Kiran’s Reflections on a Storm

March 26th

Dear Kim, Good Morning and Happy Spring!!! Spring is the time for seeing the green.  Bark and dirt fade away and are replaced by newness.  Our area is getting warmer, after all the wintry rain and snow.  These days, we have old friends and new, coming to visit, including a group from Canada.  With them, we walked to beautiful Kakni, where we camped for two nights and worked on renovating the buildings with colors, weeding, and taking care of the beautiful flowering fruit trees: peaches, cherry,  pears, and in a few days or weeks time, the apple trees will be flowering. We walked down to the old Tamang village, where we met villagers, young and old, as well as doctors and nurses.  We saw the sick and helped with construction. It was a lovely sunny day. To our north, the Himalayas were smiling.  Often they cover their faces with white blankets but now they are so beautiful.  We all appreciated the mountains, as we walked to the scout ground camp areas. We started two days ago with this group, just at dawn, as lights were passing through cracks to the valley and hilltops.  The trip is usually a 3-hour ride, but the snaky way down was jammed as few heavy trucks got stuck. We gently made our way to the Beni bridge and crossed the river Trishuli.  Rivers are like mothers in different cultures. We stopped for a few minutes, walking on white gold, the shining sand in the morning sun. We spread our wings, refreshed by splashing and walking in the water.  Some just peacefully observed as the sun sang down on us. We reached the village of Ghyalchok.  A town with a beautiful village green and traditional houses.  The farms had vegetables growing. Little goats watched us from where they stood on the farm barrier walls and from the hills.  In town, children, goodwill ambassadors, waited on the line with colorful flowers from the area, while greeting the visiting youth and adults, who had come to help. The happy innocent faces cheered all of us, knowing that we had been a long time on the road in the morning to get there.  Then our work began. Doctor and nurses attended to children and the elderly who waited in-line. I was there with Lara and my wonderful friend, who looks very young but is closer to my age.  He’s a tall fellow, like a big old maple tree, always standing strong on the riverbank, in the summer heat, in the springs’ wild storm, in the winter’s snow, and in summer’s thunder. We walked to find a place where we wanted to paint.  Our group chose to paint a school, a beautiful little white-walled building with blue stripes. It was a big project and we couldn’t stay. We agreed to finish one room and leave the paints so the school community could proceed. As the work began, Billman and our volunteer girl scout rangers, ran here and there attending to volunteers’ needs and overseeing a smooth day.  Rangers with their green saris and happy faces in the hot sun brought cheers with drinking water they had carried from Kathmandu. A few others and I ventured to drink the fresh water from the tap.  It was tasteful. In a big round taamako taulo (a big copper round shaped cooking pot), rice cooked.  Smells from chicken, lentil soup, cabbage, and vegetables carried through the wind. We enjoyed conversations and fun activities with children, village leaders, and teachers.    We had planned to leave early, but Dr. Sonia, Sister Durga, and their assistant Nabina were still with the sick. Finally, as we left, children waved, marked tika on our foreheads, and laid beautiful garlands around our necks, as we boarded the bus to retire to Kathmandu. The day was long.  On the way back, most of us snoozed in silence, though a few kept up conversations. As we crossed the bridge, the bus started going slowly. Suddenly wind and storm whipped a golden sand dust bowl around us. The branches moved wildly in the wind, thunder, and storm. When we finally reached Kathmandu, we all smiled with joy and satisfaction.  After all, despite our rough travels and long hours of work, it was a wonderful day with caring and loving friends. Kiran Director of the Bal Kendra School in Kathmandu, Nepal