Sunday, October 18, 2009

On our Way Home

Our team spent the night at the home of missionary to Sinagpore Tom Estad and his family. They treated us to a nice seafood dinner out. We are now about to board for LAX. Looking forward to getting home. The faces of the children and remembering the view of the mountains from Nargarkot will always be on my mind. Goodbye Nepal at least for now.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Visiting Nargarkot Today -Heading for Home Tomorrow

Dear POP Supporters & Friends,
After a relatively productive "relationship building" trip to the Hope for Nepal Children's Home, we returned to Kathmandu on Friday morning. We checked back into our hotel and met our new friend and guide, Ram, who is the driver and "logistics man" for Leeza from Womens Foundation of Nepal and Playgrounds NOW Nepal!. Ram rented a van and driver for us and took us to the large Stupa and we had dinner on the roof overlooking this buddist shrine. Best meal I've had in Nepal considering I was sick a couple of days. Bryce has the same thing but is up and running today in time for our trek to the "high mountains." Viewing the mountains from Nargarkot at sun rise or sunset is world famous. I believe it is on the list of 100 things you should do in your life time.

We went to the WFN cooporative and bought scrafs. The money will truly help the women and children of Nepal. Then we went to a hindu temple and it was very strange. WE are done visiting temples this trip! This morning we are all shopping. At 12 noon we are going to the mountains with our guide Ram.

Needless to say....but I will say it again....we accomplished the relationship portion of the mission of POP but still have work yet to do. The playground continues to sit in storage near the airport and neither us, nor the US Government or friends of the Orphanage staff can make those in control of releasing it to let us have the equipment. We continue to pray and I believe it will have, just now while we are here.

Thanks to all our POP friends and supporters for your financial gifts and prayers. I am looking forward to coming home.

ON to Poland in 2010

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Time is Running Out

I am writing this on Thursday morning in Nepal. Even with the help of Karla at Pilot, involvement from the US Department of State and our local efforts, the playground equipment for Hope for Nepal Children's Home still sit in a warehouse near the KTM airport in Kathmandu. Expo Express Services, a sub-contractor of Aramex, the international partner of Pilot Frieght Services continues to hold our cargo for ransom. Of course they won't tell us Americans or Pilot this but they DID try to demand a bribe of $15,000 USD, plus change the Orphanage officials money for a worthless document.

The trip still has been well worth it! The relationships we have built with the Orphanage staff and the children has been fantastic. Had we waited until all the paperwork and dealing with the government been completed BEFORE arriving in Nepal, I honestly believe we would still be in Lee's Summit. We have two of the four documents needed to get the equipment released to the home through normal channels which are the Invoice and the packing list. Now, the Orphanage staff must run the gauntlet of governmental red tape (like Eastern Europe) to get the equipment to the playground site. I am confident at this point that the equipment will be released and transported to the site, but most likely not while we are here.

We did get the loose-fill, safety surfacing (sand) containment border completed on Wednesday with much needed help from the older boys here at the orphanage. This IS essential part of the mission of Playgrounds Of Peace. Our men working side-by-side with Nepal youth. It's just like working in the back yard with your "POP." You could tell from the looks on their faces that they were proud of THEIR accomplishments and the confirmation our men gave them was water to soul and self-esteem.

Last night our hosts and the children treated us to a concert and performance of traditional Nepali dances. They love to sing, praise the Lord and dance. We should be so happy ourselves! This is a beautiful place with beautiful people!

Our two teachers have been given the opportunity to teach the home-schoolers (younger children) all week. Our Registered Child Psy. & Play Therapist has had a wonderful time working individually with the children and teaching the home parents about child development issues. Duane, our builder, has had a ball building the bamboo containment area for the playground. Bill "Papa Bill" Helbling, has had a blast just showing the love of Christ to and praying for the children. There there is me.....Mr. Playground. I was sick for the past day and a half but doing better today. I am just taking it all in and making notes. I am finding out even more that kids are the same every where. Play behaviors are the same the world over! I got a real kick out of the little ones playing under the old slide and bringing me an array of "food and beverages." It is just confirmation in my mind that God has given me the mission of "bringing the gift of play to children around the world." It all starts with a playground...although in this case the playground will come later. I AM MR. PLAYGROUND.

Even More Photos of Hope for Nepal

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More Photos from Nepal

Update from Nepal

After a very long series of airline flight, we finally arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal. We spent the first night at the Hotel Excelsior in the Thamal area of the city. It is full of narrow streets, shops, people and uncontrolled traffic. We were all glad to leave the city and head for the rural area of the valley where the Hope for Nepal Children's Home is located. We were great with song, flowers and hugs from all the children. This moment made the hard journey and fund-raising all worth it!

The major problem has been we have not been able to get the playground equipment. It is being somewhat held "hostage: by the sub-contractor of the international partner of our shipping company and "red tape" of the government. Not knowing what else to do, we decided to clear and prepare the ground for the new playground. Like in Poland, we needed to use what was readily available in terms of materials and tools. We cleared the land by using small hand tool type hoes. Now we are using bamboo to build a retaining wall and safety surfacing (loose-fill) containment area.
Karla, who works for our shipping company, is doing her best to have the equipment release in time for us to build the playground. She has contacted the US Department of State and has tried to make sense of the confusing process of getting donated equipment to the home.

This is an absolutely beautiful place and the orphanage is better than we expected. The Orphanage staff and kids have been great to work with. They are wonderful hosts.

Please pray for our team's health and for us getting the playground equipment.
Thanks again for everyone's support.