Tuesday, June 05, 2007

New Staff


Babit. He is the eldest, sweetest and most responsible boy in the house. And extremely smart, probably the brightest student too. His English is pretty good so he frequently bails me out with interpretive help.

Staff meeting this morning: Dinesh, Rekha, Tara, Sushma, Asuna, Sarita and Kamal.

Sushma and Mina.

Rina at home warily eyeing the camera: "Come on, dude, I'm trying to play here and you're dangling that black box that I'm never allowed to touch in front of me. What's up with that?"

Asuna Shresta

Sarita Budhathoki

Sam's House has added two new staff members: Sarita Budhathoki and Asuna Shresta. Sarita is a new full-time house didi and Asuna is our part-time worker who spells the other didis for weekend breaks.

Interestingly Sarita grew up in the SOS Village here in Pokhara. SOS is a network of orphanages around the world. She lived there for 19 years and afterward operated the SOS school stationery store. She has plenty of experience, obviously, with life in the orphanage and we expect she'll be a huge help to everyone.

Asuna was a neighborhood friend of Tara's and she had been looking for work for a long time. It seems she's always laughing and she carries on with the other didis very well. She came to our picnic last weekend and the children love her.


Speaking of new staff... it's proven to be the most difficult thing for Dinesh: to find staff, good didis and how to keep them. They have an incredibly demanding job and, very often, the women available for these positions don't have the background and training for working child care. So it takes a great deal of patience and time and additional training.

SOS offers substantial training for their house mothers and they open these trainings to other orphanages. Jen tells me from KTM that Ama Ghar has sent their staff to the city for this purpose. Dinesh is considering doing the same for present and future staff. Indeed, even well-established orphanages like SOS and Namaste House say finding good staff and keeping them is one of the two most difficult tasks for an orphanage.

The other is transition from the home to life after... how to reintegrate children into society when they come of age. Fortunately we have some time to work on this, but Dinesh is urging us to plan now. We'll educate all the children as far as it seems appropriate based on their ability and aptitude--those who would benefit from college will go. But that may only be a percentage. Others will receive vocational training either in a craft or something in the travel industry. A very few others might not transition at all and we need to find a way to employ them within, like heartbreaker Manju, who Dinesh has already earmarked as a future Sam's House didi. It's hard to imagine her doing something else, such are the early signs.

It's a bit stressful to consider these possibilities and how to support them all but when I think of what incredible people are behind all of this, it doesn't seem so hard.


Things are settling into a bit of a routine here--at least for me. The children arrive home a little before 4, have a snack, an hour of homework with Kamal, then play until dinner. They love to dance, even when they have to supply their own music. During a black out earlier this week, they were upstairs singing and a group stood in the middle doing a dance. It was so cute.

(speaking of music: a year ago we mentioned that only two things are more expensive in Nepal than in America--land and Diet Coke. Here is a third item for that list: CD players. Dinesh asked for one because, as I said, the children love to dance. I said I'd go to the store and get one, no problem. Problem. The Target style $30 boombox does not exist here. I couldn't find one for less than $90 and I refused to pay that.

There is a "time out" room which seems to be helping combat naughtiness (pinching, hitting, etc.), but not as much for Bishal, who, no matter how seemingly distraught with his time out sentence, picks up where he left off without too much trouble. His will to mischief is actually pretty funny. This morning, moments before the bus arrived, he kicked Saran so we had to bestow a "when you get home" time out.

There are three strikes scheduled for this weekend so the children will be home for four days in a row and we won't be able to take them out. Please send us your kind wishes for cool but sunny skies on those days.


Clevelanders and Greater Clevelanders, please mark your calendars for Friday, August 3rd and the first annual Sam's House Day. We'll be "Driving, Dining and Diving."

The morning starts with 18 holes at the Avondale golf course, followed by lunch and drinks. In the late afternoon, a family picnic and games at Bay City Park and a nightcap pool party at the Bay Pool.

More details to come.


Happy 40th Anniversary to Irwin and Ruth Rothchild!!!!! As a personal beneficiary of your union, I'd like to add my own special thanks and congratulations!


Buying stock in the dental markets... For roughly two weeks in a row Dinesh was making daily runs to the dentist to get fillings and extractions for the children. Most of them had little to no dental hygiene before and for some of their back teeth it was a little too late. Now they brush twice daily.

Here's the funny part: a filling costs 200 rupees, or $1.40. An extraction is about the same.

All for now. Life is good.



Jells and Cathy said...

Thanks for the update.

Happy Anniversary Irwin & Ruth!

-Jells and Cathy

bigs said...

Happy anniversary to you guys. Glad to see all the happy faces. It's really amazing to witness all that you and the larger Sam's House team have accomplished. Sending our thoughts and best wishes.
The Birminghams
*ps. Butts, hope you're doing okay without those long 'Sampson'locks of hair