This weekend has been an exciting one. To celebrate the end of the extremely stressful exams week and to do something special with the kids, as sadly time is running out, Jesse and I planned the ultimate 3D movie, arcade games, and amusement park fun-packed day. Unfortunately due to some political issues occurring near Kathmandu Fun Park we had to cut the amusement park idea. Though I think that the children quickly forgot all about Fun Park while watching violent yet exciting English speaking 3D apes in The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The five tubs of popcorn and five jumbo Pepsis probably also served as an excellent distraction. The 3D movie theatre was in an upscale mall, one that the kids have never been to before and were quite excited to explore. Afterwards we headed up to the arcade where 20-cent games created hours of fun and happiness. I have to admit that I think I was starting to forget what their smiles look like and how their laughs sound. Playtime was nearly nonsexist this past week as the Nepalese are very serious about academia and are highly competitive. It was really nice to watch the kids unwind and to also provide them some autonomy with their tokens.
I know the kids had a fun day because they surely worked up an appetite! Two family packs (an order of 100) chicken momos, a large chicken pizza, chicken drumsticks, chicken meatballs, fanta coke sprite galore, and french fries later I saw some happy faces and full tummies. I guess the kids really wanted to reach outside their mainly veg diet? It surely was a great opportunity to have some chicken! After our chicken dinner we had to take 3 cabs home, as we are a pretty big group. With Bihkram in the front seat, the backseat was just the girls and I. In my last post I mentioned some of the sweet things about the boys, but of course, I love these ladies with all of my heart as well. Soma, Kopila, Srijana, and Pramila, the most caring, modest, and compassionate girls, giggled and lovingly held each other the whole way home. I asked them if they enjoyed their day and Pramila replied with “Sister how can I even express to you”. I told them that they have no idea how much I will miss them and then we laughed together discussing the different ways I could fit them into my suitcase, smuggle them into America, as they are precious cargo, and where exactly to poke the holes for air.
Volunteering with these beautiful and open children has really made me recollect my own childhood, and reflect on what it was like to be young and to not know “what to do” or “how to play, so bored”. While brainstorming some more activities to get the kids excited, the lovely Floridian memory of water balloons and shaving cream fights finally dawned on me, and what do you know water balloons are quite the Nepali treat! Water balloons happen to be used only during the festival Holi to throw colored dyes on others. The balloons are called “lola” (how fun!) and the children were quite convinced that it is illegal to participate in playing with lola outside of Holi… they were positive the police would come and arrest us all. Needless to say I convinced them otherwise and we had a lovely wet playful fight in the privacy of our front yard. (Shhh no one tell the police!) I also picked up a pack of rainbow colored jump ropes. They have been a big hit thus far with getting the kids outside and playing with each other, even tying two jump ropes together and daring two or three brothers or sisters to jump at a time. I am so happy to see the kids playing outside again, and to see their bright little faces looking up at me from somewhere other than a textbook.
To be fair to my blog I am having a hard time right now from a volunteer standpoint. To be sensitive to my NGO I do not want to go into too much detail here, but needless to say between the difficulties in communication, differences in upbringing, and opinions, the boundaries between culture, fairness, and opportunities are often blurred. To be brief, I mean that I want to help and provide experiences these children may have never had, but sometimes ideas or feelings are miscommunicated and others feel threatened by change.
I think I will end my night in reflection and with yoga. Love you all, and Namaste.
((For now here is a video I made of the beautiful Bouddhanath. I’m thinking maybe some kind of editing like this for the creative aspect of my capstone, showing Nepal’s culture and spirituality, and using voice over instead of music to talk about some societal issues (maybe). If you watch it I hope you watch it in HD and enjoy it!))