Greening One Village at a Time!

Trips to Nepal

Trip to Nepal - September 2013

Check out our 2013 amazing times in Nepal HERE!

Check out our fun and accomplishments during our 2011 trip to Nepal!

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

What a whirlwind of time the last 12 weeks have been!   I left at the beginning of September and started with 6 days in the mountains of Greece staying with friends and my adopted Greek family. Ate more food than you can imagine. Trying to get the language through the food! Then having collected my God daughter, we headed to Nepal for the adventure of a lifetime.

Three weeks of the most amazing experiences and displays of unconditional love, warmth, gratitude and generosity of spirit. I love the Nepalese people - they are a kind and generous race who would give you the shirt off their backs - which is amazing given they are mostly poor.

Our weather was generally very good and the group of 10 were well behaved and fun. We had women from Kuwait, Guangzhou, Greece, Australia and USA and of course Will who was very brave to be surrounded by us all.

We attended 3 major events -

14th Sept - The Sapana Orphanage 10 year celebration was quite official and I even gave a speech in Nepalese - that just about brought the house down - well the tent - everyone was laughing so hard and I am not talking about the white people - lovely to see the Nepalese belly laugh. After realizing that my phonetically prepared speech was not going to come out quite as I intended - I decided to play it up! Anyhoo, we were entertained all day by wonderful performances from the children. The weather held out beautifully and everyone was happy sitting in the lush green mountain region of Gokarne.

21st Sept - The Phoolbari Village celebration where we have recently installed 65 solar panels - (Thanks in part to the Queens Club - YEAH) Is only 27 Miles away from Kathmandu - it took 2 hours to get there!! - I must admit they could really use some road repairs over there. The weather was a bit miserable, drizzling and grey, misty but still warm. At one point we were not sure if the bus was going to make it and our non-Indiana Jones members were getting nervous as the bus would slip and slide on the climb up to the village. We then had to walk 1 hour into the village on the muddy rocky road past humble mud homes, chickens, goats and the biggest PIG I have ever seen.

YEAH! We were greeted by an honor guard of musicians, flower leis and soooo many children - the rain had stopped and it all looked like it was going to come together beautifully - and it did. We visited a few homes which had received a solar panel - mud floors - pitch black inside with pigeons in baskets lining the wall. Don't ask me why they had pigeons - note to self - must ask someone! - Anyhoo, it took forever for my eyes to adjust to the light in a vague attempt to see them - and I am talking faintly at best. Then we turned on the bulb which was supplied from the solar panel - yeah - let there be light!! and there was. I mean we are not talking football field of light but still - they could see and relief so could I.

On to a few more homes ever being entertained by the 75 year old dancing minstrel in front of us, the musicians and the children. We visited a 90 year old man who has light for the first time - incredible - can you imagine - these people never leave their homes after dark and sit in the dark when they are there unless they are burning some toxic whatever - like kerosene which turns their noses black - amazing to think anyone can live that long - eventually we were led to the most beautiful home owned by my friend Rabindra (who is an architect and was originally sent to volunteer in this village when he was a teenager - now he is one of the top traditional architects in Nepal and has built 5 schools including the one in this village. Such a generous soul, incredibly talented and good looking to boot - how does it get better than this?).

Here we all danced like Bollywood movie stars in the garden with the heavens as our backdrop high in the mountains - I think the Gods would have been pleased with this spectacle. Rabindra has the most fantastic cook who made all of us - about 20 - the scrummiest (technical term) lunch - wow and yum. Then we were off to the official presentation ceremony only 4 hours late but hey what else are they doing in the mountains besides attending buffalo and crops or walking 45 minutes one way to get water. Yikes - can you imagine! The whole village turned out for the all the pomp and ceremony - we were all issued photo frames, blessing scarves, programs, gifts and of course don't forget the paparazzi and the film crew - what a hoot! Oh and everyone was gifted each of these things individually with clapping in between each one - (Are you getting how long that takes just to welcome 14 people).

Traditional shaman danced and chanted and one incredibly old, wrinkled and beautiful small woman stood in front of me just looking at me!!! I took her photo - this apparently indicated permission and so she stepped forward pulling from under her pashmina wrap a beautiful flowered garland. OMG - she was soooo happy and so was I. It was placed over my head and we hugged - towering over her by a foot. Sisters from 2 different worlds grateful for each others presence. So humbling. Rabindra went on to tell me that she has not been able to leave home at night and would just sit in the dark - I did not realize how much this panel has changed her life. For only $125USD her life was changed = one Tire if you're lucky! I found out later as we walked back out that she is 80. I couldn't keep up with her.... I think she was rushing a little because she wanted me to come a stay at her house.

Another perfect day -we made our way back to the bus picking our way over the country road. The sun had come out over our ceremony and the majestic breathtaking mountains were revealed by the clouds, the villagers were happy, my group were happy and we were all happily exhausted ready for the 2 hour bus trip home.

22nd Sept - We went to the Sapana Dreaming Children's Home which I am the Patron of - to visit and play with the Orphans. As with all children - they were shy to start out with - 33 of them aging between 3 and 16. The 3 year old had arrived 3 hours earlier and was an incredible child- She had come from the other end of Nepal and was extremely tough and independent. Surprising us with the fact she could copy writing and spell her own name - I think she will have everyone sorted in the home within days. It's only $1700 for the year to educate and home a child at Sapana.

We brought in paints and pressies but ended up doing bubble blowers with the children and playing Duck Duck Goose - which for those of you who don't know - You sit in a circle and someone is nominated to be the Goose - you walk around tapping each child on the head duck duck duck etc.....and then you tap Goose and run for your life (missing the wall, the cupboard, legs and anything else that may mar your path to successfully make it back to the place that the said Goose has come from - Needless to say they picked on all the adults as watching us attempt to get up quickly - let alone run was hysterical at best. Resulting in side splitting laughter and the ice officially broken. After which we were entertained with martial arts and songs....leaving them with our own rendition of Farewell adieu from The Sound of Music. Another totally beautiful experience.

We also visited a Baby day care center that a now friend of mine runs - most people if they are lucky to have a job - say a teacher - only earn $20 a month - so its very expensive for them to put there children into daycare taking out at least half their wage - but what do you do if the husband has left or the wife has died and you are the only one left to support a child? So if anyone is interested in sponsoring a babe in daycare that would be $120 per year = 2 Dinners at a nice restaurant and a bottle of wine.  Mrs. Satyal's school - is a preschool for children from very poor families who cannot afford to send their children to school. The children range from 4 to10. Currently they have about 20 children - last year there were 45.

Mrs. Satyal was the first woman to be receive a university degree in Nepal - She is now 80 and had colon cancer. She is the equivalent of my Mother Theresa so HOG Heaven is always happy to help her with anything we can. You should have seen us blowing up balloons in the bus so we could arrive as a total celebration of color and joy. We decided to have a birthday party with the children and a group of children who had graduated came back to visit too. We had balloons and cake, gifts in the form of back packs, toy cars, school supplies and hair ribbons, etc... but nothing surpassed the water balloon fight between the children and the foreigners - needless to say we were saturated in minutes - too much fun and too much laughter - I love nothing more than behaving like a complete rat bag when your expected to be a grown up - the kids loved it and so did we.  It's $250 to sponsor a child to preschool - What would it take to grab a friend a sponsor a child?

BLESSED - How did we get so lucky? I mean really - to live where we do, to have what we have and to have the ability to change our circumstances. We are truly blessed - with immense gratitude for EVERYONE who has contributed in whatever way to my life, this journey of changing the lives of those touched in Nepal. Immense Gratitude for your Being.

Love and Namaste,
Joanna Giles