Ever since in the wake of the events of 11 September the Nepalese Maoists have been declared as terrorists, the country is in a kind of civil war. The Kathmandu valley, protected by army and police, has been spared so far by major violence, but large parts of the country are in the hands of the rebels, who at present are being persecuted relentlessly. There is hardly any day that the newspapers, which are censored due to the state of emergency, do not report about the killings of Maoists.
There is silence however about losses of soldiers and policemen. Various rumours come from villages: eye-witnesses report that soldiers fire from war-helicopters given to them by the Americans on anything in the jungle or the mountains which looks like people in groups. Many innocent peasants, working in their fields, are being killed in this way, being taken for terrorists.
The American government through its ambassador assured Nepal in March that Nepal will get arms worth of 200 million US dollars, a blow for all those who try to alleviate the incredible misery of the people. Such news is disconcerting for us and they make us reflect about the sense of our work, for even in Kathmandu a dish of rice has become a luxury by these days.
Obviously the motto is now: weapons instead of rice, and because tourists, previously the main source of income of the country, do not come anymore, unemployment rises dramatically. A friend of ours for many years and director of a thangka-painting-enterprise (Buddhist painting) had to dismiss 30 painters. Out of these, he feels, certainly half will change over to the Maoists, for they have nothing to lose anyhow. In this case we have to state: weapons, which are being used to destroy the "terrorists" cause still more misery and poverty and ironically make new rebels.
At present there are more days of strike, festivals and curfew than working days, and the whole city gets paralysed more and more. Schools only work half of the time, whereby the level of education will not improve, a state of affairs, which is not especially beneficial for our children.
Still things are going quite well at Children's World. A row of eight new children is sitting for their final school examinations at present. Only Kusum and Dilip will be in a position to continue their studies. Kusum is very eager to graduate in business management and Dilip wants to become a lawyer. For all others depending on the marks they secure in their school leaving exams a suitable training course has to be found in summer. Ten youngsters, who completed the two-years' college course, mostly secured good marks. Only Sija and Menuka did not reach the necessary level to enable them to continue, and therefore they now study equally to become secretaries.
Our Raj Kumar gave up his business. His chickens ate up all the flowers and to everybody's annoyance drop their shit anywhere in the compound of children's home, so Raj Kumar got fed up with being scolded constantly for this reason. Yet it is the impossible behaviour of his new cock, which finished the matter off: This wretched bird was not familiar with the rules of the caste system and did not know that chicken are very unclean to Brahmins. When it was caught one day feeding with relish from the plate of an old Brahmin lady from nearby, there was major trouble, and cock and chicken had to be sold, because this somehow decrepit, but nevertheless shrewd Brahmin woman started shouting about in the whole neighbourhood: This is not "Children's World", this is "Chicken's World". At any rate with the profit from the sale Raj Kumar could buy wonderful canvas shoes, which hide his deformed feet.
Our problem child Santosh again and again turns up in the children's home, especially in winter, when he falls sick. As soon as he recovers he disappears and again struggles through life, mostly as a dishwasher. He discontinued his training as a carpenter and refuses to learn anything.
Two similar cases are in the air: We succeeded in putting Dipesh into the best (!) school of Nepal. After several "incidences" he was expelled, but even in the government school, having a lower educational standard, where he now goes, he does not progress. He does little else than to create disturbances and do nonsense. In our country we would feel such behaviour to be almost "normal", but in Nepal, where most children do not have any chance for such mischief, it is not so "funny". Of course we cannot turn him out to the streets and take in his place a "good" pupil, for we know very well, what would become of him: a shrewd scoundrel. He certainly will not graduate from high school, and we shall wait till he is 14, and then we shall fix him somewhere as an apprentice, if he is willing to comply.
Our greatest concern is Bahrat. When we first saw him, he was running about naked across the mud of Kathmandu and slept beneath an old woman's lice-ridden, dirty blanket, which since has disappeared. In the course of four years he was not able to learn the alphabet neither in Nepali nor in English. Clearly he is a mentally retarded or even disabled, but psychiatrists of Kathmandu could not help him. We only hope that he will be taken care of later on by our children, who have managed it.
It has become very difficult for us to transport clothing to Kathmandu. Since no company flies directly to Kathmandu anymore, we have to depend on tourists who are willing to take a few kilos for us. Clothes have become by now almost as expensive as in Germany, and anybody who could help in this matter, would do a great service to our project. Especially trousers for girls and boys are needed, no matter what their size is, for there they can be fitted for a small amount of money.
Thanks to Khim, Sarshoti, Meena and Shiva the project runs smoothly. Meena's husband, our former driver Chandra, now works as a lorry-driver in Saudi Arabia. Sarsho and Shiva live since March in the compound of the children's home. Together with Khim they make an ideal group of four: Khim is the intelligent one, Sarshoti and Meena are like mothers to all, while Shiva is ready to undertake any task.
Although the children of "Children's World" unfortunately have a trend to ignore the misery of other people around, they know very well that you people have made possible this "happy island" for them in midst of the unimaginable poverty of their country, and together with the grown-up inmates of the children's home they would like to thank you. From this year onwards we shall send you, as you know from other organisations, receipts for your donations for 12 months.
Warmest greetings to all of you, see you!!