As a friend I would like to thank Lööf Foundation for giving me the opportunity to make a small difference to some very special children.
I had no idea what to expect on my trip to Nepal!
We landed in Kathmandu and this is where the adventure began, the city is a bustling, noisy, dusty hub of the country. The roads were nothing like I had ever experienced, little did I know this was just a taste for the journey to the mountains.
We shopped for nearly two days, medical supplies, food, games, baby bed, 340 tooth brushes and tooth paste! Plus, a little bundle of fur and his accessories.
It was too good an opportunity to not fill the Jeep on the six-hour journey and that is just what we did.
The journey from Kathmandu to Ratankot, I am not sure I can do it justice in words except to say it was like being in a washing machine. This is the only road from Kathmandu to Mount Everest and it is hard to believe it has not been fully repaired since the earthquake in 2015, especially as tourism provides 42% of the country’s revenue. This means that the villagers have problems, such as bringing in supplies or going to the doctors, making it even more important they make themselves as self-sufficient as possible.
Can you imagine it taking 6 hours to travel 50km in the western world, infrastructure is key to the life existence of the village people of Nepal. When we finally arrived in Ratankot I looked like a rabbit in headlights! The luggage was carried by Morgan, she looked like a local carrying 25kg on her head and back. Home of Hope was beautiful, with prayer flags outside and a lovely porch which I would spend many hours sitting on over the coming week.
From that first day the time seemed to fly, from dance competitions to dental clinics, from lunch for the whole Ratankot school.
I was not sure what this was all about, but by the end I understood; Sophie is ensuring that Home of Hope is not singled out for preferential treatment, building bridges with the village. This is key as the Home of Hope relies on the village. just as the village relies on Home of Hope.
The dental clinic treated 376 people (adults and children), with most villagers never having seen a dentist in their life. One 84-year-old amazed us with her courage, after a little talk from Sophie she had 2 teeth removed. The dentists were brought in from Kathmandu and stayed with house father Shyam’s parents for three nights. The Lööf Foundation supported all of this.
I have to be honest, it was not easy! It was bitterly cold, I slept on the top bunk which was so hard the pain in my hips woke me throughout the night. With the hard bed, the barking dog, rats in the attic, a hole for a toilet, no hot water (one bucket wash in a week), freeze dried food, constipation, diarrhea…
However, I would not have changed a single moment.The children were the most loving, giving, happy, kind, caring, gentle children I have ever met. House father Shyam and housemother Asha were incredible, caring, cooking and cleaning for twelve children and a baby (the children’s ages ranged from three months to 16 years of age). I have never met such inspiring role models and they were the most humble people I had ever met.
Morgan and Sophie worked so hard during the trip making sure everything went smoothly and resolving any issues. The children were measured, weighed and interviewed to ensure they are well, but more importantly to check in on their mental state.
My body aches as I sit on the plane but my heart aches even more, with a love for these beautiful children. Sandy is what we named the puppy that we picked up from the streets of Kathmandu and he stole my heart. I am not sure I will ever be loved as much as this tiny little soul did.
I will take away from this experience a bigger heart and a knowledge that we can all make a difference, we just have to realize that however small our contribution is it does change lives. We all just need to take a deep breath and jump right in!
Lööf Foundation friend