Monday, December 6, 2010
Yesterday Dad and I called upon on our trusted new friend, cab driver and guide Pandey. I'll have to get a picture of him. He is a wonderful person. Every morning at 4 a.m. he goes to the Hindu temple to pray, therefore he always has a smudge of red/yellow colored ashes called a "tika" upon his forehead. In addition, thus far, he always wears the same sweatshirt, black with a yellow puma on it. He drives a red Toyota which is immaculately clean. His kindness and help have been invaluable. We told him we wanted to purchase items for the orphanage. While Junu's orphanage is small and relatively clean, it is very cold, with concrete floors and single pane windows. When asked, Sanu, the main didi and secretary, mentioned they needed blankets and a floor mat. It is winter here in Nepal. The evenings get down into the thirties, thank goodness the days get a bit warmer, but there is no heat in the orphanage. Soon she said the sun will not be out as much during the day and it will be even colder. BRRRRR. The older children, including Junu, sleep on the floor. They have a small mat, you remember the sausages in a bun one, but that is it. The concrete floor is covered with a thin dark blue indoor/outdoor wore carpet. So you get the picture, right? Cold and hard.
Pandey knew exactly where to take us. We went to a Nepali market called Ason. It seems not many foreigners visit this area. It was beautiful to me. Vendors everywhere with fresh fruits and vegetable spilling over the straw/bamboo baskets, colorful handicrafts, blankets and clothing. The contrast of bright colors to the dirt streets and brick buildings was quite pronounced. Today the market was very full...many Nepali people everywhere. There are also more motorcycles and bicycles than you can imagine and all are roaming about these narrow walkways. One's peripheral vision needs to be on high alert here or you might just get mowed down.
As Nepal is quite spiritual, you can't go many places without noticing the plethora of temples. This market was no different. Pandey stopped to bow his head in respect. As we meandered and weaved in and out of people, motorcycles, temples, flowers, fruits, etc., we found our destination; a vendor who sold trekking gear. Of course, this is Nepal with the world's highest mountain, if we are going to find warm gear, this is where we would find it. Pandey was amazing. He negotiated Nepali prices for the two 4X8 meter radiant heat floor pads and 4 mats. You should have seen us carrying these bulky items back through the already too full market. Even more comical was trying to stuff them all into Pandey's car, like trying to fit a 2 lb. sausage in a 1 lb. bag. Seriously, people were gathering around his car watching, a few making suggestions, others just shaking their head in humor. It took some time, but mission accomplished. Dad was being helpful and stepped squarely in a pile of dog poo, which is everywhere. We all worked up a sweat, but that was just the beginning. We now had to go back into the market and find blankets, wool blankets.
After 4 unsuccessful stops for blankets (I am kinda picky and I wanted good wool blankets) we found the Nepal military vendors. These blankets are seriously warm. They were perfect and so we bought 4 large and 2 small blankets. Pandey carried them on this head all the way back to the car. We stopped for a quick cup of chai tea and then back to the hotel.
Now, we really had to do some maneuvering to fit 3 adults into the already overstuffed car. Nothing short of a miracle, but we did it. I couldn't move, nor could Dad. Pandey had just enough room to drive, it was quite a sight.
Once back at the hotel, we caused another stir because of the obvious. Cab drivers, door man and hotel managers were watching us unload and then stack the items in the hotel lobby. I guess this isn't everyday happenings at the ole' Everest Hotel. But they were kind in helping us and allowed us to keep the items in the lobby so we didn't have to trek them up to our room, whew.
Everyday at 1:30ish, Kamal shows up to take us to the orphanage. Kamal is my Nepali lawyer's assistant. He is a sweet young man that I have great endearment towards. I found out he is getting his masters in literature, he's a writer. Anyone have suggestions for a good book for him???? Claudia, Quique? He likes fiction and poetry. Please let me know as I'd like to get him a gift. There was another "rig-a-ma-roll" with the items being placed into Kamal's driver's cab, but fortunately it was a larger vehicle, so we managed. Off to see Juneybug.
The children were up and greeting us upon our arrival. Waves and smiles! We brought the items right in and Dad and Kamal began setting everything up. Junu was over in the corner with a rocking horse as the barrier between she and I. When I first arrive, she tends to be somber and "slumpy" for lack of a better word. Today I decided I would certainly give her love and attention, but I would hang back more, let her come to me. So this is what I did. She did come to sit with me as we watched Buwa and Kamal set up the room. All the other kids were in a state of ecstatic energy. They were beginning to jump on the foam pads as soon as they were laid down and Dad and Kamal had a heck of a time trying to set up the mats because the kids kept jumping on them as if it was a carnival ride. Too much fun. Junu and I watched together. Her friends where so joyful. Tumble bumble it was. As you can see from the excitement and antics in the pictures above. I just kept thinking that these kids haven't been able to move and tumble in this way, perhaps ever. Everything is new and fresh to them and I noticed that the energy became calmer after the kids had time to move in this way. All my therapist friends out there know why :) I even noticed a few future athletes in the bunch as well.
The day unfolded and Junu kept her reservation, however I noticed she was making more eye contact and was watching me when I was engaging with the other children. I kept giving her a simple touch and look here and there, but as I said, I really kept some distance today. After snack, we all went back upstairs to play. The floor was soooo nice now. Junu was getting a bit rough with the other kids at times and I just tried to redirect. She was wanting to get my attention. She also started to push into my back and even bonked me on the head with a ball. She would look for my reaction and then smile while moving away. I acknowledge her, but I really didn't want to set a precedence of hitting me to get my attention. I just rolled with it, because I thought, "well you can work on that stuff later, she is making contact and that is a big step". So this kind of "play" continued for a bit. Then she took a bag of toys and without being provoked she clocked a child in the head with it, kinda hard. Okay, now mother moves in. I took the bag away, put it up, said no, tried to get her to look at me, but she was like a slithery snake trying to get out of my arms. This time, not so much. I picked her up, she was kind of pushing me away and I said, no, I'm going to hold you now, nothing you can do is going to make me not love you and I just held her. I wanted to try and get her attention away from the kids and the orphanage, so I went to the window and looked out with her. She started to calm a bit and I could feel her energy shift to acceptance. I rocked her while standing and just held her. She let me hold her fully and then she put her little cinnamon colored arm around my neck and her head on my shoulder. She released her tough girl self to her mother. Ah, yes we are beginning understanding each other. I love her little brown "hinney" and when she was in my arms she relaxed enough to let a little gas go. Funny how you don't mind these things with your own child. All you parents understand and now I am part of that club, AMEN. Junu and I continued to hold one another for about 15 minutes and then, unfortunately I had to leave.
Today was marked by another peeling of the onion layer, more uncovering our fears and courage to step closer to one another. She does understand I am her mother and I guess, as I tell all of the parents whose children I work with, our kids will always test us the most. So interesting to be on this side of the fence.
Well, I am behind a post by one day, so I will do my best to catch up because the next day held even more break throughs, but for now, I must be off with Dad to get a few items and to start pricing washing machines. The orphanage doesn't have a working washer, can you imagine??? All laundry has been done by hand for over 1 month. We will see what we can do.
Much love from here in Nepal.
Peace and blessings,