Bridge to Nepal Blog

Monday, April 26, 2010

Orphans in Need: By Jason Corbin

I had just finished three days of visiting local Kamiya (ex-slave villages around the town of Dhangarhi in Nepal where I was working on assessing the health of Water Buffalo. Marian, who I had been traveling with, had left for Tikapur a day and a half earlier and I was anxious to meet up with him again.

At 5:00 the next morning my driver and I embarked on the two our treck to Tikapur. Visibility that morning was about five feet. The roads that were supposed to be paved seemed more like dirt roads, and the dirt roads seemed more like dried up river beds. Needless to say, it was bumpy! I tried to catch a nap, but whenever I dozed I found myself jolted by a large bump or not wanting to fully fall asleep so I could brace myself if we had to stop suddenly if something or someone were to appear out of the dense fog in the middle of the road.

In the early light when we passed through villages we could begin to make out the shapes of people and farm animals moving like ghosts in the thick mist. After a couple hours of driving the road began to improve and the fog began to lift and we emerged from the woods into a small town. We had a arrived at Tikapur. We drove down what seemed to be the main road lined with many small homes. The town seemed to still be sleeping. We came to a traffic circle and went down a straight dirt road that was in the processes of being improved. The feeling of this road seemed different. Houses were in better shape, the side of the road was cleaner. There was something special about the road we were driving down. As we neared the end of the road on the right was a long brick wall with gates and behind it hid a long square building in conjunction with a tall pink Mediterranean style house. The driver slowed and pulled in front of the gate. I got out of the car, stretched, and was reminded of how cold it was when I was able to see my yawn vaporize in the air. We went up to the gate and knocked.

We heard some rustling in the house and then footsteps approaching the gate. When the gate opened a man with a bright yellow jacket and holding flower necklaces in his hands greeted us with a smile that melted away the stress of the last couple hours and rough nights sleep and left me with sense of peace and safety. He said hello in broken English, shook my hand with strong firm grip and told us his name and then proceeded to place the flower necklaces over our heads.
He invited me in through the gates, while the driver stayed behind with the car, which is customary in Nepal and India. As I walked through the gates I was surprised with meticulously cared for gardens and various fruit trees. He began to name the different trees and plants on the way to his house. We strolled down a walk way and onto a porch to his front door where we took our shoes off and he invited me in to his home, still with that calming and genuine smile. I took my shoes off on the porch and stepped into a small living room with humble furnishings. The windows were open even though it was only barely 50 degrees outside. I sat down on a small futon like couch and he sat across from me. He explained to me again that  this was his home, and he was the pastor of the church across from the house. He than began to ask me if I liked the road that we drove down as he was on one of the town boards and was able to get enough funding to have the street that his church and school are located on improved. I recalled the change in the atmosphere when my driver and I turned down this road. He asked me if I would like some tea, and being desperate for a hot drink to warm me up I gratefully said yes. A few moments later he delivered the tea for me and then sat down again and stared at me smiling. After a few moments of awkward silence, but never once breaking his contagious smile he said “I think brother Marian must be up by now.”

You may be asking at this point, “why the long winded story about traveling to Tikapur. I thought this posting had to do with orphans in Nepal?” It does, but I wanted to begin by providing my own story of how I met this wonderful man to hopefully paint a better picture of the kindness, gentleness and caring that emanates from him and his household. Before we met,  I had experienced the impact he is having on his community just by turning down his street. And at that time, I did not even know that was the street he lived on. Finally making it to his house and then walking through his gates into his humble gardens was like entering a safe harbor after crossing a stormy sea.

Marian had told me about this kind man and his family and all the work they are doing in Tikapur and the surrounding Kamiya villages. They are doing an incredible amount of work to help orphaned children and to help make better lives for ex-slave families in their surrounding area, on top of being the pastor of a quickly growing church.

I had gone to Tikapur to meet up with Marian and help with the planning of a new zip line that was being built to make easier passage across the river for local villagers, farmers and school children, as well as to help plan for a new school in the town of PremNegar. In addition, I had been told that this family was caring for many orphans, all girls who were in his care for various reasons. Some their parents had been killed in Nepal’s recent civil wars, others their parents simply could not afford them and gave them up, knowing that this family would provide them with food, shelter and a good education. On my trip I sat down with all the girls at once to talk to them about their stories and ask them about their lives in an effort to raise awareness of the need to share the responsibility of financially providing for these orphaned girls. I’ve compiled a short profile for each of the girls seen in the picture above.

Seema
Age: 7
Village: Makri
Time at Orphanage: 1 year
Reason at Orphanage: Her father died (reasons unknown). Her mother then deserted her with grandparents. Seema’s grand parents could not take care of her so brought her to the orphanage.
Favorite thing to do: Play rope (jump roping with other girs and other games)

Seema wears a constant smile. She is full of energy and loves to play. Sophie (Parasu’s daughter) runs a school down the street and Seema attends there. Although she is seven years old, she is learning to help around the orphanage and home (when she’s not playing).

SeemaAge: 11
Village: Bashhaha
Time at Orphanage: 5 years
Reason at Orphanage: Mother and father could not take care of her and so they brought her to the orphanage. Seema came from a large family and often the youngest girl may be given up so that the family can afford to feed the rest of the children.
Favorite thing to do: Seema enjoys dancing



SonuAge: 13
Village: Amaura
Time at Orphanage: 5 years
Reason at Orphanage: Similar to young Seema, Sonu’s father died and her mother could not take care of her, so she gave her up to the orphanage.
Favorite thing to do: Sonu enjoys reading.

RanjitaAge: 14
Village: Darhma Pur
Time at Orphanage: 4 years
Reason at Orphanage: Ranjita came from a large family with 4 other brothers and sisters. Her father and mother could not afford to take care of her and put her in the care of the orphanage.
Favorite thing to do: Ranjita likes knitting. She especially likes to knit shawls and sweaters.


JunuAge: 11
Village: Lukaramandi
Time at Orphanage: 4 years
Reason at Orphanage: Junu had 3 brothers and sisters. Her parents could not afford to take care of her and gave her up to the orphanage.
Favorite thing to do: Junu enjoys art, especially drawing.




Maya (means love in Nepali)
Age: 12
Village: Bandi
Time at Orphanage: Unkown
Reason at Orphanage: Maya’s father was killed by a Maoist rebel. Her mother works, but still could not afford to take care of Maya and all of her 4 brothers and sisters.
Favorite thing to do: Maya likes to sing.




AkritiAge: 17
Village: Baghmara
Time at Orphanage: 11 Years
Reason at Orphanage: Akriti’s parents were not able to take care of and feed her as well as her 5 other siblings.
Favorite thing to do: Akriti enjoys serving.

Akriti is very kind and has a servant heart. She helps around the house, church and orphanage and enjoys cooking. She is soon to leave the orphanage to continue school. Akriti has a tight bond with Parsu’s family, especially Sophie his daughter.

Throughout the days at Parsu’s house and the orphanage I was able to witness the tight bond that these girls had and was able to get a sense of their serving hearts, loving personalities as well as their ambition to succeed in life.

Before I went to Nepal I sent a letter out to many friends and colleagues letting them know about my trip to Nepal. Originally, I had asked people to contribute to agricultural projects going on and many friends and co-workers were very generous and gave. However after seeing the need to help take care of these girls, a portion of those funds raised will go to sponsoring three of these girls for a year. It costs about $35.00 a month to provide food, shelter, electricity, school and medical for these girls. These are just some of the girls in need, there are other orphans who have been paired up with families in rural villages that also need sponsorships.

If you would like to sponsor one of these girls, or provide a donation to help provide a “safe harbor” for these girls, please contact us at truestoriesfrommarian@gmail.com