I spent my final two days in Nepal working with and getting to better know Rina, Bimla, and Nisha and their community, known as the Indian Village of Kathmandu.  I learned a great deal in those two days.

Maya, Her Children, and Her Uncle

On Monday, I made my second visit to the Indian Village, this time accompanied by Pastor Raju.  We sat in Rina’s house drinking tea and eating fresh bread cooked over a wood fire made inside the house.  I wanted Raju’s opinion about whether these three women are genuine and have a real commitment to improving the condition of their community.  We spent the better part of two hours sitting in Rina’s house talking to the ladies and questioning them about the situation in the Indian Village.

The first thing I wanted to know is whether Rina in fact did what she told me she was going to do and fed the children of her village rice pudding with some of the rice I had purchased for her on Saturday.  To my great satisfaction, she did.  She fed 50 children porridge made of rice and milk.  Her act of selfless generosity actually moved me to tears.  Mind you, she has four mouths to feed, but virtually no food in her little house.  She could easily have horded the rice I purchased for her, but she instead was selfless and demonstrated genuine concern for the children in her community, a very encouraging sign for me as a person wanting to help her and her community escape the grinding poverty that is their current reality each and every day.

We also spent time trying to learn more about the demographics of the Indian village.  We discovered that there are roughly 500 families living in the Indian Village divided onto various sections.  The people come from all parts of India.  There are at least 10 different languages spoken in the village.  The most common language spoken among the 500 families is Rajastani, but Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali, and others are also spoken there as well.  Because English is one of the official languages of the Indian government, some people in the Indian Village speak English.  However, those without education do not speak English.  Rina speaks a little English because she had a bit of education when she lived in India, but her older sister, Nisha, speaks none.  Of the three ladies we are working with, Bimla’s English is the best by far.  She had reached third grade when she migrated to Nepal, but her education then stopped.  Still, I would say her English is very good.

The ladies told me that there are 25 families living in their “section” of the Indian Village.  These families settled in proximity to one another because they share a common language (Rajustani) and there are some familial connections among them.  For example, Rina fled from her derelict husband in India to live with her sister, Nisha, in the Indian Village.  Maya (pictured above) came from India to live with her uncle.

Among the 25 families in their section of the village, there are 75 children.  All are hungry and only six of them attend school.  The families of the other 69 are too poor to afford school unforms, shoes, supplies, and school fees, all things you need to purchase in order to attend school in Nepal.  The unschooled children spend their days begging on the streets.  We met Nisha’s 18-year old daughter Bhitra.  Bhitra told us her dream is to go to America to attend university, but she has had no schooling whatsoever since she and her family came to Nepal when she was eight.  She said she knows she will have to go back to primary school if she ever hopes to apply for college in America.  Bhitra’s story is quite sad to me.  She is clearly a very intelligent young woman and wants to make a difference, but she has no hope of doing so as long as she lives in the desperation of the Indian Village.  Unless she manages to escape her poverty, she will spend the rest of her days begging on the streets of Kathmandu.

At the end of our time with the ladies on Monday, I asked how we could help them immediately.  They told me that the most pressing need was for warm blankets.  All 25 families in their section of the Indian Village needed thick blankets to keep warm against the cold Kathmandu nights.  I had noticed that Rina only had a few thin fleeces of the type that barely get you and I warm in our heated homes! They also told me that the families needed tarps to protect them from rain, especially with the monsoon season being only about eight weeks away.  During monsoon season, it rains heavily every day for 3-4 months.  Right now, most families use discarded carpets as makeshift roofs for their shacks.  The carpets are not waterproof and the people are often sleeping with water dripping on them through the carpets.

The next day, I went with the ladies to a huge market on the outskirts of Kathmandu where I purchased 50 extremely large and thick blankets (two per family) as well as 50 plastic tarps (again, two per family).  The ladies were so grateful, they invited me back to the community again for tea and chapati.  I declined the invitation because I prefer that the ladies, not I, be the face of the project as much as possible.  When I told them I do not want to be perceived as Santa Clause, they asked, “Who is Santa Clause?”


I closed out my time with Rina, Bimla, and Nisha by telling them that we are interested in doing development projects with them.  I told them to form a committee and discuss what projects will make a difference in the community’s development and ultimately help them escape from poverty.  They told me they would do that and that’s how we left it.  Rina and Bimla have been able to communicate with me via WhatsApp and I am confident that they are now engaged.

Without yet having received a proposal from the ladies, I know some of the things that are on their hearts as possible projects.  One certainly must be school uniforms, shoes, supplies, and fees for the 69 children in their section of the Indian Village who are unable to go to school.  Another is water filtration.  The community has access to public water at several taps scattered throughout the Indian Village, but the water is not clean.  Not even close.  They said people often get sick just by using it to wash their bodies.  Those who can afford it use bottled water, not only for drinking, but for bathing as well.  Bottled water is an expense they can barely afford.

As I mentioned in a recent Coffee Time video that I posted on GCA’s Facebook page, GCA is a development organization, not a charity per se.  However, there is often a fine line between charity and development.  For example, if children cannot attend school and people do not have clean water for drinking or even bathing, charity to address those problems may be a necessary prerequisite to development.  So then, if we provide school uniforms and water filtration for a community like the Indian Village, are we providing charity or development assistance?  I would argue that such projects are a first step in development.

Soon I will be sending an email that discusses our projects for 2024 and how much money we need to raise to do those projects.  We hope and pray that you will be able to help us.

If you enjoy these email updates, please feel free to share them.  Anything you can do to help us get the word out about our projects is much appreciated.



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