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.