Conntecting the Dots

Tuesday, April 3

An American gal who works in Katmandu told us about a coffee house with wireless internet access. We discovered that it’s only two blocks from where we’re staying! So, this morning, I sifted through my emails while sitting on a comfy sofa and sipping a vanilla latte. Nice!

God fulfilled one of my personal dreams today. Through divine networking, yesterday evening I located the woman who was my language helper when we lived in Boudha in 1982. We saw each other for the last time in January 1984 and have had no contact since then. We spoke by phone this morning and arranged to meet for lunch.

K. is a beautiful, strong woman who has endured much. For instance, she lost her husband five years ago when he was killed by Maoists rebels during a major countrywide political upheaval. Her family’s vehicles were burned the same night, and she was forced to flee with only the clothes she was wearing. K’s life flipped upside down, and understandably so. While weaker folk might have thrown up their hands in despair, she has chosen to persevere and try to make life better for others.

K. is now involved with a local orphanage that cares for 42 children. Another 20 will join the facility within the next two weeks. Recently she discovered that most of these kids aren’t really orphans. Some parents lie about their children’s status to the government-run Children’s Welfare Organization in order to secure a guaranteed education for them. Others have one parent who works for 12 hours a day while their child or children sit alone at home or run the streets. The CWO then labels the kids as orphans and places them in facilities such as the one on her property. Granted, the kids are well fed and educated, but under false pretenses. They’re also filling space that should rightfully belong to children who honestly have no one to care for them. What to do when the needs are so great?

K. told us how strangers visit rural villages and tell parents that, for a price (about $300), they will take their children to the big city and place them in a boarding school to receive a good education. The parents believe them, pay the price, and bid their kids farewell. The strangers then deposit the kids at an orphanage and walk away with the money in their pockets. Sometimes those orphanages sell the kids into the sex trade industry or pass them along to another facility. Meanwhile, back home, the parents are thinking that their kids are being well cared for. Only when they try to contact their children do they realize they’ve been duped. Tomorrow we’ll visit the orphanage where K. volunteers and get an up-close-and-personal peek at what’s happening there.

Thanks to technology, K. and I can now stay in touch via email! With all my heart I believe God has reunited us for a reason.

The day ended with dinner with an ex-patriot family we’ve supported for more than a decade. What a joy to hear first-hand of their work and to see that they’re doing well. They spoke about the cause of the political unrest here – simply put, the Maoists want to throw out the existing government and establish their own.

We saw results of that unrest while trying to travel through the city today. Mass traffic jams resulted when Maoists demonstrated their displeasure at the massacre of 29 of their comrades last week.

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