Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Poverty, Child Slaves, Education

Poverty....It's an ugly word. Nepal is no stranger to it as it ranks in the top 15 poorest countries in the world.
Everyday I'm reminded of the poverty here in Nepal. In the mornings I sometimes go to roof top and gaze the landscape around me. Women and children walk down the dirt path with empty plastic bottles in each hand to go gather water. They wait in line as other people are using that same watering spot as a shower/laundromat. Everyday the power goes out for a total of 4hrs. Soon it will get into the double digits. 37.7% of the people spend about 1 dollar a day, while only 35% have use of adequate sanitation facilities. Out of 1,000 kids 75 don't get to the age of 5. Health is a big issue for Nepal.
There are very kind generous people here, but there are also very corrupt people here in Nepal. They will do anything for money it. There are people who will go to rural villages and tell families their child can go to school and be taken care of. The parents not being able to take care of the child want the best for the child and accept. They sign a paper not knowing what it says because they can't read. What ends up happening is the "home" that the man works for puts the kid up for adoption. He can do this because the mother/father signed their kid away and didn't even know it. A wealthy family for the west adopts the kid for up to 25,000 dollars. When the parents find out its too late and can do nothing about it.
This leads to the literacy rate. 48.6% of the total population can read, while only 34.9% of women can read in Nepal. This has to change. In Nepal women are thought as a burden. Families rather have boys and if the mother has a girl she is considered bad luck or its her fault. The women do all of the work. I see this everyday with my own eyes. When I walk outside my door I see women cleaning the dishes or getting the water. The men in the meantime are playing games or just sitting drinking tea.
If a family is really poor and needs money they usually sell the girls. Women are promised sometimes better futures, money, and schooling by people. These people trick them and take them to brothels to become prostitutes. They are trafficked all over the world. To India all the way over to the middle east over to eastern China. When they go to other countries they can't escape because they can't read or know anything about the place. Also the people who are holding them there say they will go to jail cause they are there illegally.
These girls are as young as 9 years old. They work 7 days a week and have maybe up to 11 "clients" a day. There are estimated around 200,000 women and girls as sex slaves in India. Police are paid off by the brothels to not do anything. In the world its said that every minute 2 children are sold. The girls are usually set free when they either contract HIV or some other STD. They can not return to their homes after because they are not allowed back. They usually stay in the business and become recruiters for new girls.
There is a vicious cycle, but it can be broken. Education can fix the problem I believe. Kids should be able to go to school, learn and laugh. Be able to write and read. Be taught about the dangers that are out there and how to stop them. There are many problems in Nepal these are just some of them. Hopefully the children of the future will see the change soon...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dhapasi Days

Since my last entry I have not left Dhapasi once. I've spent all my time hanging out with Vinod, Anita, and the children. For those of you who don't know, Dhapasi is in the northern part of the valley in Kathmandu.

Nepal Orphan Homes is the name of the organization I am volunteering at. In Dhapasi it has now four hostels. Three girls hostels and one boys hostel. Vinod (21) is in charge of the boys hostel and his sister Anita is in charge of one of the girl's hostel.

My days have usually started whenever I hear one of the other volunteers getting up, children yelling outside, adults singing outside, or people building things next door. I usually stay in my warm sleeping bag as long as I can. I think about what i'm going to do that day.......even though I know, but I think the real reason is because I just like having a little time to myself. You know just to think about things and put thing in perspective. So anyway I get up at like 8:30 and have a quick bite to eat then run down to Vinod and Anita's hostel to take the kids to school. When I get there the kids are usually already lined up and waiting for the kids from Michale's (founder) hostel to come. As I walk in the youngest children are the first to come up to me and greet me. "Hello Sam Brother! Good Morning! How are you?" For six days out of the week i'm lucky enough to have this happen to me. The same thing also happens when we pick them up from school.

While the kids are at school I either go out with Vinod and help him with some work that he has to do for Michael or I stay and teach the new girls, which are not ready to go to school with the other kids yet. These girls who are from the Dang district in western Nepal are ages 5-15 I believe.

During the week of Thanksgiving Vinod and Anita had to go to their village for a few days. Michael asked me if I would stay at the boys hostel and watch them. I said "yes" of course. It was a really good experience and if Vinod needed a day off ever I would do it in a heart beat. (I dont think this would ever happen because Vinod loves his job too much!!) The children wake up around 5am everyday. They do morning exercises,basketball,study,drink tea, eat breakfest, and then get ready for school. At night after dinner I would go around to the boy's rooms and give them meds that they needed. Cough medicine was the main thing givin to them.

I'm really thankful that Michael trusts me enough to watch the boys while Vinod is gone. I really enjoy being with the kids and hanging out with them. Last year when I was here it was kinda hard leaving, but this year I know its really really not going to be easy.

It's getting pretty cold here and Christmas is really close now. The kids are getting excited and I know they are going to love whatever Michael and is staff have in store for them. After Christmas I think im going to head south down to Narti. Its going to be much warmer there and I think I should leave the city at least one more time before I head back home. In Narti I'll prob be teaching there and hopefully learning more about child slavery and how to help stop it and prevent it from happening.

Well thats all for now. Have a great Christmas!!!
Ill post some pics on here sometime when I get the chance