Extraordinary experience in Nepal for Paolo Craveri, Rosanna Balangero and Beatrice Craveri di Revello. They spent several days in the small community of 27 boys (19 women and 8 men, from 6 to 17 years) in ‘Dil Kumari Family Home’, the structure designed to accommodate children from difficult family situations. The structure was built in recent years by the Revello Cecy Onlus Association in Nepal, in the village of Nunthala. The very active association was born in memory of Cecilia Craveri, who suddenly died at the age of 20 in 2015.
The Nepalese family home?
All children are welcomed by Tika and Bimala, the first teacher trained and the second handyman help, who have been able to create a very calm atmosphere.
A day over there?
The alarm clock is at 6 in the morning and after breakfast, based on tea and some biscuits. Everyone, even the little ones, is dedicated to cleaning: there are those who wash, those who clean the rooms, those who sweep the yard and those who wash the bathrooms. We greatly appreciated everyone’s responsibility and autonomy, even the little ones, who voluntarily collaborate in any work that may be necessary.
And what do they do afterwards?
After these chores, it’s time for them to play, homework and study. They play with a little: a few stones and a small piece of land on which to draw the ‘week’ squares is enough. Or a tangle of rubber bands, made from an old inner tube, as big as a fist, turns into a game of skill by dribbling with your foot!
What do Nepalese Children Eat?
9.30 in the morning it is lunchtime, which inevitably consists of ‘dal bhat’: it is the typical Nepalese dish consisting of cooked rice, overcooked lentils, potatoes and vegetables. Four boys take turns serving as kitchen waiters.
What about the school they go to?
They go there about ten. From Casa Famiglia, they walk down a path and take the small road that leads to the large square. But first, all wore school uniforms, held with great care: every morning the shoes are brushed, because the sideband must be completely white, free of dust; the sweater and trousers are washed frequently. School hours are from 10.30 to 15.30, with two intervals. When returning home from school, the school uniform is immediately put away and ‘everyday clothes’ are put on.
Do the children teach?
Tika always leaves the goods ready: peel and slice potatoes, wash vegetables, clean up a corner of the kitchen, clean at the entrance to the house, etc. I am commitments that do not require much time, but develop in them the ability to cooperate, young and old.
What snack do they eat?
The snack consists of a cup of tea and some biscuits. Older children usually go down to the village, where the municipality has provided a small room where the young people can share the day’s last hours light. There are no other meeting places for teenagers in Nunthala. Meanwhile, in the square of the family home, there are exercises for traditional dance, at the same time as a thousand other games, as children they invent themselves.
18:00 everyone is called to the room on the second floor: a girl with an exam of the village, Hasta, every evening leads the after school, from simple help for real homework insight, a ‘plus’ than the local school.
How does their day end?
Around. 8pm dinner is served, once again ‘dal bhat’ (identical to the one already served in the morning), literally devoured by the boys, with numerous extras! We wondered how you can eat the exact same dish twice a day, seven days a week, with so much flavor and so much quantity! But the spaghetti offered as an alternative did not excite them … on the contrary, the main course of Italian cuisine has caused several long faces! Once a week, ‘dal bhat’ is served with a little meat added.
And the end of the day?
The evening goes between dances, works in the kitchen, games and a little more study. Around 22.00 everyone in bed, in the rooms on the first floor: two for women and one for men.
What problems do those children have with them?
Children and young people in the Dil Kumari family’s home have stories of suffering, hunger, abandonment and sometimes violence behind them. Some belong to the most distinct caste (the so-called ‘untouchables’), others come from very remote areas, yet others have never known their parents’ devotion!
What did this experience leave in you?
The week went by very fast and it looks like we have lived in another dimension and fallen in love with that reality! It was a beautiful and exciting experience, we really felt Cecilia’s spirit in those children … We thank all the donors who made this reality possible, and those who still want to support the initiatives of the Cecy Onlus Association (www.cecyonlus.org).