3 Camp Hope

Wednesday,1st July

The inspired and compassionate Heiko Grosspietsch of Shant Sewa Griha foundation has generously helped the people of Camp Hope since the beginning. The foundation supports-

“People from all over Nepal are sent or brought here. Leprosy sufferers, accident victims, children and adults with physical disabilities due to polio, people with physical or mental handicap, the chronically ill, women expelled by their families, orphans, the blind, the deaf and people who are old and fragile.”

Heiko has arranged for a craftsman from Shanti to teach the men in our camp how to make bamboo stools. Inspired by these people turning disability into limitless ability.

We were so impressed to see the some of the Camp Hope residents have constructed awnings – entrance porches to their tents. Another now has a timber frame, filled that with crushed rock at the main door – a place that isn’t muddy to remove their shoes. A team of men adjusted the tent guy ropes – like pros ! These small examples demonstrate self-reliance, motivation and initiative -such positive traits under trying circumstances.  We want to nurture this proactive spirit. Today an exciting meeting took place at Dwarikas, to discuss the possibilities of implementing a vocational training program.

Thousands of displaced people from Nepal’s remote mountain areas now reside in Kathmandu camps. These people mostly come from the northern districts of Sindhupalchowk and Rasuwa, in several cases entire villages have been relocated (i.e. the entire Langtang Village of Rasuwa) from locations that geotechnical assessments have deemed unsafe to return to. The land where these villages previously existed has been structurally compromised: there are deep cracks in the earth which during the approaching monsoon will fill with water resulting in the likelihood of catastrophic landslides and slopes destabilized by the series of earthquakes & recurring aftershocks are at much greater risk of slope failure when saturated during the monsoon. The time frame for safe resettlement or relocation to alternative sites is highly uncertain. Realistically, construction and resettlement will not be feasible to until post-monsoon.

Why not use the long wait in Kathmandu as time for vocational training in construction and artisan trades, vital for the rebuilding of Nepal. There is an acute shortage of skilled labor required for the massive post-earthquake reconstruction, restoration and seismic retrofitting throughout urban and rural Nepal. Vocational skills would include- Masonry, Carpentry, Plumbing for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Electricians, Welding and Roofing etc. All in high demand to rebuild and restore Nepal.

Such an outpouring of affection from the kids at the camp for Bruno Costa & Lourenco Macedo Santos. The kids simply adore these fun guys who have returned to Nepal to continue building houses –

Today was Tshering Sherpa’s 14th Birthday – Happy Birthday Tshering ! Bruno Presented Tshering with official Portugal football shirt!

 

 

Thursday, 2nd July

This morning a Puja was performed at Camp Hope, today being the full moon an auspicious day to hold this ceremony. Prayer flags now flutter in the camp and a sacred flagpole was raised and blessed. Prayers and rituals were offered to bring prosperity and peace.

 

 

Thursday, 2nd July

This morning a Puja was performed at Camp Hope, today being the full moon an auspicious day to hold this ceremony. Prayer flags now flutter in the camp and a sacred flagpole was raised and blessed. Prayers and rituals were offered to bring prosperity and peace.

 

 

Saturday, 4th July

The day was one of the most memorable days at Camp Hope. Pedro and Lourenço, along with several of our volunteers organized a football tournament for the children. The kids could have never imagined such a wonderful day filled with lots of fun, loads of football and lots of cheering from the sidelines. Since Camp Hope is located in the neighborhood football field, many of our neighbors came to watch and cheer the children on. Several of the hotel staff also came by to enjoy the festivities and partake in such a meaningful and momentous day.

The tournament day left an indelible impression on everyone!

 

 

Wednesday, 8th July

As many of you know, we have been working tirelessly trying to get urgent supplies to the neighboring village of Tanga. Many of our camp members have extended family there and due to collapsed bridges and ongoing landslides, they have been cut off from basic necessities; blankets, rice, clean drinking water, dal, vitamins, medical kits, etc. Finally, after a few weeks we got the good news from WFP (World Food Programme) that we were scheduled for an early morning food delivery. WFP is graciously supplying the helicopter, while we are providing the supplies.

Sonam Sherpa, one of our team leaders and Jared Smith, a volunteer and an accomplished civil engineer, made the helicopter supply drop delivering to Tanga in the Sindhupalchowk District. Jared conducted a min-reconnaissance, bringing his knowledge and expertise to this region as we begin preparations for village relocation post monsoon.

In addition to our food supply drop, we evacuated three-year old Chewan Lunduv from the Tsum valley, which is located at 12,000 feet. Happy to report that his leg is healing well and will have a cast put on later today.

A big thanks to our fearless pilot and everyone who helped make the supply drop happen today.

 

 

Saturday, 11th July

Several weeks ago, we realized that we needed to raise the kitchen and dining tents since we are in the midst of the monsoon. The dining tent is the largest public space and it is extremely important for everyone to have a dry place to eat and gather to escape the Kathmandu rains. As luck would have it, IOM (the International Organization for Migration) had visited the camp and we asked for their help in this project. About five weeks later, IOM informed us that they would provide the materials.

Finally, we broke ground and started the construction today; bamboo was cut, bricks and roofing were delivered. Our camp members are providing the labor and are helping in all phases of the building. We anticipate it should be finished in a few days.

If you have been reading the blog, you will know that Saturdays around Camp Hope are some of the most enjoyable days. We had an art therapy communal painting session where several of the children painted on a large board that will be posted in the dining tent. Everyone enjoys these visits as it is so important to raise everyone’s spirits.

 

 

Sunday, 12th July

We have had much more progress on the dining tent today. Everyone is getting very excited for their dining area, as it will become their community space. Today, we erected the roof and started on a covered wash area. There are so many members helping in the building process, that we are moving at lightning speed.

We had a visit from a Japanese woman…she came by the camp today to donate handsewn blankets to the five pregnant women. One woman is due in two weeks, so we are getting prepared for a new baby’s arrival.

Lastly, four children have been admitted to boarding school and are being sponsored by Shanti Lepra Hilfe Dortmund. A big thanks to our dear friend

 

 

Monday, 13th July

In the evening, one of the little girls at Camp Hope surprised her best friend for her 11th birthday. She carefully prepared a plate full of sweets, candies, fruit and other yummy treats to celebrate her friend. It was so touching to see this lovely gesture of the children honoring each other.

 

 

Tuesday, 14th July

What a day today was….today we distributed the long awaited uniforms! It tooks almost two months to complete the uniforms for all 88 children. It took quite a while, as we had to have the children queued at several locations split according to their age. Each child received one uniform, shoes, socks, tie and belt. The camp was filled with joy, lots of laughter, talk and excitement for the new uniforms. The children felt a certain pride and were eager to show off their new clothing to their friends who were already enrolled at school.

 

 

Friday, 17th July

Every Friday for the last several weeks, we usually have a bunch of the Camp Hope children spend the night with us at Dwarika’s. But tonight there was a big party at the camp….the camp members had prepared special food, lit torches, people were singing and dancing in the nearby field. What a joyous occasion for everyone! We are touched by the people of Camp Hope and amazed at how they are continuing their lives and embracing all the goodness coming their way.

 

 

Saturday, 18th July

Kirk and Shae, our hotel guests, were kind enough to get involved with Camp Hope. They brought two suitcases loaded with educational toys and clothes for the children and spent time with the kids partaking in various activities. One of the highlights for the kids was dancing with them…but in reality, we think one of the highlights of their visit to Nepal was dancing with the kids! A big thanks to Kirk and Shae for the toys and clothes, as well as their enthusiam, laughter and love of children!

 

 

Saturday, 25th July

It was a very busy Saturday at Camp Hope. Ghazal, Pedro’s girlfriend decided it was give extra attention to the women and the moms. Since a lot of our special efforts go towards the children, she bought nail polish and lipstick, which was very touching. This small gesture was greatly appreciated by these incredibly hardworking women.

We planned movie night at the camp….so the ladies prepared popcorn and soybeans for the evening. Many people including the children used newspaper and rolled them into popcorn holders….just like we were at the cinema in the olden days!

The movie was started with a presentation by Joanne. She discussed the members of the camp and the before and after effects of the earthquake, their dreams of returning to their homes and the possibilities for the future. It was an emotional evening for everyone.

We ended the night on a light note….softening the mood for everyone, we both a documentary on culture and the environment and ended showing a big Bollywood film. As you can imagine, everyone was entertained including the older folks!

 

 

Thursday, 30th, July

Just another day around the camp…..below is a photo of Pasang Sherpa, a young girl who came down from the village to the camp for three weeks because she had injured her eye. Once her treatment is completed and her eye has healed, she will return back to her family in the mountains. She wanted to be photographed and so she smiled for the camera!

To pass the time, some of the girls had fun by braiding the volunteers hair. It’s these small moments that mean so much to everyone.

 

 

Saturday, 8th August

What a wonderful day everyone had today….we had a special concert presented by Peace Wind Japan, a Japanese group of musicians. It was lovely, as everyone had the opportunity to participate. The musicians brought traditional drums, flutes and one even had a Sitar. As you can imagine, most of the members of the camp had never seen one before. Not only did everyone have a chance to touch and listen to them, it was a newfound experience, so this concert was a special treat and enjoyed by all.

We are continuously overjoyed at the help, volunteering and desire to get involved with Camp Hope from so many people from around the world. Everyday is inspirational to the people living in the camp.

 

Saturday, 15th August

Saturday morning marks the morning after the sleepover…..and what a swimming day it was! Several of the girls learned to swim from our volunteers and by the end of the day, two had mastered their float and began to learn swimming strokes.

Every week, the children leave here with newfound tastes, experiences and memories that will a lifetime. What joy it brings not only to all of us (and the children!), but the staff love talking and singing with them, as well as seeing the joy on their faces.

 

Monday, 17th August

Today was student day….our children wanted to say a big thank to all of their parents. We prepared chocolate cake for every single member of the camp…that is over 330 pieces of cake! It was loads of fun…several of the kids fed the cake to their parents! Everyone was proud of all of their achievements they have done since living in Kathmandu.

 

Tuesday, 18th August

After months of preparation and hard work, vocational classes started for the men and women. We have started a training program for masonry, electrical and plumbing work. This is incredible, as everyone will develop and learn skills they will be able to use long after they have left Camp Hope. Everyone who is participating, loves it. Classes begin at 7am everyday and end at 12pm. Since it is a short 3-month class, sometimes classes end a bit later in the day depending on what they are working on. It’s important to complete this course by September because that is the time they are scheduled to head back into the mountains and start rebuilding their homes.

When the course is complete, participants will receive a certificate from the government-run program for their completion of level 1. This is so wonderful not only because this certificate is recognized by 169 countries, but the sense of accomplishment they will all feel is immense.

 

 

Sunday, 23rd August

We often find ourselves feeling that the members of Camp Hope are a few of the fortunate earthquake victims. Today, was another one of those days. After months and months of watching the children play sports in the nearby football field either in flip flops or barefoot, Gazelle, Pedro’s girlfriend decided it was time to purchase sport shoes for all the kids.

The Portuguese volunteers got together to outfit all the children aged one to 18 in sport shoes. It was quite an accomplishment getting all their shoes sizes and outfitting everyone. Another amazing day at Camp

 

 

Monday, 24th August

Finally, the long-awaited children’s sports outfits arrived! The kids have physical education twice a week, so it was important they also have these uniforms. As you can imagine, all the children were very excited to receive the new clothing.

 

Thursday, 27th, August

Sadly, this day has come…today we bid farewell to our very dear volunteers, Ondrej and Lyah, who have been with us since the beginning. It was such a special day here at Camp Hope. The mothers collected money and purchased a traditional Sherpa backhu for Lyah, and a traditional men’s top for Ondrej. Then, they dressed her up and applied make-up just as they would as a Sherpa bride. The camp priest and many of our members performed a ritual puja, ensuring them a safe journey home. It was a very emotional day for everyone. Everyone presented both of them with kadas (traditional ceremonial scarf), as well as small gifts as a way remembrance for their time spent at Camp Hope. It was an amazing and very touching day.

 

 

Saturday, 29th August

What a wonderful day… a local NGO organized an event for all the displaced earthquake victims of Sindhupulchowk District. It was a very large gathering in Kathmandu and we arranged three buses to transport 270 of our members to attend the event. The event allowed our camp members to meet other people for their villages that have been living in other camps. Our children prepared three dance performances to entertain all the people. They were fabulous….they performed the dances perfectly and had a wonderful time doing so. We were so proud of how hard they worked preparing for this moment. Everyone enjoyed this wonderful day outing and reuniting with many love ones, dear friends and neighboring villagers.

 

 

Tuesday, 8th September

Camp Hope welcomes our second baby…Pasang Sherpa gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy!! Congratulations to the new parents…as you can see in the photos below, even the grandparents are very proud!!

 

 

Saturday, 12th September

Our dear Portuguese friends Pedro and Lorenco spent the day organizing football training for several of the kids at Camp Hope. Since we are nearing the end of monsoon season, they went to a nearby, indoor football field which has an astroturf playing field. The children had a blast and both Pedro and Lourenco enjoyed teaching the children new techniques, and also performed lots of exercise before the big practice.