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|From Intention to Action - Page 5|
Most of the team members spend only a few days in each village, while Digumber, Kiran, and I visit far more often for extended periods of time. Several of our volunteers have elected to spend weeks teaching in the local schools—which is a challenging task indeed because of language difficulties. Recently we've recruited several students (two from Norway, two from my university) who are willing to spend a year developing closer relationships with the girls. The girls need mentoring just as much as they need funding to continue their education. Never having been outside their villages or districts, they're unaware of what's possible for them in the wider world.
We've found that each one of our children—85 and rising—requires different kinds of help and interventions, just as therapy clients do. Ganga and Jumina, 6-year-old twins, recently lost their father to AIDS, but not before their mother had become infected. The mother isn't expected to survive the year, which will leave them orphans without any home. Before we heard about their plight, the family had gone 10 straight days without food because the mother had been too sick to work. Every morning, with wheezing breath and collapsing lungs, she walked with her children for two hours across two Himalayan passes to get to the village to attend school, and then rested all day until they made the journey home together. We recruited a couple in Spain who "adopted" the children as a surrogate aunt and uncle, agreeing to support them in boarding school. When I informed the mother what we'd arranged, we both began crying and hugging each other. "Now I can die in peace," she said.
Giving and Receiving
Visits of only a month or so impose limits on what we can do. Though Digumber and Kiran, and some of our Nepalese volunteer staff, continue ongoing connections with the schools and families on a weekly basis, we've needed to find a way to increase our efforts. Our latest plan is to help develop a counseling curriculum for doctors, nurses, and teachers—one that's appropriate and useful for their cultural context. With so little medicine and so few resources, compassion and empathy can go a long way if embedded within some basic helping skills that have never been part of their training. Our volunteer teachers and therapists have been instrumental in offering workshops to health professionals and educators in remote areas.