Sophie’s Diary – April 27, 2016

I woke up this morning at 9 o’clock, and today is the second day in Nepal. I feel very grateful and happy being back here, since it was two years since I was here last. I did not rest well last night, as we were at the tent camp in Kathmandu yesterday and I was left with many emotions that I had to process. It was a tough day, and I saw some hard things. For me it is very difficult to comprehend that one year after the earthquake that people still don’t have homes, and live in the capital city. This really breaks my heart. Yet I felt very warm in my heart when we met two young boys who were so happy, and that is a little contradictive to how some children in Sweden have many things, and are not happy, whereas these boys have less, but yet are so filled with joy. This is why I had troubles sleeping last night, as this was weighing on my mind.

For breakfast I had a tropical porridge, which I wasn’t too fond of, but I was grateful that I had food to eat. We all gathered with the other Swedish group, and waited for Pema to arrive from Delhi. We had the pleasure of also meeting Eva Holmberg Tedert, who runs two girl family homes here in Nepal. It was very interesting to hear about her work, as she is so engaged with many projects. I felt so moved from what Eva was telling us about her girls in the home. She told us one story about this girl who’s father wanted to sell her younger sister for money to get money for alcohol. She stood up to her father and said no and then took her younger sister and ran away. They had to live in the streets. To make money, she would dive down in this river where they put ashes from cremated bodies to look for gold, rings or any coins that may have been left from the cremated bodies. Luckily Eva found these girls on the streets, and took them on in her family homes. Both the girls have been well taken care of for many years now in Eva and her staffs care.

I was happy that Eva could share lots of her experiences and knowledge with us, as we are just in the start of our journey with working with children here in Nepal. We were all very thankful to be able to meet her, and enjoy her company and time, as well as to learn from her.

Suddenly, our special friend Geshe Pema Dorjee Lama, who is the guardian and initiator of the project of Home of Hope, showed up at the Monastery with Karma after traveling from New Delhi. He got up at 3:30 am for his flight, so he was very tired after all of this travels. We sat down and had a great talk with him and everyone else. I was very happy to see Pema again, I truly love him so much. During the talk, Thandiwe had a great talk about herself and her work with Star for Life in South Africa. I so much believe that we are all one, so it was so good that we had all our Swedish friends, Nepali friends, Pema from Tibet, Morgan from Canada, and Thandiwe from South Africa. It reminded me what our logo of the world represents and means to me, that we are all one no matter where we come from. We waited a little while, since Pema had a meeting, and after he took us to show us the Monastery. We all met on the stairs, where Pema told us about how His Holiness Dalai Lama gave him assignment to bring back the Bodong path of Tibetan Buddhism, which is the fifth path that was dying out. The land that the Monastery sits on was supported by a woman in Switzerland. It was completed on August 14, 2005, and was handed to Pema to take care of it. Its been running every since and now with 31 monks present who start their days at 5:30 in the morning. They pray for one hour in and then continue the day with intense studies. They also work a lot with charity work, helping many people in the Kathmandu area and villages nearby. Many start as early as 8 years of age, and continue for life as monks. While visiting in the Monastery, we saw many different reincarnated Gods in the form of statues. They also had one special statue which was a woman, and it was the only woman God within the buddhist Bondong religion. Pema opened a big cabinet that held many Bodong buddhist holy scripts, that were made by carved wooden blocks.

I felt very grateful that Pema shared all of his stories with us, as it was a beautiful experience. After, we returned to the hostel which is situated next door to the Monastery where we had lunch. I was rather hungry as I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, and it was very late in the day. The plan was to go to the Stupa to show Thandiwe, however my stomach was feeling a little upset, so Johan and Morgan took her while I took a rest. When they returned, I was feeling much better. This evening we have prepared for our big journey to the village Ratankot tomorrow. We packed all of the things we have purchased for the children. We have bought soccer balls, a ton of party supplies, food, games, smaller balls, water, medicine, toilet paper, toiletries and sanitary pads. Tomorrow morning at 10:00, we will pack our car with 8 suitcases and 6 giant plastic bags filled with everything that we have purchased here. Earlier today Karma and Shyam’s brother Prem helped us to purchase a sewing machine, which we’re hoping they can use to mend their clothing and even creating a small business from sewing clothes for other village people. As well, I had an idea to get a blow dryer, curling iron and hair straightener so that they can create a small business running a hair salon within the village, to make a small income. We would like to give the youngster the opportuinity to become entrepreneurs, to be able to start their own businesses so they can make income for themselves in the futures and stay in their villages. We are feeling very prepared and excited for tomorrow as we will be meeting all of the children for the first time! We cannot wait!

/ Sophie Lööf

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