Sunday, February 19, 2012

Do we listen or walk on?

Since arriving back from Kathmandu, I have been trying to lift my spirits and to be here in the moment and not to be missing all the children, cold showers, runny noses and painted pictures. Had some time this morning between work to go and take walk in the park. For some reason I decided that I would leave my IPod at home and thought it would be better walking without ear buds so I could clear my head.

I was thinking and talking wondering why I was feeling so without any energy or focus and how I could be back to my normal self again. I missed who I was and did not enjoy feeling the way I have been since I have returned. I have been thinking a lot of what it is I need to do and all the how’s, what and where’s for getting all these projects moving. As I was thinking this I heard a rustle in the leaves next to me and I stopped to see if there was a dog, rabbit or some kind of animal that was going to jump out into the path way. As I was standing there waiting, all of a sudden this huge big tree just came crashing down in front of me. There were splinters flying and it made such a loud thud as it fell. It looked as if it was just pushed over, as it uprooted itself from the ground. If I did not hear that noise or decided to keep moving, that tree would have crushed me for sure.
I was standing there for a few seconds and at that moment I saw it all so clearly. How thankful I was to know I am protected, so grateful for this amazingly beautiful day and realized that I was happy to be in that moment. To have been stopped so that I could listen, and to avoid this crashing tree. Life shows us these moments and in an instant I knew how precious our lives are, that we need to listen and be aware of what is around us. That there is no need for me to struggle with all these confusions in my mind and that it will be taken care of. Just stand still, listen and trust what you feel and know. Trying to figure everything out in our life’s takes up so much of our energy that we don’t stop to listen. It was a huge wake up call, in more ways than one. I have to tell myself these things every day, as trust is still something I have to work on every day. And sometimes the universe has to make such a big statement, to wake me up. Don’t be the one that does not hear its message and have it come crashing down on you. Let us try each day to be the best person we can be, to live our lives so that each day matters, to be aware and take notice of what is around us, and look at the world as we are meant to.
Dreams are like may never touch them, but if you follow them they will lead you to your destiny.

Friday, February 10, 2012

English teachers needed in Kathmandu: No fees charged

School is back in session for the new term! I wanted to thank all the volunteers that have worked at Bhakta Vidyashram this last year. Your presence, love and dedication made a huge impact and difference. I wanted to give some information to any volunteers that were thinking of helping out at the school.
After a discussion with the school, it was asked that volunteers stay a minimum of at least 2 weeks. We found that it took a few days for the children to get to know the teacher and also for the volunteer to find their feet at the school. Unfortunately we cannot provide any free lodging, but I have an agreement with a guest house close by for Rs 450 per night. This price would be subject to change depending on rising costs in Nepal.
Room at guest house.
Bhakta Vidyashram is within walking distance of Thamel, maybe 10 minutes. School runs from Sunday to Thursday 10 AM - 4 PM and till 12 PM on Fridays. Volunteers can choose the hours they would be available.     
We have recently opened a reading room at the school, and we are hoping volunteers could encourage reading and maybe have story times etc at the school. If anybody has any children’s books they would love to donate, it will be so much appreciated.

The dates for school are as follows: Mar 25 – April 03 Annual examination. New school term will begin April 15. I will be receiving the new term dates when school reopens in April as it is the beginning of their school year then. But if you are needing dates before that I can provide last years dates as a guideline.
We are working on plans to do another Art on the Road trip later in the year. Please write me and I could add you to the mailing list if you were interested in joining. My email is Please join us on Facebook

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"Where there is color there is hope."

Somebody said the other day that “Faith is the absence of sense.” And I am not meaning religion now, I mean when you believe in something, no matter how crazy it may seem. These words stuck by me for quite a few days now and I realize how true it is. When I started writing the blog most of what I believed could happen made no sense in how it would happen. Even now when I look at my dream for the year to come, I have no idea how we can do any of this. But I know with absolute certainty that it all can be possible.
We were thinking of a slogan that would describe what WatersFromHeaven stands for and something that we could all identify with. We decided on “Where there is color there is hope.” Bringing color into the schools has been my dream from the beginning. I believe that when you start dreaming in colors, anything in the world can be possible and hope can be alive.
When we were on the Art trip, we walked by so many children sitting on a heap of stone, breaking up stones as their daily job. For them there was no school, and they were covered in dust and dirt. Some as young as 6 or 7 years old. The only thing I had with me that I could share as we walked along was sheets of stickers, round colorful ones. They did not know stickers, but called it Tikka when I would reach out to them. The smiles that lit up from them when putting such a small dot of color on their hand or cheek, is moments you cannot forget. Color is the one connecting thing we can share; it is such a simple joy that needs no language or explanation.  
Now here comes the,” it still makes no sense moment.” I have no idea how and when I will be able to return as I will have to save up some funds. I have no training in art or teaching, but all you need is passion and a believe in what you do, to make it happen. But I have faith that we will find the right people to assist and that we will be able to work with even more children. The one thing that I was asked on the previous trip by the teachers at the schools we visited was if there was a possibility of providing them with training so that they can do art projects with the children. I know now that it is important for us to include training in the next trip, as that way we can allow the teachers to do art and craft projects with the children when we leave. Doing simple and easy things that require little supplies, items they can easily find. At this point I have no idea of the how and when. But if there is anybody that would like to contact me about a future trip please write me at Or if you could assist with fundraising ideas I will so much appreciate any feedback.
This little girl was sitting on the wall watching the others do art. With lots of couching she eventually picked up a crayon to draw.
Life ends when you stop dreaming, hope ends when you stop believing

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pictures from the Art on the Road trip January 2012

A group of 8 left on Jan. 8 to an area four hours from Melamchi in the northern part of Nepal. We visited 3 schools and worked with over 700 children. There is so much I could write about this trip, but I think a picture tells a 1000 stories. It was probably one of the most life enhancing and changing experiences for me. Many of these children have never had the opportunity to express themselves through art and I feel blessed to have shared those moments with them. Thank you to all for your art donations as without that we would not have been able to bring color into their world. Thank you to all of the volunteers as well as COMMITTED for walking the road with us and making this a possibility. We shared the coldest days I have ever experienced in my life, never changed clothes for nearly 10 days and rode the scariest bus ride of my life. We saw the most beautiful hearts and smiles from children in the most amazing setting in the world. I know with more certainty than ever that doing what we are doing is where I am supposed to be in my life. I do hope that those of you reading this will join us in the future on these trips, to bring creativity and color into the schools of Nepal. 

Snow ball fighting. The first snow ever to fall at the school.
Preparation for the next day, Emily and Alice.

Renovation updates at Bhakta Vidyashram January 2012

One of the teachers from the school donated funds to renovate the steps at the school. Thank you so much!
 This is a picture of the old classroom before it was renovated into a reading room and Science Lab.
                                                   New reading room for the children.

                                                           Old science equipment at school.
New science room. The school received new science/biology and physics equipment, whiteboard and student chairs to the value of  $ 950.00. Thank you Manish for your hard work towards this project. Learning will be fun again!
      New classroom renovated for Grade 1's as they had school outside. Including door and windows. 
The exterior walls of the school before renovation.

With the donations we were able to plaster the classroom exterior next to the gate. One of the teachers donated Rs23 000 to plaster the top exterior wall of the school.
The Alumni students from Bhakta Vidayshram had a music fundraising evening with Anil Shahi. We were able to raise over Rs 200 000 at this event. Thank you to everybody that assisted and donated to this beautiful evening. These funds will be used to renovate the roof and another 2 classrooms that are on the top floor. These renovations will start in April during the school break and the Alumni students had organized a committee that will be responsible for this project.
I wanted to thank Alice for raising Rs 110 000 in Hong Kong at a fundraising event she organized which was donated to the building project at Bhakta Vidyashram and used towards the renovation of the 2 classrooms. With the assistance of Corinna and Emily, Alice numbered and categorized the books in the library.
I also wanted to thank Mr and Mrs Shaik from South Africa, Biju, Bhesh Ram, Dina, Dave, Cica, Delima Gardens, Manish from NAH, everybody that bought Tshirts as well as the  Alumni Association of Siddhartha Vanasthali. There are so many people that helped me, that I wish I could name all your names here. Thank you again! Without your help none of this could have been done for the school.
As I had said so many times before, I never imagined that all of this could be done in less than one year. I am so grateful and thankful to be a part of such a beautiful project. The Engineer said on our visit last March that within 2 years this building would became too dangerous for the children and predicted a possible collapse. We have one year left to save the walls of this school. 
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