Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Summer 2015 Update

Namaste dear Friends and Family of the KYTFoundation,

We hope everyone has had a wonderful summer and that you are now enjoying your autumn.  It has been a while since we've communicated, though with good reason; it was a very busy summer for the KYTF.  I, Kamala, travelled to Nepal with the funds raised to date and the intention to provide earthquake relief.

My family's home in the village

As we write now, the situation has settled considerably.  Even so, there were aftershock tremors happening everyday (up to 5 points on the Richter scale) in August, lessening as September came.  These tremors have been causing more damage to homes and buildings, unfortunately.

Earlier in the summer, I journeyed from Kathmandu to my village in the mountains.  I trusted my own will and guidance as many people told me not to go by bus during monsoon season.  I knew there were hungry people waiting and I just had to go, there was no other option.  It is not uncommon for buses to fall off the side of the mountains on these rides, especially during the slippery monsoon season.  On this drive, we were lucky.  The bus only got stuck, and after all the passengers got out to move rocks and mud around so the wheels could get traction again, we continued on our journey.  

It was a five hour trip to Healay, on July 13th.  There are 17 different wards or villages in the Healay Chaubas area, called Kosi Pari (which means 'other side of the river'), located on the North East side of the Sun Kosi ('gold river').  We wanted to provide food for all 17 wards but we did not have enough funds, so we could only choose one- my home village. Others had come before but did not have enough food for everyone which caused fighting amongst the villagers and hostility towards the volunteers.  This put the volunteers in an unsafe position.  Because of that, KYTF was advised by the villagers to either give food to everyone or none at all.  We were the first food distributers able to provide food for all 64 homes in Ward #7, Healay Chaubas of Kavre Palanchok district.

I brought six nephews and one cousin to help distribute the food, and I felt these young men were angels standing by my side.

Before we began, it was a tense atmosphere. Some people were upset because they did not expect to receive any food.  I assured them that everyone would be fed and if there wasn't enough, we would order more.  We did have to order food for four homes, and made sure that everyone received a month's worth of food (rice, lentils, oil, and salt).  In the end, there were happy smiles of gratitude on every face.  It was very peaceful.  This felt so deeply rewarding for me and my family, as there were many familiar faces, some whom I hadn't seen since I was nine years old.  

When I was nine I left home for the first time with a chicken under my arm (for bus fare) and my sights on the big city.  All I knew then was that I needed to make money to help my family, and forty years later I came back to do much more. An old villager who I had worked for told me she never thought I would be able to come back and help the village in such a way; she knew how hard life had been.  As she said this, a little girl was standing by and looking at me.  I took this time to look at her and say words I wish someone had said for me: "I remember my childhood, how difficult it was. And looking at this little girl," and I looked at this child as myself, and the child looked back at me with wide eyes, "you never know what this child can do in the future.  So please treat this little girl with love and respect."  I told the child to study hard and focus on her future.  We all felt the truth of this moment, with tears in our eyes.

While doing the food distribution, I noticed that no water was coming down from the water spring that we had used as a water source since I was a child.  The earthquake had caused the land to shift and the mouth of the spring was now underground.  So we hired experienced workers to locate and dig out a new access point to the spring and, close by, to build a holding tank.

They dug a hole and built it out of rocks with a paste of cement and sand to keep it together.  This tank will collect water from the spring and send it down through 1300 metres of piping to the second bigger holding tank (which is still under construction) closer to the site of where the hospital project will be.

This was difficult work- it took ten people two weeks to dig through the jungle floor to find the mouth and carve the pathway for the piping.  A worthwhile endeavour though, as now we have the first phase of water accessibility finished for the hospital project.

We really recognize all the people and associations who have supported the KYTFoundation's efforts through donations, as none of this would have been possible without you.  Thank you.

You are the reason I am able to show my village and my family how much the world cares.  I am acting as a bridge between the modern Western and traditional Eastern worlds now.  And this is just the beginning of the exchanges these two communities will have through the KYTFoundation in my lifetime.

Special thank you's to:

Dam Chhoi Lama, Rosalba Nucera and Raffella Nucera of the Borderline Association of Rome, Italy for your huge support

Eloise Charet and Emma Calles of New Denver for bringing support from the Kootenays, BC

Seymour Heights Elementary students and teachers who helped to fundraise; the little boy in grade 1 who shared $85 of his birthday present and the grades 4/5 split class who worked hard selling lemonade and rice crispie cakes to raise nearly $1000

And Joseph Sung of Parkgate Farmer's Market for your generous donation.

Love and Light,
Kamala Yonzon Tahrayli Foundation

Written by Sunkosi Maya through Kamala Yonzon's perspective*

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