Kinderhilfe Nepal e.V.Charity Organization for Nepalese Slum Children

Newsletter September, 2002

Dear Friends,

The political situation in Nepal does not improve. Now it is not only the USA, who support the Nepalese government in its fight against Maoists, but also India and ironically even China! Since the beginning of this year 5000 rebels have been killed. In the West of Nepal Moslem Kashmir-fighters set up several army-camps, a thing that India certainly does not like. In some parts of the country people are dying of hunger, but international aid-organisations cannot reach these remote places, as Maoists are attacking them and rebels are raiding their camps. For Maoists also go hungry, just as the government soldiers do. When any of them come to a village, they confiscate all foodstuff of the already poor peasants, because they ran themselves out of eatables. Many people are leaving their villages, although they do not know where to go. New elections have been announced for November, right in the middle of the main tourist season, which otherwise guaranteed survival for this country. Elections in Nepal might be a very turbulent and violent matter.

Kathmandu is quiet, but tourists also do not come anymore and unemployment and misery are growing constantly. When you see the photos of "Children's World" you will certainly wonder, how people, who are surrounded by such a catastrophic situation, can look so happy. This is easy to explain: Those 60 people, who live in our children's home, are very well off, because the money donated by you every month is always accredited to their bank account. All stomachs are filled, and they do not lack anything.

The results of the school-leaving exam are surprisingly good. We already had given up Santosh and Krishna, but due to unexpected good luck during the exam two talented friends were sitting in the row before them, and these two "copyists" achieved such good marks, that they will now study for two years interior design in a private college. Anyhow, both of them are gifted in drawing, if not in mathematics.

Sree Krishna and Goma came for holidays to Kathmandu and both, especially Goma, are developing to their best. This time a big problem cropped up among the older ones, namely their sexuality. In Nepal this is taboo. Sex is only experienced after marriage. A man like Khim, who is 30 years old, never in his life kissed or touched a girl, a thing that is by no means ridiculous in Nepal. Just, that people usually get married very early. Many friends would like to see Khim married , but he prefers to wait for the "great love". Our boys dream about the liberty which youngsters enjoy in the West and which they watch on the satellite TV. In a very naïve way they confided us that they just quickly masturbate in toilets, so they really wanted to know everything about sexuality: How it is really done in the West? Is it true that girls just have to swallow a pill in order to avoid having a child? Is it true that 2 or 3 condoms are saver than just one? When Raj Kumar told in front of all, that he awakes every night from dreams, which arouse him to orgasm, everybody was amazed and some of the girls, who appear naked in his dreams at night, really got upset. It was difficult to convince them that he does not abuse them, but that it was only his sub-consciousness, which produced such dreams.

Raj Kumar even cannot move his hands and still imagines he will get a wife. He asked us for permission to marry, and of course we agreed, but we had a long discussion about the problem to find someone for him… He thinks he need not have a bad conscience because of his dreams, for they are beyond his control. In Nepal every year there is a big festival where boys and girls, men and women, are becoming sisters and brothers to each other by some ritual. After this any sexual contact between them is forbidden. This ritual has been carried out very early in our children's home, and it was successful. A similar home in Germany with 25 boys and 25 girls would be unimaginable without love affairs. In Nepal it becomes possible by this religious ritual that is being taken very seriously.

On any day off the elder ones came again and again to talk over this matter. Twenty of them earn their money by odd jobs and they give part of it to children's home. We were a little shocked to know that all of them, even the girls, already had been to one of the many internet-cafés or tourist quarters in order to watch how the "thing" is exactly being done. The girls giggled, whereas the boys commented somewhat oddly, that it was alright to have a look at all this, but after some time these pictures were not enough for their fantasy and they felt the urge to go there again. Thus sexuality remains their main problem, and the sad state of affairs is that we cannot help them, for we just cannot take off the pressure, which the Nepalese society puts on them. It would be foolish to encourage them to follow the example of our youngsters, because they would be judged and punished too heavily by their surroundings. There are brothels in a certain part of Kathmandu, but we insistently warned our boys and begged them not to go there, because women there are infected by HIV/AIDS. Ten years ago there was not a single AIDS case in Nepal, and today HIV-infected persons and AIDS cases number 98.000 in the country, and tourists are largely responsible for this.

We might say that our project is running well. The daily communication by e-mail with Kim is a large factor for this. He likes to report on everything and to ask for a solution about the smallest problems of everyday life. We reply him consistently that he first should present his opinion and not expect all decisions to come from Germany. But he cannot do otherwise and needs approval. As he used to tell, Nepalese have no sense at all for psychology. In this country the main worry is to feed oneself and then one's family. Anything else is really secondary, and many small problems, which we see at once, are not even noticed by Kim. For him, other staff members and the children food is the most important concern, although they always eat the same: a huge pile of rice with lentils, vegetables and alternatively meat, eggs or tofu, whilst rice remains the most important item. Compared to the food of most of their countrymen this is a feast. When children eat, there is total silence in the room. Eating is the only thing they do with a kind of greed but also with extreme concentration. Everybody went hungry in early childhood, and this deficiency made an indelible impression on his or her psyche. If you, who support this project, only could watch our little ones of Children's World eating, you would be amazed and you would almost experience physically how important and essential your help is.

As mentioned in our last newsletter, we shall send you the receipts for your donations for 2002 by end of this year. We very much thank you for your fidelity and you will hear again from us in December. Many heartfelt greetings from our side!

With kind regards!

Elisabeth Montet