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Women of Nepal

Villanelle

From level palm of foot to her straight eyes
as if to walk were the heart of keeping still
straightness is where the woman’s beauty lies.

As she who under Himalayan skies
daily bends the mountain of her will
from level palm of foot to her straight eyes

to bear her bodyweight of home supplies,
gas, water, petrol, or a pothole’s fill,
straightness is where the woman’s beauty lies;

or she who ladles out the bowls of rice,
like a squatting buddha rocking on a heel
from level palm of foot to her straight eyes;

or dazzling teacher whose fingers flick and rise
to the dance of the words of a nursery drill,
straightness is where the woman’s beauty lies.

Like trees seeking the light of paradise,
their grain hardened, and made unbendable,
from level palm of foot to her straight eyes
straightness is where the woman’s beauty lies.

Prof. Cameron Hawke Smith (Cambridge University)
May 2010

TOUCH

In this city of a million close bodies
where all colours are primary, and night
sets on day like the shutting of a book,

I am to teach in the Isaac Newton
English-medium school. The headmaster,
whose patronymic includes the word

guru greets me with the polite namaskar,
and shakes hands, then cheerily says
We speak later, you take tiffin
.
dusting his hand The textbook lesson,
whose title page is missing, includes
the poem Touch, by the white South African

Hugh Lewin, jailed for seven years
for anti-apartheid demonstrations.
I want to be touched, he writes. The poem

is not an easy one for children whose country
has never been subdued by force, where
wild birds perch on your dinner table

unafraid, and revolutionaries
are joking country lads and old women
with baskets of mangoes, where boys

and young men hold hands without
embarrassment, but husbands and wives
are never seen hugging and the right hand

and left hand operate in different
hemispheres. They must understand
that touch is a million untranslatable words.

As we march back, tallest first,
smallest last, one child takes my hand in his.

Unlike words, touch is never approximate.


Prof. Cameron Hawke Smith (Cambridge University)
.......................................................................................

Charle Greenlee (USA)

2011 Summer Volunteer

It is with great pleasure that I talk about FutureNepal's organization and its director Bishnu. After arriving in Nepal with the hopes of finding an NGO with the right program and the right "fit", researching many different organizations and interviewing many different organizers, I was fortunate enough to connect with FutureNepal. There are numerous NGO's and volunteer projects within Nepal offering a large assortment of projects, but sometimes with misguided priorities. One of the first thing that struck me with FutureNepal's organization was Bishnu and his wife's sincerity, honesty, warmth, and genuine desire to make a difference in their country. It is a smaller organization that is much more personable and not merely looking to make money of of tourists. In fact, almost all of my money went directly towards my host family and the project I was working on, which unfortunately is something I cannot say for a lot of the volunteer programs running at the present moment in Nepal. There is so much positive work that can be done out there and it is a great organization to contribute your time and effort towards. They have a wide assortment of programs ranging from sustainable development, education, farming, female empowerment and almost any project you could be interested in joining.

FutureNepal is an excellent organization for independent travelers and volunteers that have a good sense of the project that they want to create and work on. My particular project was more based around sustainable development and farming. My initial desires were to get involved more with microfinancing and female empowerment projects, but I lacked the personal experience and true comfort in creating a project on my own and to truly implement such a project within the time frame that I was there.

As many isolated locations can provide certain challenges for an individual, I felt my only setbacks within the program were my own personal hurdles of finding comfort and self discipline living in a more remote village. The family I lived with was extremely sweet and eating fresh vegetable curries and dal everyday was an absolute pleasure. Even my kind of disjointed sense of where to take a female empowerment program there was greatly supported by Bishnu's ideas and input. If it were not for Bishnu and being able to discuss some of his greater ideas for the community in the region around his hometown alongside his support in organizing meetings with the community and the distribution of the banana seeds and goats, I do not know if I would have walked away from the program feeling like I had accomplished nearly half of what I initially had hoped to work on. I really can't express my gratitude for his support nor my respect for his genuine desires to make a positive change within his community and country.

I would highly recommend FutureNepal for any interested volunteer or traveler that wants a very genuine experience.

Courtney Younkle(USA)

21th Sep. 2011

Volunteering as a nurse with Future Nepal tough me so much about healthcare in rural locations. Volunteers with health backgrounds can make such a poitive impacr in villages where quality healthcare is difficult to come by.

I will miss beautiful Nepal and its kind + genuine people.

Beata Jadniga Wikkik (Poland)

23th July 2011

Volunteering in Nepal was quite a spontaneous decision for me. By the end of March 2011 I finished pharmaceutical studies and only knew that I do not want to start a boring job yet like most of my friends. I started to look in the internet for a temporary occupation and among many opportunities I chose the best I could, as I consider it now.

After coming to Kathmandu I spent few days learning the basics of Nepali language and visiting the most interesting places with the organization. The monuments I found beautiful and enjoyed a lot meetings with monkeys, but the city itself was too overwhelming for me. I remember I felt a great relief when I saw the village in which I was going to spend another three months. Home not more than fifteen minutes from the jungle, trees and flowers everywhere around, fresh air, wild animals, fresh fruits and vegetables. And people welcoming all the time, open to meet and help me – probably just because of different color of my skin, but still it was amazing walking to the workplace in the morning and being greeted and given smiles from everyone.

My field was medical volunteering. I am a pharmacist, but it quickly turned out that I could help with whatever I was interested in and as much as my skills and learning attitude would let me. I was working simultaneously in two places. In the Health Post I was located in the dispensary, checking the prescriptions and preparing medicines accordingly, sometimes explaining to the patients how to use the drugs as much as my basic Nepali language would let me. The second placement was Clinic Nepal and there, apart from dispensary work, I was also able to learn how to do the dressings, put and take out the stitches, help during minor surgeries or dental visits, cooperate with the doctors during patients’ visits. My additional duty was to prepare annual diseases’ and medicines’ use reports for the end of economic year. Working in Clinic Nepal was more valuable experience, because this center provides more services to the patients and their assortment of medicines is much greater in comparison to the Health Post. Also an interesting experience was the possibility to visit Primary Health Center and Hospital in Madi and Shivanagar and to compare medical services provided in different parts of the country. I met some very friendly doctors who shared their experience and opinions with me and we had chance to learn many things from each other.

My adventure in Nepal would not have been such an amazing time if not welcoming attitude and support I got from my family and their friends. I will always miss their cuisine, evening conversations I used to conduct with Aama in mixed Nepali-English language, younger brother’s break dance, watching TV serials in Hindi language – totally incomprehensible for me…

The time I spent in Nepal I will always cherish and I know now that coming here was the best decision I could have made. I am sure that when I have next possibility, I will come back here again.

Aletheia Bligh-Flower -UK

June 29th 2011

Food Growing : The women who are predominantly kisan(farmer) were each given half a dozen banana plants for them to plant as a small cash crop. The women were easily able to plant them and will eventually be able to sell the banana to grow.

Goat rising: Goats are a potular animal in Nepal. They are used predominantly as meat and there is always a market for them.

The women group has been given a goat whose offspring shall then be given to the next women and so on. This gives all the women an opportunity to hear goats on a small scale in order to earn added incomes all

Volunteer Ziga - Slovenia (April 30th 2011 )

Unfortunately I missed most of the festival program due to misunderstand about its duration. I saw there were some place were people could inform about importance of stones as building material I found that idea, very nice to inform and educate people about that issue. In Slovenia we are trying to achieve similar things, by promoting wood as a nature friendly recyclable construction material. That is because ¾ country is covered with forest. I things such festival is positive things for the community, for people to gather, share ideas, opinions and community to grave.

Stone Festival at Meghauli Village - Feb. 20th 2011

Future Nepal wants to make the people aware of the importance for stones. So we developed the concept of the stone Project . We started to apply this ‘stone project’ in different village. We choosed first the Meghauli Village in Chitwan district. We selected committee members and decided to held the ‘ stone festival’ every year in different part of Nepal. The first 'Stone Festval' was held at the Meghauli Village in Chitwan on March 4th, 5 th and 6th for 3 day which was the very newly and very first festival of it’s kind in Nepal had done. The village community has embraced the project with open arms and changed a bushy garden in a beautiful greenpark.

If we join our hands we can achieve anything. As we all know ‘an ocean starts with a drop of water’ - so also can a community start with one stone . Every foundation starts with a stone — so that is very important. Stones can be found everywhere in the village area so why not use these stones to start developing our village.

What is the Stone Project : The aim of this project is to develop our village ourselves. We have asked each person to donate Rupees 1.- per day or one kilo of stones per day that would mean per person 365 Rupees or 365 kilos of stones per year. Those wishing to donate more are welcome to do so. We use the stones and money to develop the most important areas in the village — like parks, children’s library, retirement home, orphanage home and roads and bridges and much more.

Why don’t you come and join us and help us in our new ‘ stone project’. We hope that our, help ourselves ‘stone project’ will one day become Nepal wide

Community Children Library -Nov.1st 2010

Future Nepal has just established a new children library in rented house at Meghauli Village in Chitwan district. The purpose of this library is to provide a beneficial learning resource for community children from all the caste. So we need wide variety of books and educational materials. We welcome to volunteer to help this library by assisting library, teaching to children, supporting children books and materials, donations etc.

Volunteer Cristina Valdivia (USA) - Nov. 29th 2010 

Nepal was beautiful. After arriving in the hectic city of Kathmandu I was excited to be going out to the quite countryside. I looked out the window on the bus ride and saw beautiful rolling hills, mountains, river banks and streams. We got to the village I was staying at and I found Nepal’s people were just as beautiful as it’s country. My host family warmly greeted me . My host mother, brother and sister were absolutely wonderful. They were thoughtful, inviting, attentive and caring. They were everything you could have wished for in a host family and made my trip more than memorable. I will always remember my sisters dancing to the latest popular song, my brother making funny jokes and my mother bringing me tea every morning. I learned how to live a simpler less choosy life. Life in the village lacked the stress of many modern day cities and consisted of a closely knit community. I will always be grateful for this experience and hope to live a simpler and happier life life the one I experienced here when I go back home to the states. Over all I had a wonderful experience and appreciate Durga’s Strong support in the whole process.

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