Even though most Nepalese, who live without electricity in the mountains, cannot know what happens in the world, 11th September has been a crucial day even for Nepal, which also effected the domestic affairs of the country. For the maoists (maobadi), who could increase their influence on the public to the extent that the government was ready to hold talks with them, this date is a hard and memorable day. Suddenly these rebels were described by the government as "Bin Laden's Friends", whereas the two bright leaders of the movement, who graduated with honours from US universities, preferred to hide in the jungle for the time being.
The Americans without any problem got permission from the Nepal government to use the airport of Kathmandu if need be as a military airbase for their attacks, and a few days ago it was reported that the USA had presented Nepal with 12 war-helicopters and other sophisticated war equipment, which allows for fighting at night. With this equipment the Nepalese army was expected to join the "attack against terror" and eliminate the maoist rebels. Anybody who knows the state of affairs in Nepal would hope that the Americans also supplied the necessary personnel along with this equipment. Whether the Nepalese army will be able to handle this machinery, let alone its maintenance, is very doubtful. But in the meantime we came to know from Khim that these days the armistice between the two parties had been broken by the maoists. In a single day, during attacks on a police station and army camp, 30 soldiers and policemen, besides 60 maoists were killed. In the course of this operation the rebels got hold of a considerable part of the newly acquired fighting equipment. 400 government soldiers reportedly were abducted to the jungle, the rebels gained control over two more regions and robbed the banks of 10 billions of Rupees.
Our children's home and the general populace are hardly effected by this turn of events, whilst the countless US dollars flowing at present into the country, hardly will be used for the benefit of the poorest of the poor. They have been miserable in the past and they will remain miserable. Every year at this time Nepali people celebrate their big festival dasain. In these days Kathmandu is empty, because most people go to their villages, in order to get stuck a "tikka" or red point on the forehead by their parents and elders, which is supposed to bless and protect them for the next year. For this occasion people are buying new clothes, and for most of them they have to hold out till the next dasain festival.
We allow the bigger boys, even those who have no more parents, to take part in this ritual, because we feel they should not be cut off from their roots. The elder girls can also return to their native villages for this event, if we find a reliable person to accompany them. But this year the boys returned already after a few days to children's home. Most areas in the mountains are in the hands of the maobadi, who are keen to forcefully recruit such clever young men. Although our boys share the ideas of the rebels they prefer life in Children's World, which is more comfortable and better than fighting against mosquitoes and government soldiers in the jungle. To be honest, we were also relieved to see our "chicken" back at home.
As regards the real chicken Raj Kumar has by now become expert in breeding them. The neighbouring cook did his job well, and the hen has nine issues! All are alive and thriving well. Raj Kumar sold the incestuous cock of the first breed for dasain to our driver for 300 Rs, which means not less than 10 DM! The condition of the boy remains stable, although he persistently refuses to go to a physiotherapist. He thinks he can do the exercise just as well twice a day with Hareram, who at present looks after him. We do not like this very much, but Raj Kumar's body is distorted to such an extent that the sessions at the physiotherapist are a real torture for him. His trunk is just fixed by an artificial support, a kind of plastic tube, which keeps his backbone in an upright position during the day. Here in Germany children with such a disease get in very painful surgery metal plaques implanted along the entire backbone. Such a possibility does not exist in Nepal, but the plastic tube serves the purpose quite well.
Due to the generosity of a sponsor from Nürnberg, who already donated us the computer, we could get installed a solar panel on the roof, which now provides warm water for the entire house. Quite a luxury for everybody, especially from November till March! These are the cold months, and in the evening the temperature may be as low as zero. Now there will be no more excuse for running about dirty, which is especially frequent with the elder boys. The small ones have no chance to escape the ordeal of getting washed in winter, because Sarshoti and Meena keep watch over the bathroom every morning. The elder children regularly pay the amount, we demand from them, for being allowed to live in Children's World. In this way they bear the entire cost of running our cars. Gradually they are getting proud of their contribution, whilst they gather lot of interesting experience at their jobs.
Ram Pukhar, our "stuttering boy", is really a lucky fellow, for a young speech therapist, at present for visit in children's home, twice a day trains with him. She teaches him tricks and breathing exercises, which already considerably reduced his stuttering, as he reported us enthusiastically. Julia, such is her name, came across our address in the web and got an idea of travelling to Nepal. When we talked with her on the phone we felt that it is real luck for us to get sent a specialist for Ram Pukhar to Nepal. She spent three weeks in children's home; nowadays she is living nearby, so that Ram Pukhar will continue to be benefited by her.
Our blind Goma sent us a photo from Delhi that shows her in a sari. In this dress she imagines herself to be more beautiful, and she asked for our confirmation. She does her best at school and every week writes e-mails to us. She feels that life has become hard for her, because now she starts getting aware that people treat her like a disabled person. That irritates her a lot and makes her aggressive; many times she wrote that in future she wants to achieve something really great, which no other blind person has done before her. She is the strongest personality and the most intelligent among our students.
Any visitor, who happens to come to Children's World is fascinated, how peaceful and happy all live here. Even to us this place at times seems unreal, a kind of "happy island" in midst of this poor country and our hapless world full of misery. This small paradise has come into existence only due to your support, and with our reports we would like to share a little bit of its warmth and comfort with you. Certainly we shall not be able to abolish all the misery in the world, but it also true, that by working together, we can achieve something. We all wish you happy and peaceful holidays and a happy, healthy New Year 2002! Many loving greetings and all the best to you!
Elisabeth Montet and Uwe Pohlig