This is the ongoing post from 2 CNIB employees who are in Nepal, helping
children with vision loss, and telling us what is happening.
It is still a little stressful driving around the city (okay, being driven around), seriously anything goes, we barely squeeze by when meeting on-coming traffic not to mention each car is stuffed with as many people as it can possible handle. It has become a favorite past time for us to count how many people will exit a standard minivan- we seem to lose count after 14, we promise will get a picture. Pedestrians hug the edge of the road and seem to just shift their shoulder in total composure as our side mirror just grazes past them. Street dogs stretch out on the makeshift sidewalks as if they are lying on the beach in the Caribbean- basking in the heat and being thrown scrapes of food.
We drove out to the school this evening- it was nice to see some country side as we approached Bungamati (small village approx 10 km south of Kathmandu) we got an beautiful view of the valley and tiered rice fields that surround the school. Kelly Beaverford arrived in Nepal and she introduced us to Maggie who works for Unicef and lives in Nepal with her husband who is a representative for United Nations.
We will share more of Daya Ram's work as we find out more about what this amazing man has done. He is presently the principal of a school hundreds of children and has taken on these additional blind children from rural areas so they could have a chance for an education. The children are living in a residence near the school, which includes very small dark rooms with 6-10 children sharing a room. These children would have never had a chance for an education as they lived in very remote areas- one student had to walk three days to get to his family home. The children are integrated into regular classrooms, Daya Ram has been working late into the night doing their Braille homework on a Brailler so that the children can participate in the school work. He is also feeding and clothing these children with donations from the international community. Tonight, she brought them all a chocolate cupcake and as they introduced themselves to us in English and told us their ages. There was one little boy who was five years old and very curious about everything and wanted to feel the Braille printer and all the papers. He followed us all around the school. We think he is going to be amazing when we put a white cane in his hand as he seems to know where he is all the time.
The school is a new building that is a work in progress as they received some funding from the government to rebuild because of the threat earthquakes.
We had discussed some short and long term goals for the children, the children that are currently in the 5th grade will be moving on to a different school. When first discussing the move to the new school we thought they would be starting in the fall. Not the case sixth grade starts for these children next week!! So not only do these children have to learn long cane-they have to demonstrate and use it in a week.
Off to prepare for the challenge.