Times flies so fast. I have already been volonteering for one month in Pokhara at the Annapurna Association (AAN) Children’s Home. The biggest reward for the time I have spend with the kids is their smiles and happiness. They welcomed me very friendly in their home and I thank them all for that.
The AAN Children’s home, located in Lakeside, is managed by Milan and Cita. Milan is the father of the 25 kids living or depending on this orphanage. He is doing an incredible work to give them the best conditions of life and the greatest opportunities for their future. Cita, whose dal bath is probably the best in Nepal, cooks and takes care of all the kids. In the nearby garden, Tika grows the vegetables for the curry.
The life starts a bit earlier than the sunrise in the house. As soon as the kids wake up, they start to work for their homeworks. As result, in the morning many voices repeating the daily homeworks emerge from the children’s home like prayers. As volunteers we have helped the kids in the different school topics. I helped especially some of the kids in science, math and physics. A bit before nine, the kids get their morning dal bath and then start to prepare themselves for school. The shoes are shinned, the uniforms prepared, the ties tied… and finally around nine thirty, the school bus picks up the kids. Around five, at their return form school, the kids take rest and some snacks, before reading again their homeworks until the evening dal bath. This program is, with the exception of festivals or political strikes, repeated six days a week: the only free day being Saturday.
With the help of some generous donors, I was able to install a computer corner for the kids with six laptops. Recalling the famous quotes of Jimmy Wales, Internet entrepreneur and co-foundator of Wikipedia: « Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s what we’re doing. »1.
I put a copy of Wikipedia for School on every computers. This special version of Wikipedia is meant for offline computers and was carefully checked and selected by SOS Children. It contains more than 6’000 articles and 50’000 pictures. The kids liked it immediately since it is such a great source of knowledge for them. Thanks to all the contributors to this project and to Wikipedia without whom this would have not been possible. Some of the computers run on a GNU/Linux distribution called Ubuntu,2. I therefore took some time to explain the basic idea of Free Software and of this free encyclopedia. The smaller kids also had a short introduction to the nice GCompris Suite, which they have already adopted.
On a more manual side, with two other volunteers, we have build a tomato greenhouse in the orphanage’s garden. Is has been very funny to work with an Italian and a French-American under the supervision of a Nepali. Finally, our bamboo structure was even designed like « Swiss-Chalet ». Hopefully, in some month the first tomatoes will come out of it.
After one month walking always in the same streets and taking some habits, I also became part of the city: the barber, the fruit seller, the shopkeeper and the all the brother’s hotel boys greet with large smiles. In conclusion, I can tell that this month was very relaxing and rewarding. I thanks a lot Milan for his great kindness and for all what he is doing for these kids and Cita for preparing us nice teas and delicious dal bath. Thank you, Denebad, Merci to all the kids, Milan, Cita, Tika, the other volunteers and the people around the world supporting the Annapurna Association.
1. Wikiquote, Jimmy Wales
2. Not all to let the kids be more familiar with different operating systems and office suites, instead of making them slaves of a given interface. (see François Elie, « Quelle école pour la société de l’information ? Program or be programmed ? »)