As a child, who grew up in Bal Mndir, I have heard it umpteeth times, that particular staff of NCO is corrupt and this staff of the Bal Mandir steals stuffs meant for us, he made fortune stealing all the donations and she is rich purely because she was the incharge of that department; which receives huge donation [of foods].
Some of the big boys [ who study in 9th or 10th standard] did vocalized it saying, loudly when ever some of the high ranking officer paid an official visit to their children’s home at Shifal. They used to say that, “she is wearing gold bangles, because she stole it from us.” This kind of comments naturally angers anyone, so it did to Mrs. Shrestha also who was in the management of the NCO when I was growing up.
But, when I look back and try to understand; why she used to visit children’s home flaunting her gold jewellery and her best silk sari ? How come, there are social workers who loved to flaunt such things, that to at wrong place ? She was not going to any party to enjoy flaunting those stuffs, was she ? But, leave it here, who am I to give my opinion of her personal taste and choice, she is the one who comes from well-to-do-family, to have some basic know-how-knowledge of what kind of dresses and accessories to wear for any occasion.
But, here I am not going to focus on some managers or staff indulging in some kind of corruption or greed driven motif. In fact, it came from very unexpected place and it came from my side of the coin.
This last December, I had a meeting with Bernhard when he visited Nepal with his team of trusty and some sponsor, during our conversation he casually told me that now money is not a problem for his foundation to do the kind of works he is doing here in Nepal since 1989. One of his trusty gave him 150,000 swiss franc, this perhaps was the third time, he gave his bonus money to Bernhard’s foundation. After meeting him, on the way back to my place, I stopped at one of my friends’ place. As we women do it, sharing anything and everything at odd times and hours, I told her that trusty [Bernhard strictly forbade me to mention about this in my blog] had given 150 thousands swiss franc to his foundation.
Honestly speaking, by this time my brain was yet to work properly to calculate that this much amount make about a crore in Nepali currency; as I yet have to assert myself properly after my meeting with him.
My friend opened her mouth to say, “you know these founders [she meant Bernhard] also take good share of this kind of givings.” Her statement was enough to stun me, although it stunned me I did not think it necessary to give her piece of my mind, instead I just stare at her in complete silence. I could and would never ever think anything like this for Bernhard.
The people around me knows, I am very vocal person and give my strong opinion on anything that comes on my face and perhaps for that very reason my silence must have compelled her to share the secret, which she had been keeping from me for long. That revelation just stunned me even more. But, then it helped me to understand why she had doubt about Bernhard. She thought, he is her reflection, it's so hard for me to swallow her perception. But at the same time, her candid way of baring her soul out, forced me hard to think about the concept of greed and corruption, which I [we] believe as a growing up child.
She is the friend, who had kept Alisha with her for about 5 years when she was still very young, in her one room apartment. Her father paid very meager amount to keep her. One day when she could take her no more due to mounting expenses, she had arranged to enroll her in a the children’s home Bernhard’s foundation is helping run it here in Nepal. When Alisha was sent to this children’s home. She kept this news secret from me until I saw her in the children’s Home.
Now, she was telling me that sending Alisha to this children’s home was a secret deal; which she had done with her father. If she manage to send her to children’s home, it will save thousands of money of her father, in return her father should provide a piece of land to her. It's really been a couple of years, she has been dreaming to have her own house, as she got tired of staying in rented room.
But now, when Alisha is in the children home for a couple of years her father denied to give her what he seemed to have agreed upon earlier. This behaviour of ‘Loke’ just boiled my friends patience and now she is angry with him.
This is one of those moment, when she was the one who was doing almost all the talking, it seems that I hardly have anything here to dig in. I did not ask her what ? why ? when ? All I did was just looked at her in utter silence, in fact, in disbelief of what I was hearing. My mind was so zapped; I could not even judge her for what she was sharing with me. She was just candid on opening up her dark side. Seeing me silent, she asked me a question which I had no answer, “look, she is staying in hostel, going to boarding school and does not have to spend a penny on school dresses and stationaries and all the food cost and other involved expenses. Ultimately, how much money it saves of her father ?”
After witnessing her open up like that, there was so many questions that was going on in my head. So when she asked me that question, I still had nothing to reply. “It saves thousands of Rs annually of Loke’s money”, she herself answered that question making this easy for me, “ ...and now can he denies giving me a small piece of land ?”
“You know people are very selfish and it takes a lifetime to know them”, she concluded her story with the above line. It seems that I really have not seen life as much as she had seen it but sometimes people like her do make it a lot easier for us, when they open up so candidly like that.
Honestly speaking, I choose not to judge her for one reason, I like her because she has nothing to hide and I don't like her because she has nothing to hide. Just because she felt so comfortable to show her deep dark secret with me, do I really have to judge her ?
But, my brain won't agree with me without asking a question. There are whole lot of missionaries, donors across the world to make life better for a girl like Alisha [ and me and she herself had stayed with me in Bal Mnadir], whose parents won't keep her in their home even if they are financially not in bad shape. If they are; then the majority of Nepali are in bad shape financially. This foundation or all other children’s home provide everything for free to make life better not only for today but for tomorrow also for someone like Alisha. What my friend had given her to expect, something like a piece of land in return from her father ?
Who is corrupt, what is corruption and what is greed and who is greedy is something not up to me to find out. Does this matter, who stole what from us when we were growing up ? and personally to me it seems that, the idea to curse each other was a kind of luxury for us to indulge in some kind of pampering. Blaming them that they stole things for us only gave us some kind of joy. Maybe I am wrong , but maybe I am right but I don’t know the truth hidden behind it. But then it's also fact that the manager and staff of the NCO and Bal Mandir showed less respect for us; as if we are not the human’s children. Using the kind of language which was so demeaning, derogatory and degrading, disrespectful as if it was a luxury for them to treat us like that. I guess it was some kind of retaliation mentality more that what was the reality behind it.
At this point I remember reading following lines from, Daring to live on the Edge by Loren Cunningham. When we think of greed we think of a rich miserly man. However, greed is more prevalent among the poor and not-so-rich. The one most consumed with lust for ownership are the one who have the least. Greed, leads parents in India to break their infants legs so they can use them as beggar, eliciting more pity as cripples. In America inner city kids are killing other youths just to get their expensive athletic shoes.