Eye health camp

On 21st and 22 nd of December there was a free eye health camp, dealing mainly with elderly. Our project manager supported Surya Man Bhujel and organised an eye health check. Unfortunately the operation was not possible due to high blood pressure so he returned back to his village. However sad this news is – the project manager decided to enquire further and with the help of trainee nurse will make blood pressure check of most villagers. The trainee nurse Urmila Bhujel comes from Aandhimul itself, and has been supported in her studies thanks to donors from Australia who have supported the AP since its beginning. We hope that there will be time for Surya when he can undergo the operation once his conditions improves.

An account from Christina

From a volunteer with the Aandhimul project, Christina Levanas

“It’s two years already that I met the highly motivated Jolana Whyte from the Aandhimul Project in Nepal. I was impressed by her tireless dedication to the welfare of the village and felt like wanting to give a little part from my side as well. So last year, with a big backpack full of material, I went to see her in Aandhimul and we held a several-days textile-workshop with the kids in their school as they had holidays at that time. Although many children have to help at home, they showed up in big number. And it was amazing to see, how open to learn and how focused in work this “gang of hellions” was. The pictures might give an impression of their concentration and the fun we had.

It also was a great moment to be present when the month-long water project came to a successful end: water flow! Watch the faces of the small girls – no more words needed.

This year, due to a lack of time, I only was able to visited Aandhimul for some days. Great to see the teachers and kids again and to notice water-tanks in front of the small houses.

I fell in love with the big open smile of three-year-old girl Suku from a big basket-weaver family. Unfortunately as a baby she had a big fire-accident which deformed her right leg so that she had (in this extremly hilly area) to “walk” – quite fast- on one foot and her right knee. Something had to be done! With the spontaneous help of a generous, commited friend ,we managed to bring her to medical specialists and her surgery is scheduled for early July – I´m very happy!

So this years highlight for me is definitely that the Aandhimul Project gave hope and better future prospects to two smart young Nepali girls: lovely Krishala, suffering from a brain tumor, who already had her operation and sweet Suku with her burned leg.

The kids are the future!”

Christina is also coming back to Hitchin and supporting Jolana and the Aandhimul project in a charity stall on the now quite famous festival called ‘Rhythms of the World‘ on 14th and 15th July this year, 2012.

I will be happy to see you there and by purchasing a few of Christina’s designs and collections you will also make a direct impact on the welfare of the Aandhimul village. Our donation page for the Rhythms of the World can be found here http://www.justgiving.com/rythmsfornepal


The Dhaal Bath diet II

20 pounds in 20 days, with friendly support of diarrhea.

Arrived in Kathmandu I’m feeling not the same than last year, no big impressions that we haven’t seen before. So this time we know what to do. Taxi to Thamel, the tourist part of Ktm, also the price for the taxi is still known, so that nobody will take us to the cleaner. 

Three days waiting for Jolana, and thamel gets annoying (wanna smoke? Hashish, Marihuana?) Just two steps out of the hotel and some strange people want to sell you third class crap. So we took a walk to a part of this big city where they sell tools and all you need for building something. The quality was nepali, but i had the plan to build a working station for the Youthclub. Yes, sometimes also Frank has a plan 🙂 We just checked the prices, because we had enough weight with us. We wanted to buy at least in Dumre, the next bigger town from Aandhimul.

The next day we took a walk to a big temple on a hill. To get there we crossed something like a river. They follow a succesful system here. Waste dump and canalization are one. Now only waiting for monsoon and everything is all right again. At least the whole excrement flows into the ocean. But are we better? We are burning our waste and the high toxic filter dust we put under the earth in old mines. In the western countries everything looks clean, and here in Ktm it stinks to heaven. And that is what no picture and no tv can show you. The heat also.

On the third day we met Jolana in Thamel. We took a last good meal and Andi and me we decided to start the trip to aandhimul next day. Jolana needed one more day for organizing things. A great welcome in aandhimul again, flowers and red powder. And i wanted to start my plan as soon as possible, and it worked really good. They’ve bought a blackboard for repairing a classroom door, but it wasn’t big enough for this, so i asked to use it for building a working bench, and they agreed.

The very interested youthclub by my side, i began to put out all the tools i brought with me from Germany. We made a plan, how to use this blockboard most efficient. They watched and learned how to use something like a circular saw and a drill for screwing. I also had the right screws. You can ́t get them in Nepal, but I brought enough.

The next Day we organized further thinner blockboards, two for building little tables and two very thin for repairing the classroom door. We made a plan again, they just looked, because they could not understand after they’ve seen the result. Little tables for the school. I let them use this dangerous circular saw, and i also told them about the danger. They done good work, and they had fun in learning, so the learning was very easy.

The next job was to repair the door. I filled up the wholes in it with wood, put a few screws to stabilize it and sticked the thin board onto. Because of other problems in the village i couldn’t finish this till leaving, sorry. There were several leaks in the new water system and after digging out the pipe we saw that someone drilled wholes into, what makes andi very angry.

Yes they are like children. If there comes no water out of the valve, let’s look if there is some in the pipe and drill a whole in it. I repaired the first leakage an the youthclub watched me. I also explained what I was doing, and the next leakage they repaired alone. SUCCESS! 

The last thing to repair was bigger. An old water system on the other side of the village didn’t work anymore. The people showed me the whole system from the valves, the collection tank to the intake. And here was the problem. There was a wall around the spring, a little sea. This wall was damaged, so that the waterlevel sank about one meter. No water could get into the intake and so they also removed the pipe that lead there. I found an inspections cap, that lies at the ground of the intake, about one meter deeper than the old intake. That should work. And it did. 

We put a PVC tube into this inspection whole and proofed it with an old t-shirt. The highest point of the system was the next problem. This one meter was missing, and the result was, that they had to dig out the pipe on a way of about five meters, to put it in the earth again one terrace deeper. Not much work, but at this time I was ill, and I also thought, that they were interested in a functionable water system. But no one came to do this work. This was very dissappointing, and I decided to cure myself. I still don’t know if they repaired it till now. I told the youthclub what to do, so that they should ask them. 

The money from our festival Röbbeck Röcks I gave to Jolana. It should be for a youthclub building. And now while I’m at home, i got an email with a picture of the building site, and that makes me happy again. I think this was a successful journey, because they started something by there own, they see that they will reach something, if they only try… … i still don’t know, if i do this again next year. It was not so easy this time. 

But Röbbeck Röcks will start again.


Growing vegetables!

Some wonderful news from Kishan, our young sponsored teacher, and student club leader from the village of Aandhimul. He has reported that some villagers have started to grow vegetables. And new varieties as well.

From our girl on the ground (not this instant, but hopefully again soon!), Jolana.
” This means that their diet will improve, and will provide more variety and for all those who have given me seeds in the past, even-though some varieties failed or we grew pickled cucumber -pickle or gherkins,  it has got them interested. They are growing potatoes which I have not shown them before, so this means they have had to put their own money in, and learn how to grow them. “
We just hope, like all good things, it will spread to other families. That they will also be inspired, and want to start growing veg. And with the Water Project completed in Aandhimul last year, it makes it easier to use water to help their veg grow.
Of course, we will keep you updated when the next news comes in!
The Aandhimul Project team

Lucy & Jessica volunteers from Oz

The Aandhimul Project was very lucky this Autumn to have 2 young and enthusiastic volunteers from Australia come to the Aandhimul village. With energy, passion and resources for the school, they were ready to have an experience of a lifetime.

Below is a direct account from the one of the volunteers themselves. A BIG THANK YOU to Lucy & Jessica from all at The Aandhimul Project!

“Our Aandhimul experience began with us struggling up a steep, slippery hill with our heavy rucksacks, trying to impress our local friend and guide Siam, who took to the mountains with absolute ease. By the end of our week in the village, we had mastered the art of manoeuvring up and down this slippery path, which led to the nearest road, at a less embarrassing speed, and were proud to reduce our number of clumsy falls with each trip we took. By spending less time looking at our feet, we were able to appreciate the stunning natural environment around us and the company of our many generous, patient and attentive chaperones!

When we arrived at the school, we were greeted by an array of inquisitive and guarded faces, and we had the initial impression that we would be teaching a shy, yet friendly and motivated cohort of students. Within minutes, the true playful and adventurous personality of each individual child was revealed as they became more comfortable in our presence. It was wonderful to watch our relationships with the children develop throughout the week as they grew to trust us more, and within a couple of days we were fondly known as Lucy Miss and Jessica Miss.
Thanks to a donation by a Choir in Adelaide, Australia, we were able to buy some educational supplies for the school as well as some soccer balls and materials for our bracelet making workshop, which while unfolded differently to what we had intended, we think was a success. We were impressed by the behaviour of the students, who were polite and focused, and while they could be an energetic handful outside of the classroom, realised that school time was a time for enjoyable learning.
Using wool, thread and beads, the students made friendship bracelets for themselves, their families and friends. It was remarkable to see the personalities of the children come out through their individual artworks, and apparent that there was an inspiring creative talent and potential within the group. We were humbled not only by the finished products, but also by the manner in which the children worked, helping each other, making the most of the materials and approaching the task with determination and perseverance.
We are extremely grateful to Kishan’s family, who we had the privilege of staying with. We were warmly welcomed into their home and always well cared for and looked out for. Outside of the classroom, we spent time playing with the children, swimming in the waterfall and even listening to some Justin Bieber on a stereo system kindly provided by Kishan!
On our final day in the village, a farewell ceremony was held, during which the teachers and students painted vibrant red tikka on our faces and presented us with malas (garlands of flowers) and hugs and kisses. We so much enjoyed our time in the village and the happiness of the people who lived there, and were sad to leave. However, we were able to reflect positively on our experiences, and left with a satisfaction that every day the school is growing and improving, providing the children with an educational platform to enable them to further their studies outside of Aandhimul, and embrace the challenges and opportunities in their futures.
The impact that all the people involved with the Aandhimul Project have had is undeniable. The facilities at the school, the result of fundraising and donations, provide the foundations necessary for the students to have the best education available to them. The patience, kindness and commitment of the teachers, Kishan and Kumar is instrumental in both the personal and intellectual growth of all the children, and it is clear that they hold the highest level of respect and admiration for these adults, who are inspiring role models in their lives. The love the Bhujel people have for Angela and Joli is evident each time somebody brings them up, which was extremely often. The generosity and commitment these women, as well as Lou, Mon and Lee, have poured into the project can be seen through the improved living standards everyone enjoys, with particular reference to the well-functioning water system, which delivers clean and safe water throughout the village.
We are both so grateful for the work people put in to create for us an opportunity to engage in the Aandhimul Project, and would encourage anyone who is interested to investigate ways to become involved in what is a truly fantastic and inspiring project that directly improves the lives and opportunities of the people who live in Aandhimul Village. The strength of their community and determination to keep working hard gives hope that the village and school will only continue to improve.

Robbeck Rocks ‘We’ve raised 860 Euros!’

This is the second year Robbeck Rocks given all profit to the Aandhimul Project. This year on 10th of September 860 Euros in total. This time Jolana joined the team. Together sold over 500l of beer, listened to 6 Rock bands, sold T-shirts, Veg Chili, Cakes and Bavarian sausages all made by volunteers. This festival is very local, the stage, bar and toilettes all hand build by The Robbeck Rocks core team ( who all work after their own working hours), materials which are found in the skips. They have no financial support from the town council or other companies. They just use what is around them and that is enough!!!  They only received the go ahead a week before the planned start and managed to provide amazing day full of good quality Rock music and good vibes till early morning hours. About 300 people enjoyed Robbeck Rocks in Velberg, Germany.

Amazing support from this little town, Robbeck Rocks and musicians. Aandhimul project say’s Thank YOU!!!

The road to Aandhi Khola – unsurprising –

Before I hike for another local transport I want to tell you that we are now planning the inauguration process. Can you believe it?

I’ve asked Bishnu ( head of Choice Nepal, our technical partner) if there was anything that has surprised him, he simply respond No No, surprises I have foreseen for many projects and I knew this would be completed.

This experience has been valuable even though I was hoping that I would somewhat break this cool working approach. In the end he added that there has not really been a conflict that has surprised him (well we had few ups and downs, and lately teenage girls fighting ..)

So for this unsurprising news I want to tell you what has been most amazing!

The villagers have been able to learn from the Choice engineer, Anna Prasad. They have done all work except for 5 days of support from skilled labour – all locally sourced. We had only 3 days off since the project has started. We are running under the first estimated budget which means we can set up a cooperative for the villagers and thus really make impact to their lives. The villagers stopped or reduced drinking ( a bad habit ) and managed their own work. They are taking responsibilty! The 4 people who have started this have manged to fundraise the complete project without a line stop! But the most amazing experience has been to be surrounded by people, who sometimes have no rice at home, they have worked for nothing other than simple khaja and we had fun! There was never a grumpy face, or the approach ‘I cannot be bothered’. There were times when starting times took a Nepali style – slow – but then I have learnt that good food is the best motivator.

I have been surprised almost every day! A wise man ( my mentor) told me you need a 3 things to make a project succesfull – passion, experience and money. Then he looked at me and asked what is the most important?

Can you see it too?

Heavy rains ahead! I will stay for a cup of tea before the decompasting path of Kathmandu streets get washed!

Jolana x

What do you love on your job most?

I have sat quietly on the piece of a dirt next to the new tank being built. I had a sip of the water and tears in my eyes, I have thought of all of the ones who helped and are helping yet unable to see the joy that I was lucky to witness when Gouri and Laxmi decided to have a shower!

Still much to do – but the pictures are for you!

Jolana xxx

All photos taken by Christine Levanas.

5 days of art

It was a meeting last year that brought the chance of bringing another art workshop to the Aandhimul village. Pati Corral, who has been living in Nepal for the last year and a half who has been sharing her home with me every time I visit Kathmandu with a cup of coffee. Subash Nepal – a student of cinematographie, Pati’s boyfriend and Christine Levanas a designer from Berlin who is a regular vistor to Nepal – all of whom offered a their volunteering support after hearing my many talks about Aandhimul.

We have started with paper mache beeds, then prints on paper and later on cotton bags, finishing with pom poms. Our original idea was to make a product that we could sell and thus put the money back to school but primary just trying and bringing some interests and learning to the 3 weeks school holidays. Some colours were donated by a protestant municipality near Frankfurt/Germany.

What was amazing that some of the children who do not come regular to the school turned up. We had limited the groups to a maximum of 20 and ran them for approximately one hour thirty minutes long sessions. It was great to see their concentration, even when some aspects were quite difficult to understand like adding shapes to create a picture.

The project was funded by Andy from Germany and costed 5500 NRP to purchase items, most stuff was collected from shops dustbins and wood, glue and foam pad was donated by the Old Inn in Bandipur. It has brought so much light, and for me personally, a smile on my face! Pati, Christine and Subash worked really well and also the support from our project teacher’s made it seamless. I was actually just amazed how well this went! The best thing is we are planning to run more of these next year!

Joli x

(Photos taken by Christine Levanas)