Friday 14th March 2008
Thanks for your lovely responses to my last email – but really don’t worry about me – I know sometimes I may sound a bit miserable or down, but remember I’ve pledged to record all of my experiences, and want to include everything – the good and the bad, but usually I’m only down for a few hours at most – I’m really fine and have just recently had an AMAZING bout of good karma!
Karla, the Finnish volunteer and I have been planning a huge fundraiser to have in April for the orphanage. As well as writing my little Annual Review, which you will all soon be able to see courtesy of my lovely sister who is creating a website for us, we’ve both been brainstorming ideas for a fundraiser.
We want to hold it at a particular restaurant in Thamel, called the Northfield Cafe, which is a perfect venue – it’s right in the middle of the tourist district, with a really large, outdoor garden with a little stage and a Nepali band that play every night.
We want them to allow us to hold an event there, from about 5-8pm on a Friday night, where we can bring the kids down to do some singing and dancing and to chat with people. We’ll print some flyers and advertise it on their behalf beforehand, (we’re going to put up posters in all the big bars and internet cafes etc) and we want the restaurant to give us 20% of their night’s takings – not much for them but a lot for us.
It will be an incentive – we don’t need people to come and actually hand us money (although obviously we’ll have a donation box!) all they have to do is come and eat at this particular restaurant that night and they’ll be supporting our cause. Guilt-free dining!
Plus they’ll meet the kids, and my Annual Review will be on each table for people to flick through or take home should they be interested in donating long-term etc.
It’s all coming together, but we still haven’t actually gotten around to asking the restaurant yet!
So, on Wednesday Karla and I decide to go and have dinner there and try to speak to the owner about it. The owner wasn’t there but we pitched the idea to the manager/supervisor, who loved it completely, and will let us know later today, but we’re pretty sure they’ll say yes (it also turns out that Aamaa knows the owner personally, so they’re unlikely to say no).
While we were there finishing our meal, the most amazing thing happened. A bunch of Ozzie blokes came in and sat at the table next to us. There was 6 of them, and they’d just gotten back from a trek. They were very friendly and immediately started chatting to us.
They asked us where was good to go out, and we mentioned we were going for a drink at a jazz bar on our way home, and drew them a map. They were very interested to hear that we were volunteers and mentioned that they’d like to try and help some kind of good cause before they leave, although they’re leaving Friday.
I should point out that these guys were probably aged about 40-60ish, and looked relatively well-off, so we thought it would be worth talking to them some more. We went to the Jazz bar and waited for them, and we also called Priya to come and join us too.
I printed off a new copy of my Annual Review, and although it’s not bound or stapled yet, I bought a cheap plastic folder to put it in (all professional!).
We had a couple of drinks with them, and I sat and went through the history of the orphanage briefly with one of the guys.
They were really keen to help, and we invited them to come and visit if they had enough time. They were going sightseeing on Thursday, but wanted to drop by at 5pm if they had time.
We left them and went home after that, but had exchanged phone numbers etc.
Then yesterday at around 5 as promised they called to get directions and came to visit us.
They were all utterly blown away by how brilliant our orphanage is, and all the kids were terribly polite and chatty – the babies rushed up to be picked up and cuddled, and we gave them the grand tour. I had explained all about what our current goals are – beds for the kids to sleep in, milk and fruit every day, and of course education.
The guys were so touched hearing the kid’s stories, especially having met and talked with them, and meeting Aamaa etc, and immediately started discussing what they could do to help.
Karla, Priya and I could barely control our excitement – one guy pulled me aside and said “I hope this doesn’t offend you, but we have really quite a lot of money that we’d like to contribute, and we love that it will go directly to needy kids, and not to a large corporation that will take 40% for advertising etc”.
Another guy pulled Karla aside after we discussed needing beds, and said “I want to buy all the beds. I don’t mind what the other guys give, but I’m buying all the beds. Can I meet you tomorrow to give you the cash before we fly out?”
They gave Karla and I a lift back to Thamel, and on the way we discussed how they could donate more. I explained that when I return to the UK I’m planning to set up an official charity and bank account for the orphanage, so anyone who wants to donate regularly can send the money there, and once a month I can wire it to Priya.
However they were concerned that it would be quite hard for them to wire money to the UK first and then to Nepal etc, and asked if we had any other ideas. I mentioned that my dad and brother live in Sydney (these guys were all from Bondi) and said I could probably ask one of them to set up an Australian bank account to send money to if they were really that interested.
They loved that idea, and then one guy, Marc piped up that actually he was a tax lawyer and could do it all for us – he knows exactly how to set up a charity in Australia and can email me with the information they need to do it!
Then another bloke said we should really try to advertise it more, and we said we’re going to try some NGO’s here, and obviously our fundraiser will hopefully raise some awareness with tourists. Then this guy Paul said he’s a journalist and maybe he could try to write a piece about our orphanage to help us out!
It was honestly the most AMAZING afternoon – these guys just kept on giving!
We left them at their hotel and went for dinner – Karla and I were literally BUZZING with excitement and skipped through town giggling like mad!
This morning Priya went to the hotel at their request just before they left for the airport, where Tom gave her some money. He had wanted to give $1000 (Australian) but hadn’t been able to take out that much at once on his card, so he gave her 39,000 rupees (about 300 quid/$650) to pay for all the beds and gave us his business card so we can email him to arrange more money!
He also said to Priya that he’d like to try and send us a computer – he had mentioned that lots of offices upgrade and the second-hand ones get thrown out – he reckoned he could get us one or two pretty good ones easily.
I really feel like we’ve hit the jackpot and suddenly there’s a massive excess of good karma rushing into our little project!
So many things came together like magic – if we hadn’t gone to the Northfield for dinner that particular night, or at that time, if they’d sat at a different table we may never have spoken, if they hadn’t come to the Jazz bar after all, if they’d been too tired after their sightseeing, etc.
It was like one giant massive beneficial coincidence, and we’re all still glowing – Priya called me and can’t wait for me to get home so she can tell me all about their meeting this morning (I had tried to go too, but by the time Priya called me they were literally already getting into a cab for the airport).
I’ve got so much good karma just now I’m projecting it onto other people – my hot German is finally getting things sorted out at his orphanage, and date number 4 was lovely and wonderful as usual. I’m also projecting all my good vibrations over to England, where my lovely friend Betty has a job interview today. (Go Betty!)
So, they’ve got our newly-created “business” email which I made last week, and it looks like we might be on our way to really really making things happen!
Also our school preparations are coming along well, I’ve met with the tailor about making up the uniforms and what kind of bulk discount he’s willing to offer us, and we’re waiting to hear back from the bookshop about the cost of textbooks for the next academic year. Next week the school will arrange some exams to help place the children in the correct classes, and we can fill in the forms and register them properly.
Also since we all finally agreed on the government school, Priya’s been asking around and now informs me that this is one of the best government schools around and everyone thinks it’s wonderful, so that’s really good.
The kids are so excited about going back to school they can hardly wait!
That’s it for now, but I’m going to attach a little piece of my good karma to this email, so each and every one of you who opens it will get little good vibrations from Nepal!
tons of love and happy happy thoughts