Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Both clinics are running well in our absence and the therapists say their busy season days have been considerably brightened by visits from with previous volunteers. Andrew Salvietti returned to Nepal in October to get married and several of our therapists were lucky enough to go to his wedding at the Gorkana Resort near Kathmandu.
Andre Baptista (who has also done a number of volunteering stints for us), also stopped over for a surprise visit on his way to Thailand. Thanks too to Susannah Rickman, who spent time doing treatment exchanges with our therapists in October and generally kept an eye on things for us. At present, the therapists are learning new skills with two new reflexology volunteers; Patricia and Marita and we are looking forward to finding out how their skills have developed when we return.
Pictured are Chiran, Santosh and Sagar arriving at Andrew's wedding.
We returned to the UK in August for an extended break and have effectively ‘stepped back’ to encourage our more senior staff to take over the day to day running of the clinics with minimal support. ChiranJ is still doing a great job managing the Kathmandu branch and Govinda, who now has a supervisory position in Pokhara, is fast following in his footsteps.
We are still planning to take on new students and continue our training programme, but a break is important so we can focus on developing the clinic businesses and make sure local staff are capable of running them without our support. A couple of volunteers will still be going to do quality control and teach new tricks (by the end of this year, our therapists should have reflexology skills too) and we are hoping that we should be able to keep an eye on things from afar as we have done in previous years.
This year’s monsoon has brought a baby boom, with several of our therapists starting new families of their own. Shanti gave birth to a baby girl (Srikreeti), Govinda is the proud father of a baby boy (Pratik), Chiran and Laxmi have a new baby girl (Serendipity) and Hari‘s wife gave birth to a baby boy (Biplob) at the beginning of August.
We have teased all about their ‘off-season’ babies, which despite being unplanned, seem to be conveniently well timed for the quiet monsoon months. We are however happy to see that they are all growing as adults, making families and leading truly normal independent lives. Admittedly blind parenting is challenging and it will be a steep learning curve for them, but as Chiran points out, now they have the money to pay for extra help with childcare, so it should be easier for them than it has been for other blind parents in Nepal. Pictured are Govinda and his wife Rukmeeni with son Pratik and Chiran and Laxmi with their daughter Seren.
New custom-built massage couches arrive! We have finally found a good, locally sourced alternative to the couches we were bringing and shipping from the UK. They cost roughly the same, but are much sturdier and comfier and we hope will last longer than their portable predecessors.
This month we also invested in washing machines for both clinics! This has delighted our housekeepers, who were struggling to handwash the huge loads of towels and covers we get through in high season. Thanks to Nepal’s daily power cuts we won’t be able to use them all the time, but they should still significantly reduce the workload.
The SHN team had a fantastic day out at Riverside Springs, which is a 4 star hotel with a huge pool. Up until we arrived at the pool, the therapists were very sceptical. Most didn’t think they would enjoy swimming, but once in, they loved it so much they wouldn’t get out – even for lunch!
Find us on facebook
Sincere apologies for the lack of updates! Seeing Hands now has a facebook page and as a result, this blog has become a bit neglected. Facebook users can find our page here:
For all non-facebook followers, here are some updates on our activities over the past few months.