I Selftaught me How to Knit

Sunita Giri 9:07 AM |



Rachana my twelve year old niece asked me last year when I visited my brother during dashain, where did you learn knitting ? When I was in Bal Mandir, was my response. How old were you when you learned this, she was curious, I said I was younger than you. By the time I was your age I was already wearing the sweater I made.

Her question sent me back in my memory lane. I remember learning the art of knitting  when I was too young to remember how old I was. As for the needle, we used to use broomsticks in the beginning. Slowly we started using fence wire and then in later years if we were lucky to get the broken umbrella we used to get the straight wire that came from it. Sharpening the sides of needles was hardest task and if its fence wire then straightening it was equally tougher part of it, yet we did it for a simple reason; because we did not have money to buy a needle.

As for the wool, I remember using all thrown wool which came from the room where they made sweaters from machine. or all the used and old wools. There used to be hundreds of knots in one mufflers and and it was not so good looking mix of wool and its combination. It's really hard to remember where all that wool came from when it comes to learning knitting when we were too young to keep safely even our works. It was then when I was under ten. Although, I can't remember for sure, but by the time I was ten I got my needle and then i was making sweater for me.

One thing I remember very clear when all other around me was busy making mufflers and sweater I was busy self teaching me the complex art of perfecting gloves. I had mastered it but not I don't make much gloves as I hardly use it. Mastering how to make glove is one of the toughest work in needle work.

When I grew up [ I was still not in my teen years then]  more, I saw some foreigners coming and teaching a group of girls about fine starting and finishing with some handy techniques to make socks, caps and sweaters along with some good patterns. That changed our entire belief in how to make a sweater. It was really good because I was still young enough to adopt the new ideas and implement it in my knitting works. The old way of starting and finishing sweater was not that fine as much as we knew before those foreigners [ I can't remember whether they were Koreans, Americans or Japanese] came to teach some young girls.  I was not in that group, but I asked them to teach me what they have learned. Good news was one of my best friend was in that group of girl who was in the learning team. You can call it a very good environment to learn, as it had that kind of environment  where everyone taught a skill to all those who were interested to learn it.

The best part of that time was, there was no television, computer or mobile to distract us  when we were learning it. It was just another way to keep us busy, be creative and use our time wisely. It was open for those who wanted to learn it and closed for those who were not interested in it. No one was going to pressure anyone, if you don't like it. And there was plenty of other works to learn if you were not interested to learn knitting. For me knitting was better than sewing or plucking weeds from vegetables gardens.

As I grew up I was more interested in knitting. One day, I found me in a selected group of knitting group, who were polished more to knit sweaters and gloves what used to keep on sale for royal or other influential people of the society during royal visit. During one of those years, I  remember the white sweater I knitted was the main attraction of the exhibition when there was a royal visit. It was kept in the center of hall and when there was royal figure I was pointed as the maker of this sweater [sadly, I do not never how proud I was at that time]. And in another time the baby pink glove I made was selected as a gift for a queen’s birthday. The house mother Kedar Shrestha, who used to run this knitting class after school did not like me much on a personal level, but she simply could not rule me out for my fine hand when it comes to knitting, not even if she wanted to.

One thing is very hard to remember for me is who taught me to put my first loops on broomstick or who helped me to knit first. What was my age when I started learning knitting.  I can't even remember one single answer of all the above questions. I was way too young to remember all this. In my vague memory, I self taught me watching other people knitting. Everyone used to knit during winter time. So, I did it. It was the perfect way to  pass time when there used to be long winter vacation which lasted almost two months. Long winter vacation in a time where there was no Televison, Internet, computer and Mobile to kill time. I am so thankful there was no distraction when I was trying to  learn something useful  art and creative skill.  

Therefore, I think Rachana at thirteen this year, is bit late when it comes to learning knitting. The right time must be eight or seven; Or may be younger than that to start it. Long before we can remember who taught us.  I not remember being super bright as a knitter when I started but I was not super dull at the same time. With some exception there are very few patterns I can't learn fast. Some I never try to learn as it fails to get my interest on it.

But more I Knit more people know me as super talented knitter. I am not talented I am just the one who loves knitting and find more ways to knit fast as well as beautiful work. Knitting is something we can create in hours or a week and then wear it for more than ten years.


Rachana my twelve year old niece asked me last year when I visited my brother during dashain, where did you learn knitting ? When I was in Bal Mandir, was my response. How old were you when you learned this, she was curious, I said I was younger than you. By the time I was your age I was already wearing the sweater I made.

Her question sent me back in my memory lane. I remember learning the art of knitting  when I was too young to remember how old I was. As for the needle, we used to use broomsticks in the beginning. Slowly we started using fence wire and then in later years if we were lucky to get the broken umbrella we used to get the straight wire that came from it. Sharpening the sides of needles was hardest task and if its fence wire then straightening it was equally tougher part of it, yet we did it for a simple reason; because we did not have money to buy a needle.

As for the wool, I remember using all thrown wool which came from the room where they made sweaters from machine. or all the used and old wools. There used to be hundreds of knots in one mufflers and and it was not so good looking mix of wool and its combination. It's really hard to remember where all that wool came from when it comes to learning knitting when we were too young to keep safely even our works. It was then when I was under ten. Although, I can't remember for sure, but by the time I was ten I got my needle and then i was making sweater for me.

One thing I remember very clear when all other around me was busy making mufflers and sweater I was busy self teaching me the complex art of perfecting gloves. I had mastered it but not I don't make much gloves as I hardly use it. Mastering how to make glove is one of the toughest work in needle work.

When I grew up [ I was still not in my teen years then]  more, I saw some foreigners coming and teaching a group of girls about fine starting and finishing with some handy techniques to make socks, caps and sweaters along with some good patterns. That changed our entire belief in how to make a sweater. It was really good because I was still young enough to adopt the new ideas and implement it in my knitting works. The old way of starting and finishing sweater was not that fine as much as we knew before those foreigners [ I can't remember whether they were Koreans, Americans or Japanese] came to teach some young girls.  I was not in that group, but I asked them to teach me what they have learned. Good news was one of my best friend was in that group of girl who was in the learning team. You can call it a very good environment to learn, as it had that kind of environment  where everyone taught a skill to all those who were interested to learn it.

The best part of that time was, there was no television, computer or mobile to distract us  when we were learning it. It was just another way to keep us busy, be creative and use our time wisely. It was open for those who wanted to learn it and closed for those who were not interested in it. No one was going to pressure anyone, if you don't like it. And there was plenty of other works to learn if you were not interested to learn knitting. For me knitting was better than sewing or plucking weeds from vegetables gardens.

As I grew up I was more interested in knitting. One day, I found me in a selected group of knitting group, who were polished more to knit sweaters and gloves what used to keep on sale for royal or other influential people of the society during royal visit. During one of those years, I  remember the white sweater I knitted was the main attraction of the exhibition when there was a royal visit. It was kept in the center of hall and when there was royal figure I was pointed as the maker of this sweater [sadly, I do not never how proud I was at that time]. And in another time the baby pink glove I made was selected as a gift for a queen’s birthday. The house mother Kedar Shrestha, who used to run this knitting class after school did not like me much on a personal level, but she simply could not rule me out for my fine hand when it comes to knitting, not even if she wanted to.

One thing is very hard to remember for me is who taught me to put my first loops on broomstick or who helped me to knit first. What was my age when I started learning knitting.  I can't even remember one single answer of all the above questions. I was way too young to remember all this. In my vague memory, I self taught me watching other people knitting. Everyone used to knit during winter time. So, I did it. It was the perfect way to  pass time when there used to be long winter vacation which lasted almost two months. Long winter vacation in a time where there was no Television, Internet, computer and Mobile to kill time. I am so thankful there was no distraction when I was trying to  learn something useful  art and creative skill.  

Therefore, I think Rachana at thirteen this year, is bit late when it comes to learning knitting. The right time must be eight or seven; Or may be younger than that to start it. Long before we can remember who taught us.  I not remember being super bright as a knitter when I started but I was not super dull at the same time. With some exception there are very few patterns I can't learn fast. Some I never try to learn as it fails to get my interest on it.

But more I Knit more people know me as super talented knitter. I am not talented I am just the one who loves knitting and find more ways to knit fast as well as beautiful work. Knitting is something we can create in hours or a week and then wear it for more than ten years.
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Roomful or Room crowded

Sunita Giri 11:59 PM |



No, this is not a room of Bal Mandir.
As a blogger, I have been writing about my life for about six years. By now, you must have read me many times writing one line again and again and that is, I am sunita giri and I grew up in Bal Mandir. Sometimes I think I got stuck up there, in that life, when I was a growing up child. It seems I grew but deep down I am always that child, observing things around me always trying to understand why of all the things that goes in our life. Over the years, time changed, age changed, place changed but somewhere down the path the mindset of people around me remained the same. This makes me wonder all the time, because when I was in Bal Mandir I was young and totally clueless about the things that went around me. It was ok if I had children of my age who had not understood many things around us, as they were as young as I was and absolutely clueless in so many things that was going around us. Worse part of it was the adult around us, who were not much helpful in so many ways than one.


Having been grown up in Bal Mandir is one condition that kept me strictly away from average Nepali. I never ever got a chance to see from up close the lifestyle of average Nepali living in home or they call family. Now, I come to know that the life of average Nepali in fact, is a lot worse than the life we lived in Bal Mandir. I met so many people who have nothing in life but parents, and they are proud of it. Sure, they don't understand me; if I don't get it.


One of the things that stings me of the average Nepalese habit is how comfortable they are to adjust in a crowded rooms. For a sneak peek of it, I would like to suggest you to go and see in many hostels running in Kathmandu. I am told the hostels run by college are equally crammed up as of the hostels running out of college.


When I was growing up in Bal Mandir I hardly stayed in a room that had children less than eighteen. There are very few rooms that could house children under fifteen. Family size room is rare in Bal Mandir. Almost all my childhood was spent in rooms which I shared with other  twenty girls of my age. We used to spent around two years in one room. This room switch has direct connection with our age and grade we study. However, I do not remember those room being crowded. Because after having bed for about twenty girls the room still have plenty of space to read for all and also play some indoor games. For all the indoor games we used veranda that was just outside the room. Veranda is the main part of every room that is in Bal Mandir.


In Hall Kotha, where stayed for about two years, at around the end of my time in Bal Mandir. Its capacity was also eighteen or twenty girls. Not surprisingly, it had bed for all the girls and a bed for an adult, a caretaker. Still, it had plenty of space for us to play in small groups like, carom board, ludo and other indoor games. Besides this, this room also was used as a common study room for the girls of three rooms. That means about 40-50 girls from two three other rooms used to gather for morning and evening study. Each study time, it was used for one and half hour. This was big girls room so those girls who were studying in seven, eight, nine and ten grades they used to come here for homework and classwork revisions. Even after that, we had an easy way out to go in and out when we wanted to go for a loo break during the middle of study.


Twenty girls in a room yet, I never ever felt crowded or suffocated when I was growing up in Bal Mandir. Because once you are out from your room there was big space to breath in and out. Enough place to play all types of outdoor games. Lots of place for running, hiding, playing and  breathing fresh air. I never ever have been in another place which could provide me such  big space to breathe in and yet feel secure. Nah, not even when I worked in five star hotel.


Have you ever been in hostels running in Kathmandu ? there you might see two seater or three or some more than four. Even if you see just two bed in a room, most of it has power to  make you suffocate and immediately feel claustrophobic. But, surprisingly the girls living in this room do not seem to have any problem at all whatsoever its uneasiness and adjusting their way. Food there is lower than the food I grew up eating in Bal Mandir. The concept of substantial food seemed to be derailed. Yes, one things is for sure, just like in  Bal Mandir hostels running in Kathmandu buys foods from the market which is cheapest and there is no way down than that. Food, I guess jail mates would be thankful for having. But I heard in American they sue the jailer for low quality meal in jail. Bed, furniture, utensils they use are far below the one I grew up using in Bal Mandir. Sometimes I see kind of steel mugs even it might get rejected from jailer. Commercial motif and the intention to disrespect those who pay you is at its heights and student don't have voice to go against it. My guess would be, either they don't know the minimum standards of children's homes or never been in jail to see its standards.


So, should this surprise me when one such hostel runner is also the keeper of a children home. Imagine when she provides lower standards in her hostel what could be her standards for those who are not paying her for their stay ? There is a flat allotted for seventeen young girls, it still looks too crowded and narrow for young children. The girls don't even have enough space to skip a rope, forget about walking while skipping, which is a common practice among growing up kids.


There is no doubt, I do not make rules for the hostel runners in Kathmandu or in other cities nor I make the rules for those who live in children's homes. But seeing the condition of the children home made me think. Sure, I can't say every child should get a chance to stay in big palace like Bal Mandir. There has to be some minimum standards to run it. People who are running it, should not feel comfortable to say, it's my home so my policy, my management my ruling. I better let the concerned authority like Central Child Welfare Board to take decision on its condition.


This lead me to visit Social Welfare Council which directed me to Central Child Welfare Board.  From where I got some books and I read a book, Standards of Operation and Management of Residential Child Care Homes 2012. Then I learned that this woman and her ten team members are running a children home with only about 20% of its standard. Now, I have to see how will the Chairman, Mr Dilli Ram Giri or the Executive Director, Mr. Tarak Dhital take action against such people. How much faith they show in what they say in this book entirely depend on how do they take action against the woman [and her team] who is running a children's home.  Oh yes, there is some child laour  going on also. There are some people in our society who run children home[s] as if it's one ornament that is associated with status, pride and prestige, just one more accessories.

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Innocence Robbed

Sunita Giri 11:51 PM |



Couple of weeks ago I was talking with Bhawana Bhatta, a very active  Manager of Yuwalaya resource center, which is a NGO and a young and multi talented TV journalist Ashma Aryal. It was a very casual talk in the office of Bhawana. Ashma had been to one shelter home for HIV infected children which is in Kirtipur. Being a journalist Ashma wanted to cover one story on these children and also the dedication and advocacy of the founders. Then she came to know that she can't cover the story in her TV channel about these children. Or even if you take the picture you have to cover the story without showing the picture of them. Suppose you report a story on TV then this means you have to talk about them without showing the picture of children who are living a very discriminated life. Why ? the only answer is, it's international law. You can't tell the story of HIV victim unless the child turns 18 years old. But, the question remains unanswered that why a child has to wait until he/she turns 18 for the mistake he / she never committed ? These children can't go to normal school or can mix with normal children of their age.

What is the mistake of these children ? lack of knowledge about the HIV virus and hyper fear with the virus and this ignorance is with those who are well educated like doctors treating them as well as principals who won't admit them in their schools. Can we  discard this topic as Social stigma ?

Last week, three of us and Yadav Pandit,  career counselor from Yuwalaya went to visit Baby Life home in Kirtipur, Bhatkepati. Bhawana have funded my concept, Books for children and Education project. Under this project she single handedly donated the stationary supply for total of 41 children and some out of course Books for Children in three children homes. We have  visited two children homes and distributed. We still have to visit one more children  home that is in Pepsicola town Planning which shelters the children of prison inmates.

Once we were in children’s home, we sat down to talk with these children and get to know the name, age and part of the county they came in this shelter home.  Majority of the children are from Surkhet, Dang, Dailekh and Pyuthan; areas Bhawana as an active social worker is well aware of.  The youngest one was three year old and the oldest one was fifteen. Out of 23 children, 9 were girls and 14 were boys.

They looked very healthy to me, at least by appearance. Interestingly, its founder duo Mrs. Uma Rai and Mr Rajkumar Pun have taken very good care of children’s mental health as well as physical. The immunity count of some of the children were as low as 200 when they had joined the shelter but, it now has risen to 1700 and more since then, Mrs. Uma Rai one of the founder of the shelter home as well as school for these children shared with us. Some of them have the immunity count which is above the normal healthy person.
Upon infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a person's immune system kills off nearly all of the virus and infected cells. But some small number remain, and over time, those HIV cells replicate, and replicate, and replicate. Then, usually 10 years after the initial infection, the viral load reaches a critical count, and the virus begins killing off the vital immune cells that protect us against infections.
At that critical count, a person is considered to have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS); with the body’s immunological defenses destroyed, it's usually only a matter of months before a range of opportunistic infections and cancers complete their lethal work.
Researchers have developed a number of powerful drugs to help people like Johnson avoid this fate. The key weapon has been a regimen of three or four antiretroviral drugs, collectively known as highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART.
She shares her struggle story and takes so much pride in some of success after all the struggle. Like how some of ‘her children’ were in ICU for about a week and how they have survived and how healthy the children are now.

Mr. Dutta Ram Rai Hostel Incharge who has been associated with this home ever since it was established seven years ago, tells me the minimum cost of medicine per child per month comes to a 1000 Rs. Good news is all the medicine supply for these children are free by the government. All of them are the patient of Teku Hospitals. However they also have some sad and bad experience of visiting hospital. Doctors in Teku hospital  hesitates to cut open them if they suffer seriously and needs an immediate operation to save them. They fear they will be infected with HIV/AIDS. Sometimes the doctors in hospital deny to admit sick children even if dying child need to be admitted in ICU. There was case when there have been vacant ICU or bed but doctors have told them bed not available for their children. No wonder, they have moments of emotional meltdown and hut discussion goes with hesitant hospital staffs to provide the immediate service for these children, when one of these child  falls sick and needs immediate hospitalisation.

The children have recently been moved to the new area. Last years earthquake have damaged their old shelter home very badly. They are managing in very narrow tin top temporary sheltor. A concrete building is rising nearby the tintop  shelter which will be used as school as well as shelter for children.

Along with the stationary items Bhawana also had included one school bag for each of them. Then we came to know that these children do not go to school.  Why I asked the Hostel Incharge, Mr Rai. None of the principals in Kirtipur [government as well as private] area would take a single child in their school, fearing other children will be infected by the same disease. It seems we need to target school principals and Doctors and hospital staff first before we target other areas when it comes to awareness about HIV/AIDS and how it will get transmitted. How come a doctor, a school principal, medical staff  and school teacher are not aware enough about this disease to fear them seat next to them ? How can school management deny a child to join school based on the disease child is suffering from ?

How can a doctor deny treatment for a dying child ? should he still be called a doctor if he does so ?

The area they stay are avoided by locals, as if they will be infected if they touch them. It seems that the awareness of the HIV/AIDS has not touched the educated circle of the society so it should not be a big surprise if the average people is not much aware about it. Does knowledge means knowing the children are infected with grave illness but not knowing how to treat them ? What is education anyway ? It seems fear of this disease needs to be cured first among the educated mass before we cure HIV/AIDS.
Good news is Shikchya Sadan the name of the school that provide education to HIV infected children privately. Upto grade eight the school have got the government approval. These children gets regular education in the shelter. This school focus not only in bookish educational knowledge but also takes good care of mental health of the children along with physical. Singing and dancing is basic part of the education in this school. Many of the children are so talented that they have won some national awards in singing competition and writing competition. Children are also encouraged to take very active part in most types of sports.

Each child is aware of their disease and they talk about it instead of hiding it. They appear very normal children. During our visit all the children also told us, what they wanted to be when they grow up. Some wanted to be doctor, some lawyers, some actor, and model and some pilot. Thier dream is so versatile and interesting to hear them talking about the future plan the principals and teacher of the area failed to see beyond the couple of years down.

Long time back I have read so much about HIV/ AIDS because Magic Johnson, the famous basketball player in US has been infected with HIV/ AIDS. When the news hit the headlines in 1991, many presumed he will die soon. He was judged  for his habit and condemned for how it got him. The medicine science has changed a lot over the 25 years and he is still healthy and strong after all these years and he still is in sports industry as an analyst and businessman as well as he is a strong voice and hope for those who are infected with  HIV/ AIDS.

"There is nothing unique about Magic," said Spencer Lieb, senior epidemiologist and HIV/AIDS research coordinator for the Florida Consortium for HIV/AIDS Research. "There are still people alive and kicking and doing very well 20 and 30 years after infection."

It seems our doctors, medical staff, school principals and teachers in kirtipur area do not know a single thing about Magic Johnson otherwise they would have punished those innocent children for not admitting them in hospital or accepting them  in their schools. I really wonder who gives them right to discriminate against the innocent life like this ?
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My first job for which I was never paid

Sunita Giri 6:53 AM |


It seems very obvious that Children home everywhere would like to run some kind of training programs to keep the pre teen or teen age children busy when they have young brain and very active life. Such trainings core intention is to focus on life skill, as well as serve the immediate need of the children home. When I was in school I do remember being  part of the the team that used to make all the dresses that children in Bal Mandir used to wear year round.

I used to attend morning school, which was open from six till eleven. There were two other girls in my class and they too used to join me in running machine over, already cut dresses. There was two guys also in our team, so about six of us used to run machine whole day, six days a week from 11:30 a.m. till 5 p.m.  After about 4 p.m. other girls [ mostly] who were in junior classes used to join us and sometimes maybe we could escape for an hour earlier than the regular time. Needless to mention, it was not a paid job but it was something we have to do it compulsory. It was something that was thought by the people in management a must to discipline us also.

We used to make school dresses two pair for each child in a year, one set of nighty, and I think the main part of this whole sewing section was established was to prepare new dashian dresses for all the children. This dashain dress used to distribute with much fan fair. Dress distribution was a part of one of the big day in the calendar of Bal Mandir. A big Royal entourage  used to visit Bal Mandir during the month of Dashain. This day used to be about a couple of days before Dashain and then one of the royal member  used to hand over a packet of dress to each child individually.

With them the whole team of photographer, reporter, media people and other affluent people of the society used tag along to grace the big room, which we used to call ‘Baithak’, where the distribution of the packet of dress used to take place. Such news used to get coverage in   the newspapers in town. It so happens that then there used to be only two national dailies, one is Gorkhapatra which is in Nepali, and another the english daily, The Rising Nepal. Later on the same news also found space in the Nepal Television as prime time news the only television channel of that time. All the event where royal member presence was needed was regarded prime time news.

Bal Mandir also used to run other training programs not just the sewing section. For those who were least interesting in sewing they used to go to do other training like,  some used to run machines that used to make sweaters, some used to run some home made cloth making machine.  The bed sheet those machine made were thick and considered of lower standards even in Bal Mandir. However I do remember using those inhouse product also for some time.

The most boring part of sewing is creating all identical dresses. Recently, I came to know a bunch of college students who stays in hostel here in town. When I see them going to the market buying the same dress that is different only in colors than the other of her friend she just saw wearing this surprise me. Because this is something unusual or unexpected for me to accept it. I had been seen so much identical dresses in my life and that part of my life made me so much abhor for it. When other like it makes me think hard why they don't abhor it ? is not this a first right of a girl / woman to reject the identical dress ?

Uniforms are uniforms, it has  a reason to be the same for all in color.  Majority of the children used to go to school that is within the Bal Mandir premises.  That school used to provide education until the seventh grade and after that we used to go to another school outside of Bal Mandir.

Once we use to go to outside school we were considered big children. Oh ! I mean to say, when we were in the eighth grade we were considered big children. The average age of the eighth graders is fourteen.

Forget about me not liking the process of making identical dresses, whole day, six days in a week, whole year.  Now, I think those time just robbed us our true childhood. It was not fun to do it, but it was a compulsion to do that. Fine, there were no harsh punishment for not doing it but we were not allowed to spend the same time to read or study other things that we were interested.

I think I must have writing in my earlier post that the training of sewing did no help to anyone who left Bal Mandir. I know no one who later on did it for livelihood or as a job.

Here at this point, I think I should mention this one small part here. Every child in Bal Mandir used to have sponsor. Each sponsor used to send some money to support the cost of that particular child so that the child gets full education during his/her stay in Bal Mandir. That money never used to go to the bank directly. Of course it used to be deposited in bank but only after deducting seventy five percent of it. Because that much money was spent  of  the upkeep of the child. Only 25% of the fund used to be deposited in that child's account.

When I was in Bal Mandir there used to be around 200 child. Our sewing section was never a dry area to work. No doubt, it was always a busiest section of the Bal Mandir. I have run shirt, pant, night gown, skirts, Kurta and all yet I have no interest whatsoever in sewing, stitching, sewing machine and making dresses.  

Today, I do not make a single dress for me if I need one. Because, it was not fun for me to make dress it was a compulsion to do so and I did it even though I did not like it. Instead, I choose a thread to make dress for me I mean a wool thread is much more fun a lot creative  to make sweaters for me. However I have to be honest here. One thing is for sure, I like it or not that is not important. We had lots of time when we were young child and all the training whether we need it for life time or not, that is not important. What is important is utilisation of precious time busy mind and that's what may be those adults took when they were in a position to take some decision for us.
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My Winter Calender

Sunita Giri 6:10 PM |

16 girls of  Hope children home in Bhaisepati
 My calendar tells me now, how  I have spent the mid week December and whole month of new year. On January 3rd I was at the Bhaisepaiti where Rasmi Sharma and Anand Shina took care of 15 girls in their own home. All the girls were so beautiful and they looked even more prettier when they  posed for photographs wearing what we give them caps and neck warmers. I have been to this place through Pastor Rajan Neupane. He had recommended me to this place when I asked him, do you know any children home which has about 20 children ?




Children from Hope Family
On January 16, 22 children from Hope family were provided  caps and neck warmers. This children home is on the way to Mulpani, which is near by Sun city apartment that is outside of Pepci Cola town planning. Pastor Rajan Neupane and his wife Indu Neupane takes care of all these children. But their church Grater Grace also has a committee too take some responsibilities concerning these children. 







Chahari Children home from New Baneshwor
On January 23, 11 children from a children home New Baneshor were provided the same. This children home has ten board members but only 11 girls. Most of the children on this home has both parents but they are really poor as they are from remote parts of Nepal. A madam I know for about a year is one of the board member of this children home and she is also an active member. She saw me making some caps and neck warmers and and she asked me to give to her children home also. What she asked, she got. 



Children from Jumla
When I was bit free and the sun was heavy on the Kathmandu sky late weeks of January, my brother asked me over phone can you give me 30 caps for two children homes in Jumla and one in Surkhet. Thank god ! I was in posision to say yes ! As I have been trusted with his money by two nice hearted person by now and I needed somebody to ask me exactly that. so on January 29, 12 sets of caps and neck warmers were sent to a children home in Jumla. I have never been to Jumla but my goods traveled to that place also.



Children From Chiwan which is run by my brother


Before, All this  started, I was in Chitwan for a whole month during dashain and for last week I made a sweater for Prafulla my nephew and then came back with wool to make one more sweater for Arpan another nephew. This started my need to make and then I made lots of caps to sent to Chitwan again for the children home my brother runs in Chitwan. He asked for 8 more so that he can give it to the other children home his friend Prateek runs. 






Children from Chitwan - 2

Children home in Jumla II
He asked and he was given got as I have an itchy hand during winter seasons and all I want to do is knit. I have been able to give all this because my readers from Facebook have responded to give me money so that I can make caps and neck warmers for many children but I did not know I could this all by myself. I would like to thank, Om RoutTek Giri and Bhawana Bhatta for their generous giving which made me possible to do what you are reading here 
now.




This means from the mid December of the last year and the beginning months of this year was pretty busy months for me. I hope the year will end in even better note than its beginning, as my brain is pretty occupied with 1000 woolen blankets for this winter season and a bigger part of my brain is thinking and planning how can I make it possible !
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Woolen Blanket

Sunita Giri 9:41 AM |


Truth be told, I am not that comfortable to stay overnight with a friend’s place. It could be my habit or this is something I have hardly done as a child growing up in Bal Mandir. Going out and staying overnight was not the common practice there. It is hard to say why we never spend our night with anyone's place. Is it not sure that, we were not invited or we were not allowed to spend night at our friends place. Couple of years ago, I have been to a friends place for a lunch and something happened  that day which caused me along with other friends of ours to spend night at her place.


That night I was in for a shock, when  she offered me only one blanket to sleep with.  I still remember asking her, just one quilt ? won't it be cold ? Now, it was her turn to be surprised with my question. yes and one will be enough, she responded.  Our bed were prepared on a floor of a room. Four of us slept in a row. Because we were four, so I did not feel that much cold even with only one quilt to cover me for the whole night. Indeed, after some time I even felt hot in the group of people.


Why was I surprised with just one quilt ? Because I never ever settled for just one quilt or blanket to cover me during winter time. Perhaps, it's because when I was growing up in Bal Mandir we always use three blankets to cover us during winter season. Of that three blankets, one was wollen blanket, second a cotton quilt and then the  third one is itchy blanket which we put on top of all. So, when she handed me just one, it was kind of cultural shock for me to believe what she was doing. I have never went to bed with just one blanket to cover me.


As a child, I do not remember other blanket touching my night body, but Woolen blanket, which used to keep us warm. Cotton quilt only worked with woolen blanket but not alone. As far as I can remember, all the two hundred children in Bal Mandir had the woolen blanket on each bed. It was a lot softer and warmer compared to cotton quilt that is widely used here in Nepal in every households.


The knitting of it used to be very basic, even a person who knows basic knitting can make those colorful patches. Each blanket was made with about hundred such colorful patches. Each patches  used to be about 6x8 in size. Then it was neatly stitched. Some of the blanket have properly rimmed from the all four sides and some were left without being rimmed. It was easy to use, fold and then cover in our body. I really don't know, why, I still feel the softness of it after all these years.


The question is who made those woolen blanket ? I just happen to know the answer also and the answer is, jail mates in US made those blanket. I do not remember having two way conversation with anyone about it, but, somehow this line have stamped in my mind. I guess I must have heard two adults talking about it when I was still too young to know the importance of this conversation.



Now, when I am full grown one question bugs me and that makes me  wonder why the jail mates in US has to do the community work for the children in Nepal ?  why do we not have people in our  society who acts responsible for the mess this society face ? and why the people as far as US has to do this for us ?

Could this be our religious believe that bars our people to act responsibly ?
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Surprise in the pocket

Sunita Giri 3:28 AM |


Nepal is hit by earthquake and now the hard hit victims are facing the brutal cold under the temporary shelter. I have been reading it on facebook coming from  all sides how difficult it's been to those who still could not move in their home after all these months also. I also have been reading that some givers are dumping the clothes in the name of giving.


In recent years, I myself have been through the hard time so It's been so long that I have not been in the position to give my clothes. Earlier than this, if I gave it never went to that far to the unknown people. It was a lot easier to manage my used shoes and clothes. All of it used go to my friends and they never mind when I gave them my used clothes. Honestly speaking, this is my first giving that is going to those whom I do not even know.


As I was packing some give away clothes some childhood memories of mine made me to leave some coins inside the pockets. Luckily when I looked for some coins, I had some so I did that. Must I do it ? that I really don't know, but I like leaving some coins in all the pockets.


Suddenly, that simple act of mine took me to that time when I was a young child and growing up in Bal Mandir. About 200 children have got new coats. that was a donation from foreigners Word coat tells me that it must have been winter time. I must have been too young to remember everything in details but I do have some blurry memory of it and some clear like mirror. As they tried on those coats and put their hands in pockets almost every child started shouting with joy that they have found something inside the pocket. Some children frisked some coin and some even found some rings and necklace inside the pockets. Some were digging deeper in their pockets to find something and there was something in every pockets not to disappoint every child -maybe.


Some of them asked to the room nannies first, with sheer excitement.  The excitement of those were high who had founds some foreign coins and rings and some even founds necklace. Some of it was gold and silver but some of it was pure coated gold. Those who found the rings and necklace now wanted to know whether it was gold or not. Some of the children were confused that, should they trust their nannies, if it was gold or even with house mothers ? Will they get a chance to keep it for them if it was real gold or silver ornaments ?  Some of the children started to rub the pricy metal in their hands fast. They say, if it's gold you can't see the blue marks in your hand. if it was a fake gold then the blue marks can be seen in our palm.


Earier than this, I did not know the easy way to check the originality of gold or silver. Now  after many decades later even writing this makes me smile. Why did I wanted to know it, when I was not even ten years old. These are not the stuff for children but for adult’s pride and prestige or it could be beauty accessories for many of them.


Although, I heard all this but I do not remember how much coin was inside my pocket  and who all got a chance to keep those coins, rings or necklace. I remember Junkiri saying in the later years the house mother, Kedar Shrestha kept some of those pricy ornaments like necklace  and rings but she never returned to the children, who naively had gone to check the originality of it.  At this very moment my mind is racing what color would have been the ginni made ornaments ? Will it leave the blue color in hand or not ?


My give away clothes are gone now and me not being the ornament lover, I didn't have the rings of any kind to leave in the pockets.  Why there was coin in almost every pockets ? It may be the superstition to leave something inside the pockets when we give it out for other but I would like to keep that superstition. Truth be told I am not even superstitious person but when it's harmless like this one what's wrong following it ?

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Pass on the good deeds

Sunita Giri 5:29 AM |

There are some people in our life and we are so indebted to them, all we can do is say thank you.  saying this is so easy but there was time I waited for  the time to return him  the goodness he gave me in my life. I was not smart enough to know, kindness and good deeds should be passed on and we should not wait right time and way to say thank you to those people whose gratitude awash us.

It was the year 90, when Bernhard came forward to pick my college bills along with other cost that will make sure I have no problem going to college. he came in my life out of nowhere. Truth be told he had gone to Bal Mandir and expressed his desire to help a young student to send to college. I so happened to be in her mind and just like that I was picked. That sure made my only dream of that time; of going to college, a lot easier. This stroke of luck, made others from Bal mandir so jealous of me. Honestly speaking, that was so satisfying feelings I have felt, because you know I come from that background no one is envious of our life.

In the beginning, I thought he was picking my college bills all by himself. But, after two years he told me that he has been asking money, with his friends on his birthday instead of gift for himself; so that he could help more children to get better education after Bal Mandir. He helped me to finish my graduation and wanted to support my further study until masters degree but I was not interested in higher study. I thought, I am in Nepal and more educated you are more frustrated you become and I did not wanted to end up as a frustrated educated person.


During that four years of my college life, I was so grateful to Bernhard for what he did to me. Not surprisingly, I wanted to thank him or give him some gift that would please him. sorry except good marks on my report card as I was never a bright student. In my teen stupidity, I also used some money to buy gifts, a window craft by locals here. Sure, that money was also I have saved from the very money which he used to give me for my full study [ room rent, food cost and total study bill].  I still remember, bewilderment in his eyes and saying that I don't want any gift from you, all I want is your good health and do good in your study.


That was not normal for me. See, I grew up in Bal Mandir and no one gives you anything without something in return. But he did not want anything from me except my good health and me excelling in college. I was not a bright student to get good marks and still Bernhard never pressured me for good marks in my report cards. After seeing my marksheet which was not so good for a person who was studying on sponsorship budget; he once told to encourage me, marks could be decisive. That simple line stamped in my mind forever. Over the years, I came to know that I can't do anything for Bernhard. He do not need anything from me in return for all the good he did for me.

We became very close over the years. I used to tell him everything that used to happen in my life and I make sure he gets all my news from me before any other wants to become my spokesperson. We stayed in touch for another 20 years. We still meet whenever he comes to Nepal. Whenever we catch we have lots to talk and share with each other and we catch up from the point where we left last time. Sure, we forgot some boundaries of project v/s life. It took me long time to understand I was part of his big project and there is whole life apart from Bernhard in my life. His project grew with every passing years. Today, there are more than 76 children in his education project and more than 100 student have already been passed out from college until now.

Me not being a bright person, it took me long time to get it that we should not waste our time waiting to find the right opportunity to say thank you to the person who did good in our life especially when we can't do anything for them. Instead we should find our own ways to pass on the good deeds to others. This is the only way and the right way I can say him; thank you in real sense. So, now I know what I need to do. I do exactly what he did to me.

Just like him, I will ask money with others and then give it to those who needs it for better education. If he has done this for 200 then I will do this for 2000 children. Stupid me why didn't I get it earlier, I should have started long time back. But, I think Bernhard was of my age when he picked me up; therefore, I think I am not that late.

Bernhard is that rare man in my life, whom I love, respect, admire, like and loop up to. This is not something every man gets from me.

Bernhard is my that single perks of life for being raised in Bal Mandir that changed my whole life or at least the way I see life after knowing Bernhard.
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