Friday, January 16, 2009

Disabled Rehabilitatin Center, Nepal

I arrived at my host family's home in the outskirts of Kathmandu on Tuesday amist a lot of chaos. There were five volunteers taying there, but two were headin south for holiday just as I was coming, and the father's parents were also staying with them. I did get settled in ok, and one of the Hope and Home staff took me to the DRC. It's a pleasant 20 minute walk along a "river" (currently a choked mess of garbage with a trickle of water).

The center has about 50 kids living there, most or whom are disabled in some way, but some of whom are orphans. There are a couple of staff who live there two, but they don't really speak English. Some of the kids speak pretty well, and they are all really sweet. There was a girl who spoke really good English there the first day, so she helped me through the awkward first day as everyone was getting to know me. A couple of the little girls--about 8 yrs old--have befriended me and bring me along to play all sorts of things. Wednesday, a few of them decided we should go for a walk, so I took four of them (or rather they took me, cause I had no idea where we were going) to a nearby playground where they had a riot with the swings. Sometimes I help with homework. Sometimes I try to help wash dishes or do the laundry, but the little kids always look at me with a horrified look and say "Ali! Nooooo!" It's a little strange, cause they treat me like an honored guest.

Despite being disabled, most of the kids are so mature and self-reliant. It's strange to think of American kids (or Chinese kids) who need attention 24/7. They do their own laundry, wash their own dishes, help each other to bathe and change clothes. And there's only one kid who is obnoxious some of the time. The rest area all really sweet and nice to each other and adults.

Yesterday I went with some people to the water source of this part of Kathmandu and saw the hydro plant and the water treatment plant, which was pretty cool. The water here is not really drinkable from the tap, but ok if boiled.

The food here is so delicious and so simple. The tea is a little sweet and usually made with milk. The woman who cooks at the DRC is really funny and makes the best curries. The first day volunteering was a festival where we ate yams, sweet potatoes, candy, and Nepali donuts. Also a concoction of lentils rice and butter called kitchiri, which resembled risotto. I'm still trying to weasel my way into my host family's kitchen to learn about cooking Nepali food.

Things are good. I'm here for another two weeks.

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