Today Rick and I continued doing interviews with the kids who attend Vibhuti Vidya Mandir School or who live at home and are able to walk to a good private school nearby. I am impressed at how the BSF staff here in Nepal are able to individually plan for each student and choose the living situation and school which best suits the child's needs. Such individualization, however, creates a tremendous challenge for the staff who must either travel distances to visit the children or arrange transportation to bring the children to the BSF office.
Having completed a number of bio updates with the children over the past couple of weeks, I can see some commonalities in their answers. Favorite holiday? Dashain and Tihar. Why? Because they get a long vacation and a break from school. Favorite singer? Surprisingly, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, One Direction, all names familiar to American teenagers. Favorite book? Often, it's an inspirational biography about someone who has overcome great hardship or a disability. If you had three wishes, what would they be? Common answers included: To be successful, to make my family happy, to see my sponsor, to visit new places, to help the poor. So many of our children, especially the older ones, understand how lucky they are to be receiving the opportunities afforded by BSF and Mitrata, and they wish to help others like themselves when they are older.
In addition to updating the bio's of our Mitrata children, we also interviewed a few children who are supported by BSF, but who are needing additional assistance. The students whom I interviewed in this category all had graduated 9th grade and had siblings currently in our Mitrata sponsorship program. Their career ambitions included engineering, computer science and journalism, all of which would require university degrees and tuition expenses. If you or anyone you know would be willing to help sponsor a child, the needs are great.
After a day of interviewing and photographing, I was able to take Puja, the girl that I sponsor, shopping at Bhat Bhatani, the local department store, somewhat similar to Target or maybe Wal-Mart. You can find just about anything there: groceries, household items, clothing. Puja, who is 19, said this was only the second time in her life that she had ever gone shopping; the first time was when I had visited 3 years ago. It is exciting to be able to pick out your own clothes, rather than relying on donations or hand-me-downs from someone else.
In order to thank everyone for their hospitality during our visit to Nepal, Rick and I treated Leena, Puja, Pasang, and Sarita to dinner at the Bakery Cafe where momo's are the specialty. Sarita, a Contact Center teacher and the housemother for the BSF office hostel, has been cooking dinner for Rick and myself nearly every evening. She has also taught Puja to cook, and they both have provided us with many delicious meals. Thank you to everyone for taking such good care of us and making us feel so at-home!