Goma (in the middle) is a real-life fairy godmother.
Most of these beautiful children lost their parents in the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. But Goma took them under her wing, gave them food, shelter, and most importantly, an education. And from how wise, intelligent and compassionate these children are, you know they’ve had an unbreakable rock to lean on.
Despite the hardships they’d been through, these cuties still had so much sparkle and curiosity in them. Sometimes, it amazes me how resilient children can be.
This is the place they call home in Pokhara — a modest 3-story house nestled in the scenic tourist town. And that’s pretty much how they get by. From curious visitors who’ve heard of their efforts online, or those passing through enroute to the Himalayas.
Everything felt like a work-in-progress, from repainting of classrooms, to re-paving of the colourful backyard. It wasn’t often these kids get a day out to just play. And the excitement in the air was palpable.
When the kids grew up, they often helped out in the home as teachers, administrators, and many learn handicraft work so they could raise awareness and supplement the home’s income by selling their bags, artwork and clothes in the nearby shops.
It was most heartening seeing how much they looked out for each other. They were like siblings not by blood but forged out of something more. There was a wonderful camaraderie especially with the older kids looking out for the younger ones.
And of course, there were some blood siblings too. My heart ached for the loss of their parents. But by the looks of it, they were enjoying their time at school with the rest of the children. And it was clear Goma had given them more than a new lease of life.
By about noon time, everyone piled into a rickety old school bus that Goma had rented for the day. Another volunteer and I had chipped in to take them on a day out to a trout farm. The original plan was to go further, but the mountain pass had been blocked that day, and so we had to improvise.
And so we arrived at the farm. The children were absolutely fascinated by the blue-tiled pools and fountains. It’s funny how people travel from all over the world to see the pristine peaks of the Himalayan mountain ranges, crystal clear lakes and gorgeous sunsets. And here the children were marvelling at the artificial blue of the treated water in a tiled fountain. It’s really true people are always fascinated by the things that elude them.
We ended off the little excursion with some trout curry for lunch which was absolutely delicious!
Of course I wish there was more we could do for them. But the truth is, unless we can think of a way to help the school generate a steady stream of revenue, they will always rely on passersby to sustain the children. Luckily for Goma, things have worked out so far. But the children are still always on my mind. And if there’s any chance you’re in Nepal, do drop by to visit! Better yet, if you think of a better way to help them in the long term, do reach out to me. I’d be happy to work with you.