Sunday, April 08, 2007

Santosh

As you can see from the earlier pictures, Dinesh has been busy finding needy children to live at Sam's House. But often the children find him, so to speak. Now that Sam's House is open, he is beseiged with referrals. It's difficult for him to sort through the details to determine if the person is describing a child who meets our criteria.

Recently, Dinesh learned about Santosh, who was living with his sister and mother in Arukharka, a village nearly 50 miles away, or in Nepali terms, 1.5 hour bus ride followed by a 2.5 hour hike. Dinesh decided to make a field visit there and, according to him, it was the most difficult trip to date. He writes, " In one place we had to walk through the cliff. It was so scary. If you slipped on the edge, your body would never be found." As you can see, he wasn't exaggerating...


Dinesh reached the village and met Santosh's family. His father committed suicide and the villagers said it was because he was ashamed that he could not feed his family. Santosh's mother is epileptic. Once she had a seizure and fell forward into a cooking fire, badly damaging her hands...


As a result she cannot work and has difficulty doing daily chores. Santosh's sister looks after her. Santosh is five but he hasn't been to school yet.

Dinesh filled out the needed paperwork but Santosh lacked some documents that we require for admission--his birth certificate and his father's death certificate. So before leaving Arukharka, Dinesh and a neighbor walked to the village office: "The office was empty. There was a broken chair and a steel cupboard in which all the official papers were stored." Fortunately, they found what they needed and started the trek back to Pokhara...


One of Santosh's neighbors accompanied Dinesh on the trip home to make the transition easier for Santosh. And it seems Santosh took to his new home quickly: "As soon as we got to the orphanage, Santosh immediately started to play with other kids."

The neighbor had been an orphan himself and he was overcome with joy seeing Santosh's new home. "He was really thankful to us after seeing all the arrangement for the children. As he left, he hugged me! Wow." The "wow" reflects the unusual expressiveness of the man's embrace. Nepalis typically do not hug.

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