Friday, June 20, 2008

More Photos from Summer 2008

Hannah finishes up a round of this hand pat game that Brittany taught to the children. It's rather simple: you join hands around in a circle, someone says a number, and then you slap hands one at a time going around the circle. When the designated number comes up, the slapper must hit the hand of the person next to him/her or they're out, and vice versa if the slappee cannot avoid the slap. It is the newest morning craze.

Has anybody seen Rina? I just can't seem to find her...

Brittany helps the children onto the swinging carousel. Dinesh found this amusement park for us and we took the younger children. They loved it. But Brittany and I watched in fear because everything was made out of metal and the children were so excited that they wanted to move onto every ride all at once, which caused them to occasionally exit the rides while they were still moving. We all came home intact.

Kiran hangs on for dear life.

The Swinging Ship of Death (a.k.a. The Pirate Ride).

Sanju and Manju. Sanju is a college student who attends the Pokhara campus of Tribhuvan University, which is right next to Sam's House. She stopped by one day asking Dinesh if it was possible to volunteer a bit, hoping that someday we'll be needing another didi. Dinesh was very impressed as this does not happen very often. Sanju has already become a big hit with the children.

Bishal and Saran try to figure out how they can get more stars on the merit board.

Sushma and Pooja in the morning. Pooja is an outstanding soccer player. Runs like the wind.

Maya and pigtails ready for school. The children in classes 1-3 started exams today.

Here's a nice story about Maya... yesterday we took the children down to Lakeside for ice cream again, though at a different restaurant that is truly on the lake's side. With 27 of us--children and didis and volunteers--we made quite a commotion getting settled into our tables and there were lots of westerners sitting around us, quietly reading books and having conversation. I was a little nervous about too much disruption.

A few minutes after sitting down a gentleman stood up and started taking pictures of us and, a little alarmed (overly so, it would turn out), I asked him if he'd like to take a photo of us. He just waved and smiled and sat back down.

When it came time to pay, our waiter said that same man had asked if he could pay our bill (for 27 ice cream cones). I went over and thanked him. He was German and his English was not very good but he said he intuited that the children were from an orphanage and I told him he was right and thanked him for his generosity. And then all the children said thank you. Just before we left, I grabbed our four oldest (Mina, Maya, Dhiraj and Babit) and brought them over to make Namaste for the man again. He seemed a little embarrassed but graciously made Namaste back.

And as I'm walking out of the restaurant with these four, Maya said, in English, "He is a very kind man." And I said, "Yes, he is. That was very nice of him." And then she said, "We should invite him to our house." Which, of course, I should have done in the first place.

More and more we have these little moments with the SH gang that just blow me away--how they apprehend their situation in a positive light. Maya wants people to see Sam's House it because it is her home. I think that might be related to the stream of volunteers we have coming through. Volunteers help the children realize their home is a place worth spending time at.

It reminds me of a time when Jen was doing some research in Jiri. She and her assistant were going to do an interview at a home occupied by a low caste family of blacksmiths. And as they approached the home, a little girl came out and announced that they were blacksmiths and wanted to know if they still wanted to come in. Jen was devastated that this little girl, who she thought to be around 4 or 5, should already have internalized the idea that her home was unworthy of visiting.

As Hannah wrote in her post, they truly see the home (this home you've given them) as their family even though they must recognize it is not typical. Mina and Maya, I've written here before, have told Dinesh they plan to give to Sam's House when they get older. I hope this continues because I suspect it will only get harder for them as they move into adolescence and they might begin to see their situations a little differently, especially as it relates to wider Nepali culture.

Mina and Brittany acting out their favorite Nepali movie action scene.

Monkey see, monkey do. Pratima and Sabita with Hannah.

Brittany with Sarita and Mamata.

Sandip, Dhiraj and Santosh on a school holiday. Sandip is the most independent two year old I've ever seen. Climbs the jungle gym by himself, swings on the swings (also by himself), is potty trained, and occasionally puts himself down to nap--all things that would give American mothers, in my experience, heart attacks (except for the potty training). However, when he gets tired he gets a little clingy to a couple of our didis and insists on being carried. This week they've been trying to wean him off that behavior and this has been a difficult week for The Colonel.

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