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Friday, 4 January 2013

A New Year, A New Nepali Adventure

A "little" friend I hope to meet again in Nepal

Raj (centre), Rabeeta (left) and Harimaya (right)
A New Year is upon us and it’s time to go to work. For me, going to work means going to Nepal. That is scheduled to happen this Saturday at 4 am when I leave my house for the airport. I’ll arrive in Kathmandu at 6 pm (Sunday at 8 am, Toronto time), cranky and smelly (it’s a long flight).

Last year we accomplished much: 33 literacy classes, all under the supervision of Jugganath Mahato, our coordinator for literacy.  Under WELNepal's Nepali staff's (Harimaya, her husband Raj, and Rabeeta) supervision, there were more books for our libraries, more libraries to put more books in, more health seminars, and more ecology training.  ALL of our women’s groups want to make money – and we can’t blame them for that!  Harimaya and others provided land for growing and selling organic vegetables and mushrooms. We started a successful candle making business for one group of women. The one and only benefit of living in a country with only six or seven hours of electricity a day is that everybody needs candles. Why not buy them from some enterprising women?

This past year, as in years gone by, Monica’s benefit for WELNepal made us a bundle. Thanks Monica.  

Also, this year we held our benefit at the Academy of Spherical Arts (thank you Rick Williams), a beautiful venue where our guests were treated to great entertainment and scrumptious food. The Academy gave us a “cachet” we never had before, along with tables with tablecloths, real cutlery and linen napkins.

This year, as in years gone by, loyal donors and dedicated WELNepalians George and Eva were over the top generous to WELNepal (thank you George and Eva). Diane, our talented treasurer, did us proud, and generous donations came in from our Ottawa Crew as well as our usual gang of contributors.  Thanks to all for helping us help the women in Nepal.

What is different this year is that we have added a veritable powerhouse to our board. I use that word “veritable” because that is one of my old friend Suzanne’s favourite words and it is Suzanne who has accepted our offer to come and help us.
Suzanne will pick all of us up by our socks and carry us with her energy alone to new heights.

Any time I talk about our work in Nepal, I always finish by saying “I wish that all of you could be there to see how the lives of the women are changing for the better.”

Well, this year I’ll be entertaining five travellers who are coming all the way from Toronto to see just that.  In other exciting news, Barry Flatman, a good friend of both myself and WELNepal, will be making a video/documentary of our work. Should I arrange for hair and make-up?
I should be in my little village of Sauraha in 10 days. I’ll leave you with a photo of my favorite place on earth.
-- David Walton