05.15.2012 42 °C
Because all the schools, stores, and roads are mostly closed due to the strike, Stephen and I have two choices to pass the day: go outside and potentially die of heatstroke, or attempt to watch season 1 of Game of Thrones in one sitting. We choose the latter.
Fortunately for us, there are a few people who can meet with us, and we have barely made a dent in our funds so it's time to get down to business.
We are off to go to meet Sister Jaya, a sister of the Holy Cross who runs both the Amar Jyoti Center for Differently Abled and the Amar Jyoti Secondary High School.
Sister Jaya, a homely woman in her late 60's, has fully dedicated the last 25 years to helping the communities disabled. Originally working in India as a University professor in mathematics, she decided to join the Sister of the Holy Cross and move to Nepal. There are certain people in this world who emit an aura of caring, understanding and selflessness. Of all the people we have met, she is among the most noble and inspiring.
Sister Jaya contacts the children within walking distance of the disabled center to come meet us (again, with the strike...people can't get to the center). We are warmly greeted with flowers by about 15 children with various mental illnesses, all deeply cared for by the sisters. The kids do gymnastics, play games, and learn to embroider, make candles, and stitch. The center's main goal is to help the children be self-sustainable and integrate them into society to be successful and feel self-worthy. Please excuse the cliches for a bit as I pour my heart out about these children.
I am especially touched by a brother and sister, both with Down's Syndrome. The girl, around 5 years of age, is more affected by the genetic disorder and the brother completely takes care of her. While she covers her eyes during the games, he playfully hits her and soon they are both laughing and trying to tackle me in a game of "cat and rat" (A game which a highly reccommend... FUN).
There's another girl who instantly becomes attached to me and holds my hand despite the fact that I don't know her. Regardless of what condition these children suffer from, all they have is love and appreciation for those who show them love back. Naturally, Stephen and I want to help them as much as possible. Sister Jaya gives us a list of what they need and the prices. Unfortunately, we can't go and buy the items like we planned to due to the strike, so our donations from now on must be strictly monetary. No matter. We shall tackle our goal one way or the other.
In the evening one of the doctors, Dr. Selma, invites us to her place for dinner in her humble apartment. All of the doctors live beside the hospital in one building which vaguely reminds me of living in residence. It is here that we taste, by far, the best meal we've had since arriving in Nepal. Dinner is several dishes including potatoes, chicken, bitter melon (?), and spinach all cooked in various sauces of curry and Nepalese spices. And of course heaps of rice.
Our business for today is done and we will get ready to visit more schools tomorrow.
Peace and Blessings
Side note: The Amar Jyoti Center for Differently Abled is in desperate need for financial and voluntary support. If you're at all interested in helping out, I think it would be an amazing oppportunity for those interested in speech therapy, occupational therapy, or just volunteering. If you have any questions, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sister Jaya at email@example.com