Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Happy Nepali New Year, everyone! You might be wondering, how is it 2072 in Nepal? It’s because in Nepal, the official calendar is the Bikram Sambat calendar. It is approximately 56 years and 8 months ahead of the Gregorian calendar and Mid-April usually marks the beginning of the year.

It’s been a wonderful trip leading up to the New Year! Over the last couple of weeks, our organization, TRIFC, hosted a camping trip with the kids from both DHC Newlife Center (DHC) and Disabled NewLife Center (DNC) followed by a 6-day Life Skills Training course for the Blind and Visually Impaired (BVI). Many last minute changes occurred due to weather and bandhs (road closures due to political strikes). However, everything went without a hitch. The camping trip was a huge success - it included art and craft activities, a magic act, sleeping in tents (a first for many of the kids), followed by a road trip to Dhulikhel for a wonderful picnic at a gorgeous and spacious park. Both events, the camping trip and the Life Skills course was based at the DNC home. Fun was had by all!


The Life Skills Training course for the BVI, was a huge success. It was organized by TRIFC Founder and Executive Director, Rob Rose, ADSoN Executive Director, Nirmala Gyawali, and members of the Rotaract Club of Dhulikhel. The Rotaractors have been involved with a local school in their town which is home to 14 BVI kids who participated in the program. These young men and women of Rotaract, visit the kids weekly to provide nutritional fruit and provide some basic life skills training. The week-long program focused more intensely on what these kids will need to know once they are out in the the real-world. Such things as mobility (white-cane use), self-defense, kitchen skills, money identification, house cleaning specifically sweeping, exercise and yoga were taught. All with the goal of empowering the kids to take charge of their lives and surroundings. Sristi KC, Founder of Blind Rocks was one of the main instructors along with a cadre of other BVI instructors and Rotaractors. Sristi and all those involved in teaching the were awesome. They all did a fantastic job making the teaching both relevant and fun. An added bonus was having the training at the DNC home facility. The children there have a variety of physical disabilities but they have not had much contact with BVI children. They jumped in and helped and when possible, were also invited to participate in some activities. It was the best experience one could hope for given all the changes that occurred. I must say, I really did not want this experience to end and I sure learned a ton!

But alas, here I am back in Thamel, the tourist district and last night was New Year’s Eve. Food vendors had set up shop on the sidewalks and the streets were packed with people all dressed up and ready to party. I got back early from my activities of the day and spent the evening with Naseer, a shop owner from Kashmir, India, talking about each others’ lives over a cup of tea. Tea flows freely here. Walk into any shop and tea will usually, but not always, be offered. I then headed to the closest store and got some treats for myself and the boys at the front desk here at my hotel. We enjoyed a delicious platter of buff (buffalo) momos, Fanta (it’s the go-to soda pop drink here!) and some crunchy snacks. It was our little way of celebrating the New Year. But it was short-lived as the boys had to get back to work to attend to their guests.

One thing about Nepal, there are numerous occasions to celebrate the New Year. For many of us the New Year is a time of reflection. As I reflect back on the last year and the last month for that matter, I am very grateful. I am grateful to be able to return to this lovely country in such a short time and spend it with amazing people, especially the kids! This trip has been and continues to be everything - exhausting but mostly rejuvenating, sad but mostly happy, yet most of all, inspiring. I’m inspired by the strength and spirit of the Nepali people. I wish them and all of you, a joyous, healthy and uplifting New Year 2072! Namaste.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love hearing about all of the wonderful experiences you're having and ways you're helping out, Jackie! ~Shauna