Friday, July 29, 2011

Dates are set for art trip to rural areas: Volunteers needed.

I have just received news that the Sri Raithane Secondary school at Thangpalkot Village of Sindhupalchowk District will be one of the first schools we will visit on the trip. Our plan is that we would leave on the 8th of January to the 18th.The school has offered us accommodation in one of their classrooms. And they have been so amazing and offered to subsidize our meals by 50%. COMMITTED has agreed that they will assist us with the bus fees. I need to add that you will be living under very basic conditions and it will be cold. But I can guarantee that this will be an amazing adventure for those of you that would like to experience the culture and spend some time with the children. Please do contact me at if you have any questions. Or join our facebook group at
You can also look at this link and see the projects COMMITTED are planning for this school. Please give them your support.
We will sleep in one of these classrooms.
Although one of the least developed, this district can be one of the finest tourist destination attracting both national and international tourists. The tourist places of this district include, Langtang Himal, Langtang National Park Jugal Himal, Panch Pokhari, Tato pani, and Gaurati Bhimeswor. People here depend entirely on agriculture for their survival. Since the district is geographically hilly, there are very less fertile land and the yield is very less. So, the lifestyle of people is not easy. This district is easily accessible from Kathmandu, but due to various reasons, it is not well developed, and is called as a remote district. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Would you give your shoes?

What a day it has been. Such a roller coaster, but so beautifully is it unveiled. I had gone for a walk this afternoon as it is a time for me to recharge and get in touch with what is going on in my head. I usually go for about an 8 mile walk in a park close to our house. Those of you that know Houston know it is about 92 degrees, but it kind of cleanses me by the time I return.

To give a picture of the park, there is a gravel/stone walking path and you can see from there a neatly tarred pathway. Your choice as to which one you want to walk. Today I decided to walk the stone path, and while I was walking it I had this vision in my head. Please note this is only a vision. I looked at the nicely paved road on the other side and I was wondering, why I am I walking here on this stone road. Why am I walking on the side where nobody is walking? I felt so completely alone at that moment. And I thought "stop stop,can somebody please give me some shoes so that my feet does not get so hurt if this is the path I need to walk." Why am I walking without shoes on the difficult road? Why did I not choose the easy way on the other side?

And at that moment I had a flash of a time a couple of years back. How amazing is the universe in showing you its messages. I had gone with a few friends to a trance party that was out in the mountains. We had to park the car at the foot of the mountain and we had a bit of a trek until we reached an open area where the party was held. We decided to walk a bit further until we found a space where we could pitch our tent. On the Sunday afternoon, I decided to go and lie down in the tent and left my shoes outside. Around 5:00 PM, at least close to it getting dark, my friends came to call me so that we could pack up. When I got out of the tent I had realized that my shoes were gone, and we came to the conclusion that somebody needed the shoes as they must have lost theirs or maybe thought it was theirs. Not sure what happened there. So now we had to start thinking of how I was going to get back to the car. It was getting dark, the road back was thorny and stony, rocky and pretty impossible to walk all the way back bare feet. It would not be possible for anybody to even carry me as we had so much gear to carry back and the road was pretty long. So my dear friend Stelios said that I should wait a minute and he will be back. Not long after he returned and he had a pair of shoes in his hand. And amazing it was my size. He had spoken to some girls and somebody had given the shoes as they were able to bring their car pretty close and she did not need them. I never knew who they were and every time I wore the shoes after that I would always tell the story. Then one day I was telling this to Netti, a girl I had met a little while after that. I had the shoes on and told her how grateful I was for those shoes. I wore them actually until they eventually broke and could not be fixed. She smiled and said that it was her best friend’s shoes. She was with her friend and they camped just a few meters away from us. I was so touched by that gesture and wore those shoes with such pride. Sometime after that Netti and I ended up on the journey to Nepal together. I do love you guys….
And I realized that I need not feel alone as the universe will always provide. It will know what we need before we even ask for it. And thank you to the universe for always knowing our hearts. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The questions we ask.

Over the course of this year I have been asked this question so many times. So why are you doing this? What made you decide to do this? Why would you do this without any monetary compensation?  And believe me you are not the only one asking me that, I still ask myself that question many times each week, thinking that there is so many easier things I could do. Thinking I must be crazy, why work two jobs so that we can afford this trip. Can’t I just donate some money or support a cause and I have done my little part.
It is one of those questions I have tried to explain and answer, but it is not something I can really put into words. For those of you that have ever made the decision to listen to what the universe whispers in your ear will understand what I mean. It is something that I just knew I had to do. The why, how, when and where was what I needed to figure out. It was a journey in itself to me, to come to the point of not struggling against what I knew. Surrendering yourself is not an easy journey, one that is still a battle for me every day. When so many doors close, there will be that one door that only lets in a glimmer of light and I will knock harder the next time. But for the first time in my forty two years I have found a peace in what I know, I have stopped asking myself the question why why why. I was so determined to find out the reason to everything that I forgot to just be quiet.  My life has always been such a puzzle, some very difficult times, when I questioned my life, and why I needed to go through everything I did. Now I do understand, as without those strengths and lessons I could never have been the person I am now. But I am still learning every day. But since working on this project and dream I am finding my inner strength again, the purpose I needed to be who I am now.  

The bigger question I get is why art? Why are you focusing on that? Believe me, it is not something I just decided on one day. For some reason the universe has guided me to come to this point. I still don’t know if this is where my purpose would be, but it has been very exciting to see how a small seed has sprouted. Art, reading and dreaming is the one thing that played such a big part in my childhood. As a child, things were not as rosy as it is in many homes. During the week I remember counting the days till the weekends. Not because of family outings or playing with my friends. I counted the days till I could lose myself in my books and drawings. On Saturdays I remember waking up and spending the entire weekend in my room. Reading reading and drawing. Losing myself in dreams, hopes and believing in wishes. Whatever was happening outside of my room did not matter. As I was allowed to be happy, smile and dream through books and pictures. And for that reason I know how important it is for each and every child to have the opportunity to know that wishes and dreams do come true. For them to see beyond their situation, to use their imagination. There is nothing more special than when a child for the first time creates something, something that they made. To see the light in their eyes and the excitement and beauty in them, and it is the most precious gift for me to be a part of that. That is my reward, which makes everyday worth it. There is no way I can put a monetary value on that.

At this point we have no funds to purchase art supplies. But I have been working on collecting used supplies, bidding on a site where I sell and buy. I do not know at this point how many children we will be able to involve as it will depend on the collection. But I hope that you can be a part of our dream and bring color into the schools of Nepal with us. Maybe it is a time for me/us to have faith in what we believe, no matter how the odds are stacked against us. I have heard from so many that this is not the kind of projects people sponsor, but I believe once each and every one of us think back to when we were young, how important creating, dreaming and wishes were in our lives, then it all will be. Can you imagine never……    

Friday, July 22, 2011

Art on the road is moving forward: Any volunteers want to join in January?

Great news everybody! Slowly but surely our vision for this project is coming together. We are joining hands with a non-profit organization called COMMITED They have been doing work in the rural areas of Nepal and we will be visiting a few of their schools. COMMITTED is currently undertaking a project to extend the Sri Raithane School to include grades 11 and 12, as currently the children have to walk 2 hrs to reach that school. By completing the additional classrooms they will only have a 2 minute walk to school and give the children the opportunity to complete High School. Please support their efforts and donate at .

We will be visiting 3 schools which are approximately 20 minutes walk from each other. Depending on the number of volunteers and the amount of art and craft supplies we can collect, will determine how many children we can involve. These schools are in the Sindhupalchowk District, and we will reach it by local bus. The dates are still being determined and discussed with the schools, but we plan to visit them during January month. I will post dates as soon as I hear word. The community has been so amazing and offered the volunteers that are joining on this project free accommodation in their homes. Your only expense would be food, which we can arrange with the community. But the cost for that would be minimal. I do have to ad that it is a very cold time of the year, and there will be no hot showers, western toilets or comfy beds. We will live with the community and eat the local food. This is a great opportunity for people to experience the Nepali culture and at the same time work with the children at the school. We will be organizing art and craft classes and outdoor activities with the schools. My dream is to bring color and imagination into the classrooms, to give each child the chance to dream. I am currently working on collecting art from other parts of the world and have been approaching schools to hear if they would want to be a part in the art exchange program. You do not have to be an artist to volunteer, as I myself am not one. Love for the children and everything colorful is very important. I have added a few pictures from the area to give you a better idea of where we will be going. Do email me for more details at

Monday, July 18, 2011

Children's books needed for small library.

If anybody is travelling in the near future to Kathmandu and has space for a few books, it will be very much appreciated. Please email me and we can arrange a pick up or drop off. Even one or two books are more than what we had before. Thank you to all the volunteers that are working so hard on this project.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Can we change the future of even just one child?

Learning a new song in class
As you might know by now I will be in Kathmandu for December and January month, working on a few projects at the school. During my last visit to Bhakta Vidyashram a request was made by the teachers to ask us if we would be able to raise sponsorship for the children’s school fees. Unfortunately many of the children are in the position that their parents cannot afford to pay the school fees required for them to stay in school. They leave school at a young age, because there are no funds for uniforms, school supplies or any of the other necessary items they need for school. In Nepal, education is not compulsory and many of the children are taken out of school to start working at a very young age. My hope is that we can change things for the children and allow them to complete their education, giving them a better future. I am planning on my visit at the end of the year to interview children as well as their parents make a determination as to those who are the most in need. The school fee per year for the younger children is just under $5.00 and the older children just under $10.00 depending on the exchange rate. If anybody would like to sponsor a child I can vouch that this money would go straight to the children’s school fees. As you have read before, we don’t use any of the donations to pay for our expenses, flight tickets or administration fees. These cost we carry ourselves and all donations go straight to each individual project. If anybody is interested in assisting with sponsoring a child, you could also choose to assist with school supplies for the sponsored child or maybe a school uniform. I would shop for these items myself during my visit and supply you with the necessary receipts as determined. During the winter months it gets extremely cold in the classrooms and I was hoping to maybe be able to purchase some shoes, gloves or a hat for the sponsored children, depending on the need and also as per your request. On our last visit we were only able to donate 67 backpacks, but many of the children are still without back packs. There are currently only about 150 children at the school, and the numbers are slowly dwindling because of the state of the school and the cost of keeping the children in school. I truly hope that somehow we will be able to assist the children in continuing their education. And without your help I cannot do any of this.  Thank you for giving me a few minutes of your time by reading these words :}.    

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Dhanyabad to all

Dhanyabaad from all at  Bhakta Vidayshram

I just wanted to thank each and every one that has written me over the last few days. For those of you that have offered to bring books from all over the globe and those that are and will be in Kathmandu that have volunteered their time to number and catalogue each book. Without your support none of this will be and could be possible. I am so excited to see a dream come true not for me but for each and every child that will have the opportunity to read the stories and fairytales we all grew up with. To give them the opportunity to lose themselves in the stories we loved and whom many of us now read to our children and grandchildren. I do hope those of you that will be in Kathmandu in December can join us when we hand over the books to the school. We are still very much looking for any basic children English books. The ages of the children range from Grade 1 to Grade 10. There are approximately 150 children at the school, so not a very big group. If anybody has any time to assist Shreeju during the coming months with cataloging and collecting books, please email me at

The school only has 3 cabinets that can lock for us to store the books. As you can see from the picture the cabinets are not in very good shape. If anybody has a cabinet standing around at home that is not being used, please do keep the school in mind. The classrooms have no windows and there are no doors. This leaves the children and everything inside completely exposed to the rain, wind and all the elements. For that reason we need cabinets that can lock so that the books can be protected until we can raise enough money to upgrade the building.