Nepal Education Fund

Some of you will remember Dev Raj and his mother from last year, she is the lady who lives in the tiny room. The room is only a few inches wider than a single bed and about 12 feet long . Dev Raj has been in the hospital. We were given this message and the hospital name so Kamal and I went to visit. We had no idea what room and there is no system to find out so we wandered from room to room looking for him. We were just about to give up when he came running after us. He has had pneumonia and still has lower lung consolidation. He was discharged about 3 days ago so I then visited him at home. They live in the slums of old Kathmandu and I know the place well but to attempt the stairs in the pitch black is quite a challenge. I made it up the three flights and was about to leave when the mother came up the stairs. Dev Raj was locked inside sleeping. He is getting better slowly. He has done well in school this year and his mother made tea while we talked. They were robbed a couple of months ago, losing a little cash and some belongings. Hard to imagine really as I looked around I wondered who would want to steal anything here and from this poor little woman. Now she is scared. Dev Raj is learning English and made a good attempt with me. The tiny room looked smaller than ever. I always find that memory enlarges things. It is hard to get by each other in there and requires some juggling. I wanted to buy some fruit for them so we walked to a vendor. He chose grapes and I bought a kilo and noticed that the mother asked for them in two bags. I did not think much about it and then I paid and she smiling handed me one of the bags. I took it as I knew that was her pleasure. I walked away thinking what a positive gesture that had been. They are so poor but still they wanted to share with me the fruit I was buying for them. Often I am so moved by these people, by their simple gestures and by their natural generosity. I do not mean material things but the little things they do, their hugs and smiles, their endless cups of tea and very much by their patience. Sometimes they wait for me for hours and always greet me with a smile. They never say, “Oh we did not think you were coming” or other such comments like we would .Sometimes I get quite emotional and it is hard to explain the feeling that wells up inside me. The poverty I am well used to but the people never cease to amaze me.
Today I met a friend who runs a charity here for women in distress and she told me anytime I have a woman who is destitute to refer them and they will take her and train her in a trade. I was interested in this and I am going to visit their centre as soon as this election holiday and New Year is over.
My husband, Bob comes tomorrow evening. There is a complete curfew on all traffic from 12 midnight today until 12 midnight tomorrow so I am hoping that a government bus will be available. Apparently the election results will not be known for 10 days to 2 weeks. That is a good thing as it buys me sometime in case the outcome is not popular.

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