Sunday, December 20, 2009

Raamro Manchheharu! 2009 Fundraisers

Again this year we have so many people to thank for their support of Sam's House. It is both humbling and gratifying to take stock of all the special people who give their time, effort and money to making a difference in the lives of the Sam's House children.

In 2009 we were most fortunate to have the following people spreading the news about Sam's House...

January 2009

- Students at Our Lady of the Assumption in Atlanta, Georgia, runs a penny drive for Sam's House.

- Kathleen Gregor's book club in Marietta, Georgia, sponsors Sam's House as its annual charity.

April 2009

- Lutheran Church of the Resurrection (Marietta, GA) holds its annual Easter breakfast for Sam's House.

- Fourth annual Sam's House yard sale in Morris, MN.

May 2009

- Abby Schonhoft's first birthday party collects donations for Sam's House in New York, New York.

June 2009

- Liz Deegan and her Brownie Troop hold a Sam's House yard sale and raffle in University Heights, Ohio.

- Janey Elliot collects donations for Sam's House at her birthday party in Wyoming, Ohio.

July 2009

- In Morris, MN, the Marv Meyer Prairie Pioneer Days Race, organized by Jen Lund, donates proceeds to Sam's House.

- The third annual Sam's House Fabulous Friday Fundraiser in Bay Village, Ohio.

- The Heidt family produce stand sells veggies for Sam's House in Cumming, Georgia.

- Taylor, Tommy, Madeline and Evelyn Lundin hold a lemonade stand for Sam's House in Canton, Ohio.

October 2009

- In Cleveland, Ohio, Kerry and Erich Feierabend donate to Sam's House in honor of their wedding guests.

- Jean McDermott runs the Twin Cities marathon in support of Sam's House.

- Michaela Widmer takes part in a flea market near Geneva, Switzerland in support of Sam's House.

- In Atlanta, Georgia, Abby Senay celebrates her tenth birthday by collecting donations for Sam's House.

For each and everyone of you who have chosen to support Sam's House and make a difference in the life of a child, we offer you a big thank you from Sandeep...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Ritika, Dipa and Bibek!

Three more children have been admitted to Sam's House. Dinesh sent photos and stories yesterday (with some interesting comments about house dynamics)...

"We have finally admitted three new children in the SH. The children are very excited to have them in the hosue. It was interesting to see that some younger children Sandeep, Ganga and Jamuna looked a bit disappointed. Rina had acted the same when Sandeep first came.

Ritika is from Rivan V.D.C. Kaski district. She was abandoned by her both parents so she was living with her old grandmother. She had been going to the school in the village, but it looks as if she wasn't learning anything as there was noone to guide her at home. She arrived in SH five days ago. She is getting along with other children very well. She has now started learning alphabets and numbers. We are hoping that she will get admission in upper kindergarten.

Dipa is 4 years old (she was with her 18 months old sister in the previous photo from our field visit) from Tilahar V.D.C., Parbat district. She was abandoned by her father and her mother lives with her grandfather in the village. She hasn't started school yet. She is nice and shy girl. We were surprised to learn that she is somehow related to Mina, Sharan and Rina. Mina immediately recognized her when she arrived. So, Dipa feels comfortable in her new house. She arrived today.

Bibek was found on the street of Pokhara by the police about two weeks ago. He was then handed over to the CWIN, Pokhara ( Then, the CWIN published public notices on newspapers and local radios about him, but no one came to claim him so we brought him to the SH today. He is very sweet and smart boy. He is about 4 years old. He looked very happy and got along with everyone from the first day.

We are planning to admit two more children within six months. One is Dipika, Dipa's sister who is now only 18 months old. We will bring her when she becomes two years old. Another is Sarita's sister who is living in somebody's house (as a working children) in the village. We are planning to visit her in January and possibly bring her at the same time."

So that's the latest update. Thank you to all our supporters who make this possible!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Latest Road Warrior

Special thanks to Jean McDermott who completed the Twin Cities marathon last month for Sam's House. Aided by her partner, the indomitable Peh Ng, who delivered milk (yes milk!) to Jean along the route, they earned enough money to support seven children's tuitions for an entire school year.

Thank you Jean and Peh!

Jean during the race.

Peh delivering milk along the route!

Into the Field

With great excitement I bring you the news that Sam's House will be admitting 3-4 new children in the next month.

The admissions committee met last month to review files in our waiting list and approved four children--3 girls and 1 boy--to join Sam's House once Dinesh had completed the field visits and collected all the proper documentation.

Following the meeting, on consecutive Saturdays, Dinesh and his trustee, Pradip, visited those villages to interview the children's guardians and neighbors about the status of the children. As harsh as it seems, you have to make sure the case is legitimate (fraud happens), and you have to indemnify yourself against people saying you "stole" the child.

In Tilahar (Parbat district), Dinesh met with a family who had three girls: "12 yrs, 4 yrs and 18 months. Each had different fathers, but the same mother. All three fathers had left them and the mother is now living her father with all three children. The 12 year girl goes to school. She is grade 4."

In Rivan (Kaski district, Pokhara's district), Dinesh met a six-year old girl who had been abandoned by both parents. She was living with her grandmother.

The photos below, I believe, are from Tilahar.

The four-year old girl and her 18-month sister.

The 12 and 4 year old girls.

Sisters with their grandfather.

Pradip interviews a neighbor.

Dinesh with the family and others.

In other news, the children are getting into personal savings...

"We recently opened individual bank accounts for all SH children in a local bank. The children had some money from the festivals. This year, they collected 5,700 rupees from deusi/bhailo in Tihar. We divided that money among all the children. Ranjita and Ama, our trustee Dinesh Shrestha and I personally put some money for those children who did not have a minimum amount to open a bank account. Now, all the children have their bank accounts with the minimum balance of 500 rupees, but they will not have access to the money until they are 18 years old. We are thinking of adding some money each year into their accounts."

We often are asked about what will Sam's House children do after Sam's House, what is the transition plan? This is part of it. We have to make sure they learn proper skills for life on their own. This can be a particular challenge in children's homes where they have fewer opportunities to work and certainly less opportunity to manage finances personally. So, little by little, Dinesh and the gang will impart skills that help the children later, after 18, when they go to college or vocational school or a job. Hard to know, but we're already looking forward.

Thank you so much for your continuing support. Each day, every day, your support of Sam's House provides a better opportunity for our children. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tihar 2009

The holiday season in Nepal has wound down with the close of October and the celebration of Tihar, which is an annual five day series of worship with the final day, Bhai Tika, dedicated to honoring the relationship between brothers and sisters.

The previous days are celebrated in various ways, including deusi and bhailo, which is similar to caroling... On one day the girls sing bhailo and on the other the boys sing deusi. Traditionally, at the end of the song, the woman of the house will serve food or hand out money. The children then offer their blessing to the house.

Prema and Asuna preparing puja.

The boys after puja.

Mamata waiting for the ceremony to begin.

Maya giving tika to Amrit.

Mamata and Sarita

Saran receiving tika.

Amrit after blessing.

Sandeep after being worshipped by his sisters.

Prema giving tika to Phil, a current volunteer.

Girls singing bhailo.


Help from Switzerland

One of our original volunteers, Michaela Widmer from Switzerland, who came to visit in fall 2007, opened a stand at a local flea market with the proceeds donated to Sam's House.

Thank you, Michaela!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Summer School Results

Dinesh has shared the children's marks from the summer term of school. They were preparing for exams just before I left in late June. As usual, and all credit to the children and Miss Laxmi and to you, they did very well again.

Rina took second position in lower kindergarten.

Saran and Kiran were first and second in upper kindergarten. I believe that was Saran's third term in a row in first position.

Sarita was first in class 2--her third time in first position. Hard to imagine that before Sam's House, Sarita, like many of our other children, was barely going to school at all.

Mina, Maya, Babit and Dhiraj got first division in their marks (80% or better), the rest of the children earned "distinction" (between 75-79%).

You continue to make great things happen and possible for these children. Thank you, thank you, thank you...


Wednesday, August 26, 2009


The SH gang celebrated the Teej festival this week, which is celebrated by Hindu women who fast, sing, dance and worship the lord Shiva.

The didis and the girls organized a dancing party in the house for the celebration.

Kiran and Rina in the middle of the dance circle.

Mina and Asuna didi (in blue) take a turn.

Prema didi having fun.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Brothers and Sisters

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Day Begins

I love the morning rush of action at Sam's House. It amazing how much activity fits into three hours, from 6:15 to 9:15. There's morning tea, homework, morning dal bhaat, washing up, getting dressed for school, and many ministrations to hair, skin and clothes. Everyone pitches in. This morning the eldest boy triumverate (Babit, Dhiraj and Amrit) were especially helpful, combing hair, tying shoes, and fixing ties.

Just because you're in nursery school doesn't mean you don't sometimes need help with your shoes.

One of our star students, Sarita. While the other children were watching television last night, she was studying for her social science exam.

Pratima and Ramila.

As the outfit says, SH has its first diva. Jamuna really looks the part, hoina?

Ganga and Jamuna hot-footing it to play group with Pramila. Love their clothes. Jamnua has learned to respond "Hajur" (yes) when you say her name. Ganga is still working on this.

The short walk to the bus stop. Just at the end of the alley. Big girls leading the way.

Laxmi, her nine-month old daugher Lillian, and husband Dil. They came over for family photo.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Photo Day with the Didis (and More)

One of our donors asked that we use their gift to do something for the didis, so I took them shopping for new clothes in Mahendrapul. This was very exciting as I think it's probably a good bet no one has taken any of them shopping before, which is a shame because they definitely deserve some pampering.

Ramila and Prema opted for saris. Asuna, Tara, and Pramila chose kurtas. And they all picked up a new pair of shoes to go with the new outfit.

A couple days later Asuna asked, on behalf of the other didis and after an enormous amount of embarrassed tittering, if we could have a photo day when their new clothes came back from the tailor. How could I say no? Here are the photos... many of these I printed out for them to hang in the didis room.

Tara didi, our longest serving didi.

Prema, who asked to be photographed with two of her three daughters. That's Sangita on the left, and Sunita on the right.

A short tribute to Prema didi... she scares me to death and I mean in that old-fashioned good way, like a strict school teacher that you appreciate years later. The kids love her but they also mess with her the least. Sometimes when she lectures one of the children who's being naughty, I have to hide my face because it's so so funny. She takes no guff, works like mad, and plays the heavy with no problem. When I try to sneak out of the dining room to wash my own dishes, Prema gets on me immediately, "Chris Sir! Chris Sir! Yahaa rakhnous! (put the dishes here)" I throw them down like they're hot. Future volunteers be warned! =)

Asuna, all four-feet, six inches of her.

Ramila, the new house warden. She now manages all the day to day doings in the house.

Pramila, our newest didi.

Me and the didis, photo by Mina.

Sometimes people ask if Rina's changed at all. As this photos indicates, I think, the answer is "not much."

Got a nose full? No problem.

Manju and Ganga

"People, I'm serious. Just once I would like to potty train in private. Anyone got last week's New Yorker?"

Saran and Santosh