Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wrapping up the School Year

The Sam's House gang wrapped up another successful term at Gorkha English Boarding School.

The Nepali school year finishes in April with final exams, then a two week break and return to school starting in new grades.

Once again, our children did fantastically well on their exams, many of them placing in the top three of their classes.

Sandeep--2nd in Nursery class.
Rina--1st in lower kindergarten (remember when we worried how Rina would do in school?)
Pratima and Sharan tied for first in upper kindergarten.
Sarita was first in class 2 (I think Sarita has placed out of the top three only one term in the last three years).
Sabita was 3rd in class 3.
Maya placed first in class 4.

Because of Sarita's high marks, she will skip a grade to class 4 this year, where she will join Sabita and Dhiraj.

Mina will skip a grade to class 6. If you recall, just three years ago, Mina (now age 11) stood head and shoulders above her classmates in upper kindergarten. Now, thanks to regular schooling, she is joining her age group. Amazing... six grades in three years!

Much of this progress, for all the children, is due to the tutoring they receive from Shiva and Ramila every day before and after school.

And much of this progress is also thanks to you, dear supporter, who provides Sam's House with the means to offer this education to the children.

I'm often astounded at how well the children perform in school, but I shouldn't be. Every morning and afternoon, they gather around the study tables and work diligently on their homework under the watchful eyes of their tutors. In some ways I think they are getting a superior education than most of the children in Nepal.

I tell many people about Sarita (sometimes more than once). Before Sam's House she was attending school only a couple days a week, spending the other days performing labor with her mother and sister. In spite of Sarita's irregular attendance, the schoolmaster in her village noted she was especially bright and he asked one of our Nepali trustees--Pradip Regmi--to recommend her to Sam's House. Sarita was the third child admitted to the house. Since then she has been a top student every term. Perhaps it's too early what kind of post-secondary education her ability warrants, but it's exciting to think about.

You, our dear supporter, in conjunction with Dinesh and our incredible house mothers and shrewd trustees, have given Sarita (and all the children at Sam's House) opportunities that, just a few months ago, seemed as likely or probable as winning the lottery.

In Nepal, Sam's House is called Kopila Children's Home. "Kopila" in Nepali means "flowering bud" and is often used as a term of endearment for children.

How appropriate, I think, when we hear about the children's progress in school. They were all flowers needing the right soil and the right kind of attention. Now they're all growing and strong and bright!

When you get a quiet moment to yourself in the near future (I hope) please know that you have made a real difference in the life of a child.

I might add here that the children at Sam's House are aware of you and know that the house relies on your support for its success. And they are grateful.

Last summer, I was talking to some of the girls before bed. Mina (it's always Mina--the leader of the band) asked if I cried when I was in the United States thinking about them. And I said "no," rather I was happy to know they were doing so well. Mina replied that she cried when she thought of us in the United States because of all the work we do on their behalf.

I know this sounds like a trumped up, fundraising-tailored story, but it is the God's honest truth.

Monday, April 19, 2010

2010 Yard Sale--Better Than Ever!

It seems every year, usually during the cold winter months, Jen and I debate whether or not to have the spring yard sale. I'm not sure why we even think twice about it because a) we seem to do a minimal amount of work thanks to all the people who donate items and labor to the sale, and b) every year it is more and more successful and provides Sam's House with incredible support.

The 2010 edition of the Sam's House yard sale raised $4,283 this year. That's salary for four house mothers, or nearly a year of food, or nearly two years of school fees... in other words, from the children to you, thank you for making their lives better and providing them with the opportunity to grow and learn and love, just as every child deserves

Once again we have so many people to thank...

Bert and Janet Ahern
Karen Arnold
Jayne Blodgett
Dick and Judy Bluth
Brenda and Peter Boever
Ray and Robi Bowman
Sarah and Eric Buchanan
Laura and Steve Burks
Kirsten Chelberg
Cheryl Contant and Karen Mumford
Jim and Adele Cotter
Mike and Jen Cihak (Cihak Tent Rentals*)
Julia Dabbs
Rebecca Dean and Joe Beaver
Michael and Pilar Eble
Pieranna Garavaso and Lory Lemke
Becca Gercken
Margaret Giles
Jenn and Troy Goodnough
Paul and Sandy Grove
Tim and Kristin Grove
Pam Guilford
Terri Hawkinson
Skip Hesse and family
Sandra Hohrman
Andrew Israels and Dave Swenson
Jo and Levi Johnson
Chrissy Kolaya and Brook Miller
Tom Larson
Pareena and Todd Lawrence
Johanna and Jason Majerus
Argie and Lisa Manolis
Cheryl Matthews
Carol and Roger McCannon
Leslie Meek
Rose Murphy
Anne and Steve Noonan
Sara and Quinn O'Reilly
Julie Pelletier
Carol and Larry Perkins
Jake Perkins and Kelsey Simanski
Pam and Brad Perkins
Michael Peterson
Stephanie Reddington
Ruth and Irwin Rothchild
Gwen and Steve Rudney
Jeanne Sammelson and Peter Lund
Owen and Jan Sammelson
Lynn Tibbets
Ray Schultz and Roger Wareham
Sharon Severance
Dennis and Cheryl Stewart
Peter and Timna Wyckoff

The sale was set up and ready to go by 7 a.m.

First shoppers arrived at 7:45 a.m.

The shop on the porch. Once again those Sammelson girls--Carol, Ruth and Jo--did the work of a hundred people.

The cashier table was delightfully busy most of the day.

Irwin Rothchild making his yard sale debut.

Brook Miller testing out some of the toys. Those are for him, er, his sons, I mean.

The 2010 sales team.

Sam's House--Annual Picnic

Sam's House held a picnic last week to celebrate its third birthday. As you know, though we refer to Sam's House as one entity, it is, in reality, a partnership between our American non-profit and one in Nepal.

Dinesh has his own board of trustees who help him with setting policy and reviewing the house's work. They are a tremendous source of support to him.

From Dinesh:


The SH annual picnic held on last Saturday in a Botanical garden in Pokhara. The children had a nice time with fun and food. The children also presented some dance items that they had been practising.

The trustees were also invited to the picnic. They stayed with the children all day. In the past, we used to have catering service, but this time we cooked all the food. Major Pun cooked chicken, Rekha cooked curry and Shiva cooked pulau. It was a fantastic day.

This is Shiva. He is the new house tutor since Laxmi went to England. The children have taken to him very well.

This is Major Pun, one of the trustees. Since retiring from the Gurkhas, he dedicates his retirement time to charitable endeavors.

The Nepali board.