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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Many Hats

Over the past week and a half we have taken on many roles. From tourist, to volunteer, to bumper car driver, to hiker, to cook, to personal shopper, to scary ride hand-holder, to sculptor, to reader, to vomit mopper-upper, to card dealer, and a few things in between, we have managed to wear many hats and keep things interesting.

Sight seeing has taken us to the Kopan Monastery where we admired the Stupha, took in wise words from the Dalai Lama and left some love for Buddha.

Hiking took us to the highest point in the Nagarjun Forest Reserve from where we were rewarded with views of the valley and the seemingly never ending stream of prayer flags adorning the treetops.

We celebrated the Dasain festival and took the kids to one of their favorite places, the Children's Fun Park!
From bumper cars to the ferris wheel, it was your typical carnival. Without the safety restraints, seat belts, or the 'You must be this tall to ride' signs ofcourse. Without these restrictions, the littlest of kids tested their moxy on the biggest of rides and so, yes, in this picture Troy is in fact physically restraining a six year old to keep her in her seat on the big boat ride!

We watched their faces fill with excitement as they experienced the thrills that were on offer and kept watching as their faces turned varius shades of green after said moxy tests. When the ice cream could no longer be held inside tummies, we called it a day.

At the house we honed our UNO playing skills and have learned to hide our hands to avoid being duped by strategy orchestrated around the table in Nepali. We have also learned the favorite local card game and are subjected to wild group cheers, finger pointing and 'Loser!' chants when we are beat. Aren't kids great? Troy has started playing them for money, insisting that this is okay because he has only just broken even...

We have been sculptors, creating plasticine masterpieces while also discovering that it is equally fun to throw it in the air and have it stick to the ceiling. We have giggled and wrestled, entertained budding magicians...

We even put on chefs hats for a day and were taught how to make momos, a traditional nepali steamed dumpling.

It was kind of like making perogies. Many hands required and hours of preparation to cut, roll, and pinch hundreds of perfect little momos. And all of this followed by complete consumption in a single meal!

Our culinary teaching in exchange was Worms-in-Dirt (you know, chocolate pudding, cookie crumbs and gummy worms). Although, we had to substitute the worms for these other gummy things that actually looked like larvae because we could seriously not find worms... Gummy dinosaurs, sure. Gummy fish, sharks or bears, easy. Gummy cheeseburgers, gummy spaghetti, and gummy strawberries, no problem. What happened to gummy worms??!!. The mud pies were inhaled however so apparently I was the only one bothered by the lack of worms.

Thanks to funds raised by the organization ELI Abroad, we were able to take on the role of shoppers as we have been charged with spending donated funds as we see fit to benefit the orphanage. After much discussion with the house mother, we have allocated some money for house needs and some money to be spent directly on the children.

ELI's generous contribution has allowed us the opportunity to really feel the joy of giving. Though we have not yet exhausted the funds, so far the children have each been decked out in a new pair of clothes, shoes were purchased for those who had outgrown them, individual water bottles were handed out and a new pressure cooker and steemer were added to the kitchen.

But perhaps the most fulfilling has been to help foster the joy of reading. The selection of reading materials at the house was looking a bit sparse and tired so we set aside a budget to help bring it back to life. We took the kids four and five at a time to a bookstore to pick out some new material. An adventure all on its own!

The young kids were mesmerized by size (the bigger the better), hard covers, and plastic wrap. Actually being able to read the book came secondary. We had to talk many a six year old down from Harry Potter, The Collector's Edition, to something a little more comfortable and explain that No, we couldn't add plastic wrap to their selections once we left the store. It was fun to watch the agonizing decisions being made by some, surrounded by so many choices, while others walked in and requested specific titles without having to look around.

Although, two days later, young Chek's book, My first 1000 words, is still tucked away securely in it's vacuum packaging, most of the kids have delved into their new books and each time we visit they announce proudly the number of pages they have read in our absence. From Mr. Happy to Nancy Drew to The Alchemist, the new library includes almost forty books, covers all reading levels, and promises to keep them busy for a while :).

Hats off to you ELI!


  1. What? No gummy worms?? I'm with you, Nic, how can a "mud pie" be the same without a worm????? He he!

  2. Farn, How about them Bronco's!!!
    If you haven't heard they are off to a 4-0 start!
    I just wanted to encourage you guys, I have been following along on your blog fairly regularly and just want you to know that you are missed and I am proud of both of you.

    Talk to you soon,