Tired, but surprisingly not cranky, after a record breaking 43 hours of no sleep, I arrived at the antiquated third world Kathmandu airport where chaos becomes my entertainment for the yet next 90 minutes. Collecting my extraordinarily heavy bags which are packed with books and clothing for our needy Hands in Outreach girls, as well as seven pounds of beauty supplies which I offered to deliver to a hotel near where I was going to stay, I headed past the security screening devices where no one was even pretending to watch the screen nor stop you when the beeping was triggered passing through the metal detector. Honestly, no need to worry since this place would ever be a terrorist target. The city landscape has that post war look on it's own. Out into the sunlight and unable to locate the hand held sign of my hotel pick- up driver in the continuing free for all, I was quickly persuaded to take another cab at the same time arguing that I was sure someone was looking for me at the exit area.. No I was told- everything alright, he called my hotel. Of course not true- as we find out at the front desk of the Vajra, I was subjected to listening to 30 minutes of banter amongst 5 Napalis hanging out there. Didn't they realize I needed sleep??? Oh well, here I am back in Kathmandu.
In a room alone finally! But what was that awful strong smell coming from my duffel bag? Oh right- that favor I was regretting now as I knew the source must be a product leak. Sure enough, the entire 8 oz bottle of sweet chemical "Final Solutions" now permeated everything from wool socks to sleeping bag liner.
Though these small inconveniences were put
into perspective the next morning upon our first HIO home visit. Rashmi's house. She is the sponsored child of a friend of mine and I was delivering a letter from JoAnne to Rashmi, as well as some clothing and drawing materials wrapped with a big pink ribbon. Inside the dark 10 x 12' room, a prehistoric TV with sound-sans-picture, amused the young boy on the bed. Ram had him fetch his sister and mother who came quickly to meet the white people drawing curiosity from neighbors. Rashmi is a newly sponsored girl. This was a first visit for the family. After introductions, questions, photographs and short video, we were off to the next house - down dirt streets edged with garbage an roaming mangy dogs. This is just one of many pockets of slums in the Kathmandu valley.
What is the saying? "oh our first world problems?" The me-me generation should sleep a night in Rashmi's brick hut with the leaky tin roof and no heat or running water. ( ie: no sink and toilet) to get the true meaning of the word problem.
But don't worry- I won't drag you to these destinations! You have to sign up on your own- and believe it or not, we do have eleven willing Americans and Canadians on their way here to meet their Hands In Outreach sponsored girls! I will keep you posted and I promise it won't all be depressing.