WYI Adelaide attended along with Mark Veitch who is the new Chairman for WYI. A day to be very proud of!!! Even the new Australian Ambassador to Nepal was there with his wife. The day is always capped off with way too many Mojito's at the Garden of Dreams - Paradise in a bustling city.

Day 2. 3000 steps to the Monkey Temple with the odd monkey threatening to pounce, a stroll through ancient carved buildings in the Durba Square, street sellers - tiger balm please! cows, sari's and Holy men - A monk standing in the baking sun with a gold bowl, music floating across the square from the hand made violins - and all before lunch - I am not going to tell you all the details - some you just have to come and find out for yourselves!

Day 3. Our Sacred Day - Sacred Stupa's, Pyre's and families farewelling their beloveds - The circle of life and death - reborn again - ash to ash followed by a Monastery filled to busting with Monks in Training. The mind swoons at the plethora of colours, smells, feelings, thoughts whilst interacting with friendly Nepali's selling wares. It's time for Foot spa - and we melt into a much needed soft and comfy chair whilst feet soak in a hot foot tub of aromatic herbs followed by the best foot massage ever!

Day 4. Phoolbari is where we have been putting in solar panels over the last 3 years (Thanks to Gokul Khada from Swogun Energy) - slowly we are covering all the houses in the various villagers and this time we found ourselves in another district with a new school built by my dear friend and brilliant traditional architect Rabindra Puri. More celebrations and speeches whilst perched high on a hill side with views down the green and lush valley.

Here we left our 2 beautiful teenage girls for 2 nights - to experience Nepali lifestyle in the raw. They were entertained with traditional dancing, puppets (perhaps not quite the same as Sound of Music) but sitting under the stars surrounded by a community who took them in as their own and before bed - dressed them in Traditional Sari's so they could see what the women wear each day.

Day 5. Meanwhile back at the ranch, we (the adults) filled the day with tailors, exploring shops and whatever else the day requested of us. (To be honest we were exhausted and we are only 4 days in! It was a lazy day.)

Day 6. Off to the ancient city of Baktapur - stepping back in time to an Indiana Jones set - cobbled streets, no cars, carved temples, pottery kiln production and Rabindra Puri's extraordinary transformed Model Home which won the Onesco award - Here we dine - and OH! the food - (one of my all time favorite places for indulging in traditional Nepali food - did I mention the yoghurt - you have never tasted anything like it!! Seriously! The family who makes the yoghurt have been doing so for over a century and use to provide the Moghul Kings in their day.

Day 7. BALLOONS - Fill your lungs and get ready to blow - we have 25 minutes to blow up 80 Balloons as we drive to where we Fill our hearts and get ready to play. Here we visit a very small day care center with the smallest cutest babes and toddlers you have ever seen. This year we met Krisna the future president - a maybe 3 year old tiny boy who sat with his arms crossed on a desk - whilst we reeked havoc around him punching a balloon so that it would not touch the ground - this small boy never gave us one smile or one look as to where the balloon might fall. No matter how hard we tried - what happened to him at such a young age to be this way in life? The other children laughed, sang songs and punched the balloon with glee - simple pleasures. Beautiful hand knitted jumpers and caps - made by the hands of huge hearts in Queensland were distributed to the center for the oncoming winter. It gets cold here in winter! Blankets, balls and paints were also given to keep young minds busy. All captured by Nepal's first film maker Prem Basset.

Next stop Mrs. Satyal's small school - Mrs. Satyal was the first woman to complete University in Nepal. I considered her my Nepali grandmother (for those of you who knew Dor - very similar energy). Sadly My beautiful grandmother passed this year and the Crown and septre has been passed to her most beautiful daughter in law - Leena. Unloading with Bunches of Balloons and cake in hand, armed with back packs, clothing, paints, playdoh and wait: the most important thing for the day - water pistols and water balloons.

We were greeted with too much love and excitement - Here the children sang songs and beamed at us - Graduates arrived to share in the festivities and after all the formalities of popping balloons, songs, Simon Says, photos and Birthday Cake - where we sing Happy Birthday to ourselves - as these children have never celebrated their birthday (perhaps Buddha's Birth) but nay their own - so we sing to ourselves in wonderful celebration. Voices raised!

Then it's on - let the water games begin - Outside - teams sorted in some version of fairness we stand either end of the OK coral - (outside the school) - just like a spaghetti western - Balloons at 20 paces - F I R E - it is on! water flying everywhere, coloured flashes whizzing past - S P L A T - water pistols don't work - damn - oh oh - Sarita is headed for me - she wouldn't dare - OMG - she is going to ........... Lesson learnt - Nepali's don't play fair. She threw the entire bucket of water over me - I was completely saturated - laughter and children screaming with squeals - the games continue - the teenagers who we have brought are fully invested at this stage. Ah! The joy!

Dinner at in the courtyard one of the most Beautiful hard carved Hotels in the world - outside by the pool, twinkling lights. Picturesque to say the least.

Day 8. The International day of Peace is being held at my dear friend Chintamani Yogi Ji's Ashram - he is facilitating an educational conference for school teenagers on life, conflict and how to be for peace - I join them briefly in the afternoon and give a few words of brilliant inspiration.

Day 9. It's Sunday - A day to share with our Nepali family - Leena graciously has us All for lunch in her home and cooks the most wonderful array of Nepali dishes. Filled to the brim we make our way to Chintamani's School - where we are welcomed by beautiful souls filled with peace and care for one another. They sing a myriad of songs praising various gods and nature - Full voices raised to the heavens as we sit on the roof top of the school after which we share a delicious humble Nepali dinner. Home to pack!

Day 10. We are leaving Kathmandu for Chitwan National Park - Home to Bengali Tigers, Elephants, Rhino's, Deer, Peacocks and HOT HUMID weather - we travel via winding bumpy roads through terraced mountains and visually stunning vistas of lush green rice paddies and hills that stretch themselves on tippy toes into mountains kissing the heavens. We take a Cable car on the stairway to heaven - passing another hill, mountain - up and up we go......... and then once back on land we head to a dreamy location on the edge of the fast flowing rafting river and find ourselves floating in the Hotel's pool with a .................. swim up bar - how does it get better than this? Our driver can see where this is headed and rallies us to recommit to the adventure and we take off once more for the Jungle.

Day 11. Early to bed - Early to rise - WAKE UP - its 5.30am - Bleary and worn from the incessant bumping of our days journey we climb a ladder so to reach the top of our awaiting lift. Grey and gentle the so small eyes watch on as we settle into the Elephants huge 4 person saddle on his back. I am incessantly singing Jungle Book Songs especially the one with the elephants (Time to watch it if you haven't, make sure it's the original) And off we go - The corn is as high as an elephant's ....... - not going there - but what a beautiful site as the gentle dewy mist lifted to reveal this glorious day - we swayed through the reeds of grass with tufts of white cotton - spotted deer, rhino, peacocks and a tigers paw print fresh in the mud - but nay to clap eyes on the regally beautiful beast. Home for breakfast and then my personal highlight - I love elephants - and so it was no surprise that I found myself wading into the river to attend to ours - who was laying in the water waiting for a back scrub - with rock in hand i set to work along with the others who all began to brave this extraordinary experience - bathing an elephant - another for my resume!

Nepal elephant rideBut wait - I am now instructed by the elephant handler to climb on board - with no English - and a little confused - mainly because this was outside my reality - I step onto the leg of the elephant and just like a circus act throw myself up onto the neck of the elephant - holding on for dear life to the rope around her neck she heaves her huge body out of the water and I have not fallen off! With some cajoling instructions she begins to drink or so I think! and then before I know it - she is squirting me on her back - over and again - I am a 5 year old - laughing and loving every minute of this - can't believe it's happening - Queen of Sheba in the River with my own Elephant giving me a bath. SERIOUSLY - How does it get better than this?

In the afternoon - we set off for a hike through the jungle, to the crocodile farm - way too many for my liking - very snappy! And then for a long relaxing canoe ride down the river to home - In theory that is what it should have been but there are 'diles in the river and nervous people in the boat and those that think it might be fun to exploit the moment - Boat A - very stressed sojourn down the river suggesting all disasters that could befall - Boat B - Heavenly peaceful float in silence. Amazing how different the experiences can be.

Day 12. Our family departs for Australia and we are now 4, headed for a side trip to Pokara - a dreamy location on a lake. R&R is the order of the day and night. Para gliders float in by the dozens - landing on the lawn in front of the Hotel, Nepali men fishing along the edge of the lake, goats and dogs running past - sun and clouds lay gently over the mountains that surround - I sit nurtured by nature reflecting on our journey and surrounding and all spied from my chaise lounge at poolside. AH! What a Wonderful World -.....skies of blue..... Louie Armstrong hums through my consciousness, followed by "Bare Necessities forget about your worries and your strife... " from The Jungle Book.

So my friends - Thank you for being a part of this journey with me. Every one is invited. Save the Date for September 2016 - for the 15th Anniversary of the Sapana Dreaming Home to which I am the Patron, Hey only kidding I will be going again before then - Let me know if you are interested ...

With love and Gratitude for all that comes to me and All who share their lives with me - Worldwide

NAMASTE from NEPAL

Signing off,

Joannaji

Sapana Dreaming School had its 10th anniversary in 2011 and we were there to celebrate!.

Click here for full details of our 2011 Nepal trip.

Love and Namaste,
Joanna Giles