Today we spent the morning organizing an electrical closet (I was glad to have Erin on hand to explain to us what everything was) and the afternoon folding and sewing paper cranes for ornaments that Ronald McDonald house will later sell. I was terrible at making the cranes, but I was able to sew them onto the strings and beads. The group has been getting along really well, and it is a pleasure to be with them. As we took our afternoon break on the porch, a thunderstorm rolled in over the green hills. I cannot get over how big the sky here, and how the sun shines in the puddles. The colorful buildings and purple, billowy clouds are a wonderful relief for my winter eyes. I was excited to see little Julia again, who shrieked and raced to hug me the minute I arrived. I’ve never met such a bright child, and although language is a real barrier, we manage to get along. She repeats whatever I say in English, trilling, “hello, my name is Julia, hello, your name is Miranda,” again and again. Nepali threatens to come out of my mouth every time I speak to her, my default reaction when someone speaks a language I don’t.
The best part of the day for me was when a girl called Esther visited the house to sing for us. She normally comes to sing for the children, and I never imagined that such a big voice could come out of a very delicate looking fifteen-year-old girl. After our workday, we went back to the American school to be picked up by our host families. Mine continues to be loving and engaging, and tonight I feel guilty once again for keeping my host sister Rafa up late because we couldn’t stop talking.
I am grateful to be here, surrounded by affectionate, interested people, and doing work the effects of which I can already see. Tomorrow is my birthday, and I can’t imagine a better way to spend it.
Mom, Dad and Nick, I hope you’re having a wonderful time home in Kathmandu, and I can’t wait to see you when we all get back to NYC.
This morning we went back to the Ronald McDonald house and went to work cleaning out the garage. There were a lot of things that we didn’t recognize, and a lot of broken glass. We had gloves though, so none of us got injured. It took us a short time to get everything cleaned and reorganized. The garage has tile floors and opens to the outside, which was nice. It was refreshing to be able to stand outside on such a nice day, with the cool, slightly cloudy weather. Once we finished the cleaning, Erin and Charles found some water jugs and began beating them like drums. Jibri started dancing, and surprisingly, it wasn’t half-bad. As this was all happening, Amedeo and I were sharing tattoo stories and plans. It was weird to feel so comfortable talking with him, as we haven’t really communicated much in all my time at GS. I’m starting to realize that there is something about feeling out of place that brings people together. Being in a foreign place has brought me closer to the group, which is a new and interesting way to forge friendships.
After lunch we folded cranes and made a card for a boy named Pedro, who had complications and bleeding at four a.m., and had to be rushed to the hospital. He needs a bone marrow transplant, and found a 100 percent match, but because of the complications and upcoming cold season, he cannot have the transplant for at least another year. Not only had he been hoping to leave soon, he is only four-years-old. Once again I was struck by the raw reality that these children live with. Even with such a nice facility, and even with our help, the life that these children know is so unlike ours.
See you soon,