Monday, September 23, 2013

Video clip of Letang Art trip in Nepal

Thank you so much Amelie for making a beautiful clip that captured the smiles and laughter of the children.

http://youtu.be/qjHzSJsm7wg

Smile and smile some more.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

Finding my way.

I had gone through most of my life looking for something, trying to find what it is that was missing. I knew there was something in my soul that was yearning, but I looked everywhere and in the end, I found it in myself. The one place I was the most scared to look, as I never believed that what was inside of me is what my soul needed, for me to love myself.  When I started WatersFromHeaven I had no idea exactly what it was that I wanted to do. We did renovations, library, science lab, school supplies, but during the time I was doing this on the side, I would just draw with the children. And somehow this activity became a part of my heart when I saw the absolute joy that something so simple could bring to a child. I realized that it does not take big works to bring happiness and make a change in the world. All it takes is giving of yourself freely, without any conditions. I never thought that I had anything to share that came from within as I did not feel that I was trained, had any experience, did not really like who I became or any of the things I believed I would need if I wanted to do something meaningful. But the one thing that I knew I had was to be a survivor and to not give up. As a child I had to do that and looking back now, I am thankful for all the experiences that made me into who I am today. We all look for our passion and so many times I looked at those that lived with passion and their dreams and I felt that it could never be me. But standing on the brink of leaving soon, not knowing exactly what the future holds or where it will lead, I know that I found my passion. My passion is loving who I am and loving what I do. Yes, fear is there, because it is something that is a part of us as humans. But I am learning how to deal with it in a way that is not making my body react in a way that makes me ill. I am not perfect, but I know that each of us are special and we can all make a change starting with ourselves. And yes I do want happiness and I want to share that joy with those of you that walk this road with me, pass by, or if we even just share a smile. I am still stunned at the amount of support this project has received, as WatersFromHeaven is not run by a big team of people, but by strangers and friends that have been there through this all. As this is not just my journey, but I believe, we each have our own journey and somehow it all comes together in the end. Nothing happens by accident, nothing happens without reason, as everything has meaning even in the worst possible situations. I wanted to thank so so many of you that have believed in what this project stands for and the reason for us doing this. You all have a part of the spirit of what is possible in the world. Don’t give up on your dreams! 

Monday, August 26, 2013

In a nutshell....our mission

WatersFromHeaven (WFH), a small grassroots organization, founded in Houston three years ago that works with small schools in rural communities to promote art in the remote areas of Nepal. The majority of schools in the villages do not have the necessary funds and access to trained teachers that are the prime barriers for allowing art to be in the school curriculum. However, WFH strongly believes that art is the path to one’s creative mind and heart. Our mission with the free art classes is to bring color into the classrooms and hand children the opportunity to express their creativity through simple and easy art activities. In addition, the workshops also assist teachers to improve their teaching methods and learn using basic and recyclable materials in the classrooms, making art accessible and affordable for everybody.

The project is called “Where there is color there is Hope,” because we believe that art can uplift your spirits and transform any moment into a colorful experience. We have already completed three successful trips, and will be soon leaving on an eight- month trip in September 2013. We will be drawing, painting, creating, and smiling and so on in Letang, which lies in the Morang district of Nepal. We are always trying to come up with new ideas with the workshops we do. Every year different participating artists have been able to bring the variety in WFH’s works. In Letang, free art and training workshops for teachers in the classrooms and nurseries will be setup. We have recruited 18 teachers and artists from all over the world to join on this project. Artists are not charged any fees for joining and all the expenses are shared. We been collecting art materials for the project and travelers have dropped off supplies and we will be taking the rest with us. Please, do visit us at our Facebook page for updates www.facebook.com/WatersFromHeaven.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Asking the question.

The time is getting closer for me to leave on the trip, and I can feel the days ticking by one after the other. Sometimes it feels as if the brakes are off and I realize that I have set myself on the path that is open at this point and the future is completely unknown. As many of you know, I have worked for two years on this project  and to spread the word. It has been a difficult road, but I know and realize that it is beginning to happen and soon the dream won’t be just a dream for the children anymore.

The “Where the is Color there is Hope Project” is the air that I breathe and I make sure every day, no matter how long my hours are at work that I answer every email, put up pictures and spread the word, and get up sometimes at 4 am other days at 5 am, so that I do can all the work I need to for this project before starting my regular job. It gives me the biggest joy, the hardest frustration and sometimes tears of despair, but there is nothing I would do differently. But there is one thing I have dreaded, and that is is to ask for financial donations. As you all do know I have never over the years raised funds to pay for my own expenses for the trips. It has all been self-funded, and I have worked many different jobs to get the money together. But this year I need to do what I dread most. And ask for your donations. I will be leaving for 8 months and the cost of the workshops for 8 months, art supplies, living expenses and the flight ticket is too much for me to save in such a short period. The time to leave is getting closer and I realize I need to ask for your help. The reason for planning this trip for such a long time, is that doing the short trips to do the art projects only has a small impact and the teachers and children are so much wanting to learn more. And the only way to do that is to spend longer time at the schools and begin to set up teacher training workshops so that we can reach more teachers and schools.

The cost of my flight ticket is $1700 and I had won $500 from Travel2Change towards my ticket. But that still leaves me to save $1200, visa fees are $40 per month and living expenses is minimum $300 a month. This is the costs without the art supplies and basic things like paper we need, and the supplies we would need to have for the workshops. I am doing everything from my side to save the money, but it is a big mountain to climb, but I have never backed down from the impossible. As you know by know is that the art and teacher training workshops are provided for free to the schools and the communities in the rural areas of Nepal. For these 8 months any teacher or artist joining me is paying for their own expenses and I do not charge them any fees for setting this up.

I know everybody gets so many requests each day asking for donations from all over, but I hope that my character, my work and my heart has shown you what I believe. If you could make a small donation, I would be so grateful and it would mean so much. My paypal as well as my email address is watersfromheaven@gmail.com and I can always send you my home address if needed. Thank you for all your love and support over the years as it has given me the will to continue. Thank you again!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Anything is possible!

For those that have followed my journey over the last 3 years and have been there to support me through the ups and downs, I wanted to thank you. On a positive note, I am still here and still believing in what can be possible. Some days are harder than others, some days are amazing. But that is the journey of life and we cannot give-up on the days we feel that it all is falling apart. Believe me I stood at that cross roads many many times these last 3 years, but there is this little voice that comes from the deepest part of my soul that keeps pushing me and does not allow me to quite.

I am now at the point of organizing 8 months of free art workshops,and when I look at the magnitude of work ahead of me I feel that maybe I am biting off more than I can chew for one person. But I know we can do it, it might not go perfectly as planned, there may be days that somebody might say this is not working out today, but if we allow ourselves to be flexible and see it as a learning experience then I cannot feel that I might fail. Honestly I have no idea how it will all work out and how it will all come together, but I believe that the universe has sent some amazing people to work on this project, people with heart and spirit, that is willing to take a trip to Nepal on the believe of what we will be doing is important. And for me that knowledge is so over whelming as WatersFromHeaven is not a big organization, is not something that runs on sponsors or big donations. My believe has been to build something that does not exploit volunteers, is not concerned about having our names put on buildings for recognition, but a dream that is built on faith.

I have not yet given up on the idea of an art center.Somewhere from where we can plan workshops, have a base to live and give free training workshops for teachers. Each time I do believe it is getting closer, and when the time is right it will happen. Knowing I have no funds to do this, might be a crazy idea, but I know we will receive this space somehow someday.

Some of you might know that I have been having the issue with getting a Nepali visa if I wanted to start the center, which has been my concern,as I do not have the thousands of dollars it would cost for me to go through this process of getting the visa. I had recently become an American citizen,and am very proud to say that. But the other day I was looking into applying for a tourist visa to India as we will be close to the border and I thought I might go over to Darjeeling for a trip. So then I read that American citizens can apply for 10 year visas to India. It was as if all the concern of how will I do this disappeared. So the good news is that I am thinking of doing the artcenter on the Indian side as I could live and do the projects in India and travel to Nepal for 5 months a year to work on the projects there. It might not seem so important a revelation to everybody, but for me it took away all the stress about how will I be doing this, as I cannot fly up and down from the USA and I need a space to live from where we can build something permanent.

Sometimes in life the answers to our concerns are not always what we were planning or thought it would be, but the universe will give you the answers when you open yourself to all the possibilities. I have learnt to be flexible during this process and allow myself to flow and not be set in myideas. And in this way we can work in 2 countries and reach so many more children and schools. I will set out again on this trip and look to find a space/place from where we can start this dream. And who knows what might happen. All I can say with all my heart is that I know art needs to be brought to the rural children in a way that it is accessible, affordable, and practical. Children need to be creative and they need that opportunity. CHILDREN NEED ART.

Picture credit to Hong CK. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Smiles that I will always remember

video
Here is a short clip that I had made of the people that assisted in helping make the art trip to Dang Nepal a success. I am eternally grateful for your smiles and hard work.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Art and Craft items needed for free art workshops in Nepal.

I was wondering if anybody travelling to Nepal had a small space in their back packs to take art supplies to Nepal. I am trying to collect enough supplies for the 9 months we will be there giving free art workshops, but am looking for any items you have in your drawers that is not being used anymore (it does not have to be new), that we can use for crafts and arts in the classroom. I have a contact in Kathmandu that will collect the supplies.
I have started making a list of items that you might have at home and what we could use in the classroom. Cookie cutters, glue gun, one hole punch, ink bottles, ink pads, measuring tape,geometry set, childrens scissors, big scissors, staples, staplers, thumbtacks, buttons, beads, colored chalk, colored construction paper, cotton balls, decorative color items to glue, glitter, white paper, paper plates, ribbon, yarn, strips of fabric, wooden clothing pegs, food coloring, corn starch, tracing paper, liquid glue, superglue, wiggly eyes, sequins, stickers, tape, cut out face masks, craft magazine ideas/prints we can use (am making folders with prints and magazine page tear outs), any craft activities or craft books, pom poms, markers, paint brushes, feathers, origami paper or books, decoupage glue, craft foam, letter stickers, pipe cleaners, tissue paper, ice cream sticks, wooden shapes we can paint, finger paints, soap bubble mix and bubble blow sticks, crayons, colored cellophane, craft sets, glitter glue and pens, felt, felt shapes, fabric paint, stencils, pencils, childrens clay. 
Also the school asked for any type of simple board games, things like snakes and ladders, or puzzles,anything they can use for a game room. Also outside games for the children like balls, bats jumping ropes, etc.

If anybody could help it will be so much appreciated as this cannot be possible without your assistance. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Ebooks needed for free teacher training and craft workshops!

The big job for me has started with collecting craft and training downloads for the schools and children. If anybody is willing to help or has access to free EBooks, or craft and training books that they could download or email me. As we will be there for about 7-8 months, we will be needing lots of craft ideas and training materials for the schools. I cannot really take many books with me and have to download and take it on flash drives. There is very little internet available because of electricity/load sharing, so we will have to have most of our information with us. Will really appreciate any assistance :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Visions and dreams

I have been asked this question so many times, but I realize for those of you that have been there no explanation is needed and for others it just seems like a crazy plan. Why would I leave my home, my family, my job, my security, the USA. Why would I place my dream ahead of what I have back home? Sometimes in life, you just know what it is you need to do and there is no real reason, just a knowledge. Will it be easy, absolutely not! Will I have security, an income, and all the things that is seen as important. No I will not. I was asked, “How will you support yourself?” The only answer I have is “With faith, believing in what I do.”

I will be leaving September to go back to Nepal to start working on the “Where there is color there is Hope project.” My dream has been for a long time to start a small art enter in the rural areas. From where we can train teachers, do art workshops and bring creativity into the schools. The biggest problem that I realized on my last trip was that nursery children sat in a room all day without any type of activities. Firstly because they have no supplies and secondly because teachers are not trained in the majority of cases. The teachers do not have access to information on activities for child development. My believe is that we can assist teachers in schools in providing these free workshops and show them ways to bring art into the classroom without having to spend any money.
I am trying to recruit teachers and artists to join me from October month so that we can start working on these programs and begin setting up something that would be more permanent. You can join for any amount of time, but periods for longer than one month will be discussed based on your training and experience. There is a lot of expenses to run these workshops for a long period of time, but I know in the end it will all work out, even if now it seems incredibly overwhelming if I try to take it all in at once. So my vision is just taking small steps at the moment, which the first is to try and recruit teachers and artists and with the help of FCL find a suitable space to live in Letang. If anybody would like to join me, as you know I am not charging any fees for you to join, but we have to cover costs like housing, food, art and workshop supplies, program expenses, water, lights, internet and basic things like that. I wish I could do it completely free, but unfortunately, I am not in that position. But the expenses is not too high and I am sure with a combined fundraising effort we will be able to cover these costs. I am budgeting around $300 - $350 should cover all of this per month per person.

Letang is 13 hours from Kathmandu by bus and three hours from the Indian border, very close if anybody wanted to travel to India. Visa fees are $40 per month, but you can also get a 2-week visa.

 I am planning to arrange one workshop per day, which is about 2 hours at local schools and nurseries. For those of you that want to do specific workshops, for example, photography we can work out a program schedule with the community and schools as it is more specialized. If you want to commit to this program, please give me an idea of possible dates and what type of workshops you want to give. School is From Sunday to Friday (half day). Saturday is rest day. This program is extremely important to me and to the children. I am planning that this would be the beginning of something more permanent in the community from where many schools could be reached. I am open to your ideas and recommendations as I am only learning still at this point. I am not trained in anything specific, but I have a dream and a vision for the children and it cannot be possible without your help.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

"Where there is color there is hope" Programs

WatersFromHeaven is a small Non-profit organization based in the USA. My dream has been to bring art into the rural schools of Nepal through free workshops using local materials and recyclable items. The majority of schools in the rural areas do not offer any art classes or creative activities for the children, because of the lack of funds, equipment and the absence of teacher training. Unfortunately, many children never get the opportunity to develop their creativity, which is very important in the development of a young child. The classrooms and preschool rooms are bare with nothing but mostly a bamboo mat. Many of the children we have worked with have never even held a crayon or colored in a picture.



I have called the project “Where there is color there is Hope,” because I believe that art can uplift your spirits and transform any moment into a colorful experience. I have just returned from a two-month trip where I worked with a group of volunteer artists and teachers in two rural districts of Nepal. The feedback and the response from the community was extremely positive and I was surprised at how excited schools and teachers were to get involved. I will be returning in a couple of months to continue this project and hope that I would be able to focus more on teacher training so that more schools can be reached. I am in the process of recruiting teachers and artists for the upcoming projects later in the year. Please do email me at watersfromheaven@gmail.com or visit me on Facebook  www.facebook.com/WatersFromHeaven and look at all the picture updates from the last trip. My dream has been to set up a small art center from where we could set up programs for the rural community and do the teacher training. It all is a process, but I believe that anything is possible and that we should never give up no matter how impossible it may look to others.


Teachers and artists volunteers needed.

Teacher and artist Needed. If there are any artist or teachers that will be travelling to Nepal from September please do email me as we will be starting the teacher training and free art workshops from that time. Am planning on getting a space for us from where we can work and visit schools in the local community. In this way we can focus on making a more lasting impact and be available to assist teachers in the schools with training.



Sunday, February 3, 2013

What happened on the road?

So much happened during this 2 month road trip that it is difficult for me to put it all into words. I am still going through the process of digesting it all and making sense of all the emotions that I have experienced, the good and the difficult parts. It is a process when you experience so much and how can you wrap it up in a few paragraphs. But I believe that the pictures will tell the story and give you a small glimpse of the magic we experienced with the children. Unfortunately I cannot post all the pictures on here, but if you have Facebook please do go to my page as I have some albums on there. I wanted to thank each and every person who helped in making this happen and all the great friends I made along the way. Please do read a friends blog post on the trip to Dang as Kelly captured it so well. http://thesingingcyclist.com/post/38617824144/where-there-is-colour-there-is-hope


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Is your dream still just a dream?

All dreams start out with an idea. Whether it stays an idea or becomes a reality is in our hands and we can decide if we want to dream about dreaming or do and make it happen. When I started these projects 2 years ago, it had been a dream for quite some time. But once I made that decision to take the first step, my dream was taken out of its hiding place.

Once I realized and acknowledged in my heart what I felt I needed to do, all the questions, concerns and fears would crop up. I was thinking how I could even think of promoting art in the rural schools. Firstly, I had no experience, I did not even consider myself arty, nor do I have any type of training and I have no funding in any way. But as I worked through these questions I realized that in the bigger scheme of things I will be provided by the universe all that is needed. We do not have to be the most talented; the most connected or even have the money, as when you follow your calling things will fall into place. When your intentions are for the good of others, the universe will provide. Maybe not in the ways we wanted, but it always has a better plan.

Crazy as it seems, I had thought maybe we would only receive a few childrens art pieces to take with to the children of Nepal. How overwhelming to think that with the help of amazing people we have over 1500 pieces that will travel with us to the rural areas. These art pieces have been donated from children from all around the world. They are sharing their love and colors with children in the rural areas that have no other connection to children in other parts of the world. 

When you do not have any funds you have to stretch your imagination and find ways that you can make it happen. Do not give up so easily! After losing 3 competitions to win funds I realized that not giving up hope and continuing on this road was the gift I received. When you change a negative into a positive it all becomes part of the journey. It took me sometime, but I can now look back at it without feeling that I had lost. And feel the winner that we are.
About 2 months ago I had very little art supplies and had been thinking how on earth will we be able to have enough supplies to work with hundreds of children over the 2 months  Somehow people travelling to Nepal heard my request and they have brought boxes of supplies for us to use. I had people offering their space in their bags for me to send supplies with too. I have been stunned at how it all is working out.   
My biggest dream still is to open a free art center in rural Nepal where we can do teacher training, free workshops for schools and children, and bring art into areas where it can be used to create an income for communities. At this point, it still seems very over the top, but anything and everything is possible. Part of this trip will be used to do research and to find a place where this could be set up on a permanent basis. I have to shake my head sometimes as I really have no idea on how to do this, but somehow things happen if you allow yourself to be open to where the roads lead. It might not end up like the idea I had in my head, but that does not mean it is failure.

So we are setting out in a weeks time on this crazy adventure to follow our hearts and our dreams, not only for ourselves but for more importantly for the children of Nepal. My thanks to each and every one that has contributed in some way to make this happen.
Go out there, be creative and think of ways to make your dream happen.         

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Share color and art around the world.

I was wondering if anybody would like to participate.I am collecting art from children around to world to give as gifts to the children in rural Nepal. As we dont have money to purchase gifts, giving from the heart from others is a much better gift. If you could ask any children if they would like to do some art and send it to me so that I can give it to the children in Nepal. I will take pictures of the children I give the art to so that each child can see who received theirs and put it online, kinda like a wall of art blog. The children never have any contact with children from other countries. Help us spread some love and color between children.
Please join us on our Facebook page. Hope to see you there!  https:/www.facebook.com/WatersFromHeaven 





Sunday, August 12, 2012

Can you say today, ”I inspire me.”

What does the word inspiration mean to you? Over the last couple of weeks I heard this word so many times, that I had to come to the point of asking myself what is inspiration to me. During the course of the competition these last few months I had to deal with my understanding of inspiration..
Inspiration is not found outside of ourselves, it is NOT measured by how many people say “she/he is so inspirational.” Inspiration is what we find in ourselves and the beauty of life around us, when you can wake up in the morning and say, “Today I am going to inspire myself, I find myself inspirational.” Let us stop measuring ourselves and feeling that we fall short. That we don’t have the experience, expertise, education, money or opportunities to follow our dream. That our dream is NOT just a dream. We seem to find all these things that we feel we lack and then we just accept that maybe it is not possible, or fall into that place of doubt.

Let us look inward and realize that each and every one of us in this world is an inspiration. If you are a mother, a student, a child, we all overcome so much each and every day. Looking at the color of a flower is inspirational, feeling the rain is the purest form of inspiration. I am not perfect, never will I ever be, but I am willing to learn each day and sometimes I learn a lesson more than once. Let us find the power within ourselves and stop feeling that we do not measure up to others. Be your own inspiration! Thank you to everybody for being a part of my journey, and for life for taking me on this journey. Now let’s make some art!

 There was a seagull who flew with the seagull flock, like good seagulls do. One day he got separated – he wondered why none of them liked him. He found the flock once again, and joined them once again … but one day he found himself falling behind at the end of the flock – he wondered why he wasn’t as good as them.
Then a moment came … he went out on his own to make his life an adventure rather than nothing …. and soon thereafter, he found himself leading a large flock of seagulls in flight – he knew the truth - ‘we are all marvelously made and destined to win at whatever we set our minds to’.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

New Facebook page

I just wanted to let everybody know that we started a new Facebook page. Please Like the page and stay updated on all the news for the next coming months.

 https://www.facebook.com/WatersFromHeaven

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Collecting art items and childrens books for art program


I had thought I would start a list, and I will probably add as the year goes on. Many of you have been asking me what you could bring when you come to Nepal. As you know we are collecting children’s books for the new reading room at the school. If you have any Nepali or English children's books it will be so much appreciated. I would love to add more books so that the children have a bigger variety to choose from.

I am also starting the collection for art supplies for this year. If you have any of these items stuck away in your drawers, it does not have to be new we would love to have them. We have a drop off point in Thamel, Kathmandu or I can provide you my mailing address if you are living in the USA. If anybody has a small space in their back packs to bring any of these items to add it would be so much appreciated. My goal is to supply all the children we work with, with free supplies as this is unaffordable for them.

I am looking for color paper, rope string, elastic string, cotton balls, liquid glue, superglue, wiggly eyes. staples, staplers, sequins, stickers, tape, cut out face masks, craft magazine ideas/prints we can use (am making folders with prints and magazine page tear outs),hole punchers, any craft activities or craft books, small pom poms, markers, paint brushes, anything colorful that we can glue, cut out shapes, feathers, Lego blocks, origami paper or books, decoupage glue, craft foam, ink pad, ink, letter stickers, buttons, pipe cleaners, sewing elastic, tissue paper, yarn, beads, lolly or ice cream sticks, wooden shapes we can paint, finger paints, soap bubble mix and bubble blow sticks, crayons, ribbon, colored cellophane, craft sets, wooden shapes to paint, paint brushes, cut out masks, glitter, glitter glue and pens, felt, felt shapes, fabric paint, stencils, paper plates, pencils, stencils to paint borders or pictures on the classroom walls.
Also the school asked for any type of simple board games, things like snakes and ladders, or puzzles,anything they can use for a game room. Also outside games for the children like balls, bats jumping ropes, etc.

I am so thankful to all that contributed last year with supply donations as we were able to work with so many children, because of your generosity. Thank you again so very much, and I hope we can meet in the future. Please email me at watersfromheaven@gmail.com
         Thank you to CICA for a huge art supply donation on our December trip. Much appreciated.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Looking at possibilities

As most of you know we will be visiting Letang and Tulsipur during December and January to do free art workshops with children and free training workshops for teachers. I would love to show teachers how they could use recyclable materials to create art in the classrooms. There are still only a few spaces left if anybody wanted to join me. The information on the trip and dates are in the post below.


This is still just a question in my mind and I am only putting out feelers into the world to see what comes back to me and if this could happen. As you all know my biggest dream is still to open the art center down south and I know when the time is right it will happen. But in the meantime I am thinking of how to get it started in a small way, as most of this is still a learning experience for me. I am thinking (just thinking) if I should extend my trip by another month and stay till the end of February. The reason why it is still just a thought is, I would have to figure out the finances firstly to take care of my responsibilities here at home. But I strongly believe in this project and what we can accomplish in the long run. Art is not just an action, it is an expression of who we are and each child needs to be able to have that experience, so that they can dream and hope. As part of this question I have is that I am not sure if it will be possible to find a space to live for close to one month. I would like to stay in a central location where we could go and work at different schools in the area and have a space where we can do workshops for teachers. If there is a district that has the need and is interested in working with me on this plan please write me at watersfromheaven@gmail.com. I am thinking maybe Tulsipur might be a good location to work from, but I am not sure how the other schools in the area feel about it. And I am very much open to where the road leads us. Also I would have to see if any volunteers would be interested in joining and staying with me during this time. I am just putting out these questions as I am not sure if it is possible, but you cannot receive an answer if you do not ask. So here goes......  

Monday, July 2, 2012

"Where there is color there is hope" road trip: Anybody want to join?

I have set up two trips thus far to visit two schools in the rural areas of Nepal. If anybody is interested in joining me on either of these journeys email me at watesfromheaven@gmail.com
  
Trip 1: Dates 13-22 December 2012 to Tulsipur

Tulsipur is a town and V.D.C. in Dang Deokhuri District in the Rapti Zone of south-western Nepal. We will be leaving on the bus on my birthday and I cannot wish for a more exciting birthday present. The bus ride is 12 hours and we will probably leave around 6:00 am in the morning. The weather is great that time of year down south, cool days. We will be visiting Dang and the town of Tulsipur. This is a small school and they have grade 1-5 with a total number of 250 students. I have arranged accommodation with a friend’s family that has offered to host us all. The school is 20 minutes walk from where we will be staying. Everybody should arrive no later than December 10th in Kathmandu for us to arrange supplies and work on programs. We will have the amazing opportunity to work in the Dalit community. Poverty, lack of other means of livelihood and education are still issues in the community. They mostly work as black/goldsmith, tailors, shoemakers and street cleaners.

Each person will be responsible for working out daily projects for classes. We will travel 2 days in total, work for 6 and have 2 days rest. We will be back in time for celebrating the festive season in Kathmandu.



Trip 2:  January 18-27 2013 to Letang

This school is in Letang in the Morang District in the Kosi Zone of south-eastern Nepal. Letang is semi surrounded by hills on north and in the west there is a famous river Chisang. And on the south dense forest and in the east river Morangi. The bus ride is approximately 12-13 hours long and we will leave around 6 AM from Kathmandu. You would need to arrive in Kathmandu no later than January 15 for us to make all the arrangements. There are 99 children in the school from Grade 1-5 and also between 15-20 children that range between 2.5 - 4 years old. We can do fun things with the younger ones like doing fingerpaints (showing teachers how to make fingerpaints) and maybe blow soap bubbles. The temperature during that time of the year in that area is about 18-25 degrees. 





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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Moving forward is the way to go!

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.”  Robert Fulghum

The plans for the trip are coming along, so win or lose it will go forward. I have some amazing girls joining me and very much looking forward to work down in Dang and Letang. I will be in Kathmandu as from the beginning of December till the end of January. One of the things I need to do on this trip is to start looking for a place where we would be able to start the art center. I am still very much at the “How is this going to be possible, but we can do it faze.” I have no idea how it will work out. But I will be looking to find a space in the rural areas where I could stay for an extended period of time with volunteers. From there we can work in the area to do free art training workshops for the teachers and visit nearby the schools to work with the children. Mountains can be moved and this too can happen! I am not sure where we would open the center, but I know the right place will be found.

I was wondering if anybody reading this might be able to help me with resource materials. I have been collecting art and craft books, magazine cut outs and anything relating to children’s arts and craft information. I am planning that once we open the center that it will be a resource place where teachers can come and look for ideas and it can be used in the workshops. I have been printing, but it works out pretty expensive for me. If anybody has any of these types of books they would like to donate or maybe start a folder with printout or magazine cut outs I would be so appreciative. I have a drop off point in Kathmandu or if you could send it to me if you are in the USA. I know it sounds crazy that I don’t have a place and am already starting to get the material for it, but I believe and through everything that I have been through I know that once you have a vision and start working on it, the rest will fall into place. Even though I have no training, experience, money plus all the other things you can mention that I do not have and would count against me according the world out there, I know that it can be done. Somehow we will be able to set up the center and find a way to afford to move there permanently in the future, but until that day comes I will continue doing what I have been doing, working at it step by step, learning and growing each day.

I hope too that you will follow your dream and heart and not listen to what others say cannot be done. Each one has the power inside of us to overcome all the odds, you only need to believe. And if it works out differently than you planned, just adapt and don’t give up. It is much easier for others to sit on the sidelines and comment than to put themselves out there, so do not be discouraged. I know how difficult it is to block out those voices. Never feel afraid of failing, because how can it be a failure if you gave it your best shot.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Imagination is more important than knowledge?

Albert Einstein was an incredibly wise man and one of the things he said was “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

This art program is focused on bringing imagination into the rural schools of Nepal where children do not have this experience. I believe that color gives hope and it allows children to dream and believe. Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless. Can you imagine a world where you never had a crayon or your children never experienced the joy of color? People always say they are only one person and they cannot do much. But this is such a simple idea and thought, but yet it can make such a big impact on the children. On this trip I would like to spend more individual time with children working on smaller projects. I also want to give workshops to the teachers in these remote areas and show them how they could use local and recyclable materials to bring art into the schools. At some schools children did not even know how to hold a crayon to color; it was such a foreign concept to them. When I would tell some children to draw a specific picture they had no idea of where to start, they had such fear of trying. But they were so eager to copy what you drew and soon enough they started doing it themselves. All it takes is for us to give them the positive reinforcement that you cannot do it wrong as each picture is your own imagination.
Each and every one of us can make a difference in the world. I too am just one person, hold multiple part time jobs and most of the time never know how I am going to get the money together for my flights back to Nepal or how to raise the funds for the projects. But the world is an amazing place with beautiful people and big hearts. Somehow it has always worked out and I feel truly blessed to be a part of the journey.
Have faith in that which you believe and others will see it too. I breathe this project every day of my life and I know that step by step we can slowly set up a program that will be effective and make a difference. Have to smile at myself as I am learning as I go along as I have no training and have never done anything like this before. When I started two years ago I had no idea of exactly what it was I was going to do, or how I was going to do it. The building renovations were a hair pulling experience and I know for sure not something I want to focus on again.

All I know for sure is, follow your dreams, but be prepared to sacrifice as it is not an easy road. Tears, disappointment, heartbreak and lots of frustration can be a part of that journey, but once you move through that it is so worthwhile. Don’t get stuck in fear and don’t ever lose your imagination and ability to dream, as without that who are we?

Monday, March 12, 2012

What is your dream?

I was wondering, how many of you had as a child written down what you wanted to be one day when you grow up. Put the written paper away and looked at it again one day when you were grown up to see what you wished for yourself. When I look back, I never had any vision of my future, of what I wanted to do when I grow up. I had no plan of what I wanted to be, move out and have a job. I was told by my father, woman marry and work at home. You have no reason to study. So I think my dreams ended there, or at least I allowed it to end there. But now my vision has changed, and my dream is for children to not believe those limitations. That they can write that dream down on a piece of paper, and make it real. Put it away and look at it every day.
Albert Einstein, said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”  
A big reason for me starting to write the blog was to put my dreams out there, not to be afraid to make it known, and not be scared if I am told it is not possible. It took me a lifetime to find who I am, to not limit myself to what I thought was true and hopefully give that gift to the children of Nepal.
For myself I have felt that once I speak the words I need to act on it, as I have always valued myself as somebody that lives by what she speaks. Before I started this project it took me a couple of years before I really vocalized it to anybody. As I knew, once I did, I needed to act on it. But putting myself out there for everybody to see has made me more committed. Don’t be silence about what you want for yourself as not speaking it, makes it only an idea and not a reality. Putting it into words makes it real, no matter how farfetched it may seem to others. I have been asked during my last trip what my vision was, what I wanted to do in the future with this project. It took me some time to get the idea into words, and when I spoke it, I knew that it was not just an idea anymore.

We would love have a place in Nepal where we can provide free art classes to children that cannot afford it any other way. I would call it a school, nothing big, just one or two rooms as I don’t want to create a big place where it becomes too much to manage. Provide these children with free materials and lessons on how to use different techniques, etc. Maybe even be able to provide scholarships for children to study further in that field. For rural children to have holiday programs for maybe one or two weeks. This is a long term goal, for now we are starting with art and craft classes at rural and government schools. I am hoping on this trip to be able to maybe start a few weekend workshops for children who are interested in art. So here I am putting it in writing, and in a couple of years I can come back to this post and see where I am.

Always remember though, that if it works out differently than you planned, don’t be discouraged as all plans are like liquid, you need to go with it. As you never know where it may take you. My idea might be completely different in a few years time or even by tomorrow (who knows), is that failure “No”, it is just making better plans or changing what I would like to do. And everything in life is a choice as each choice can change your path. It is for us to look at that dream each day and say, “How can I get there, what are the steps I need to take?” It may take years, but as they say, “When you are faced with two roads, and don’t know which one to take, take the difficult one. “

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Do we listen or walk on?

Since arriving back from Kathmandu, I have been trying to lift my spirits and to be here in the moment and not to be missing all the children, cold showers, runny noses and painted pictures. Had some time this morning between work to go and take walk in the park. For some reason I decided that I would leave my IPod at home and thought it would be better walking without ear buds so I could clear my head.

I was thinking and talking wondering why I was feeling so without any energy or focus and how I could be back to my normal self again. I missed who I was and did not enjoy feeling the way I have been since I have returned. I have been thinking a lot of what it is I need to do and all the how’s, what and where’s for getting all these projects moving. As I was thinking this I heard a rustle in the leaves next to me and I stopped to see if there was a dog, rabbit or some kind of animal that was going to jump out into the path way. As I was standing there waiting, all of a sudden this huge big tree just came crashing down in front of me. There were splinters flying and it made such a loud thud as it fell. It looked as if it was just pushed over, as it uprooted itself from the ground. If I did not hear that noise or decided to keep moving, that tree would have crushed me for sure.
I was standing there for a few seconds and at that moment I saw it all so clearly. How thankful I was to know I am protected, so grateful for this amazingly beautiful day and realized that I was happy to be in that moment. To have been stopped so that I could listen, and to avoid this crashing tree. Life shows us these moments and in an instant I knew how precious our lives are, that we need to listen and be aware of what is around us. That there is no need for me to struggle with all these confusions in my mind and that it will be taken care of. Just stand still, listen and trust what you feel and know. Trying to figure everything out in our life’s takes up so much of our energy that we don’t stop to listen. It was a huge wake up call, in more ways than one. I have to tell myself these things every day, as trust is still something I have to work on every day. And sometimes the universe has to make such a big statement, to wake me up. Don’t be the one that does not hear its message and have it come crashing down on you. Let us try each day to be the best person we can be, to live our lives so that each day matters, to be aware and take notice of what is around us, and look at the world as we are meant to.
Dreams are like stars...you may never touch them, but if you follow them they will lead you to your destiny.

Friday, February 10, 2012

English teachers needed in Kathmandu: No fees charged

School is back in session for the new term! I wanted to thank all the volunteers that have worked at Bhakta Vidyashram this last year. Your presence, love and dedication made a huge impact and difference. I wanted to give some information to any volunteers that were thinking of helping out at the school.
After a discussion with the school, it was asked that volunteers stay a minimum of at least 2 weeks. We found that it took a few days for the children to get to know the teacher and also for the volunteer to find their feet at the school. Unfortunately we cannot provide any free lodging, but I have an agreement with a guest house close by for Rs 450 per night. This price would be subject to change depending on rising costs in Nepal.
Room at guest house.
Bhakta Vidyashram is within walking distance of Thamel, maybe 10 minutes. School runs from Sunday to Thursday 10 AM - 4 PM and till 12 PM on Fridays. Volunteers can choose the hours they would be available.     
We have recently opened a reading room at the school, and we are hoping volunteers could encourage reading and maybe have story times etc at the school. If anybody has any children’s books they would love to donate, it will be so much appreciated.

The dates for school are as follows: Mar 25 – April 03 Annual examination. New school term will begin April 15. I will be receiving the new term dates when school reopens in April as it is the beginning of their school year then. But if you are needing dates before that I can provide last years dates as a guideline.
We are working on plans to do another Art on the Road trip later in the year. Please write me and I could add you to the mailing list if you were interested in joining. My email is watersfromheaven@gmail.com. Please join us on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/WatersFromHeaven

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"Where there is color there is hope."

Somebody said the other day that “Faith is the absence of sense.” And I am not meaning religion now, I mean when you believe in something, no matter how crazy it may seem. These words stuck by me for quite a few days now and I realize how true it is. When I started writing the blog most of what I believed could happen made no sense in how it would happen. Even now when I look at my dream for the year to come, I have no idea how we can do any of this. But I know with absolute certainty that it all can be possible.
We were thinking of a slogan that would describe what WatersFromHeaven stands for and something that we could all identify with. We decided on “Where there is color there is hope.” Bringing color into the schools has been my dream from the beginning. I believe that when you start dreaming in colors, anything in the world can be possible and hope can be alive.
When we were on the Art trip, we walked by so many children sitting on a heap of stone, breaking up stones as their daily job. For them there was no school, and they were covered in dust and dirt. Some as young as 6 or 7 years old. The only thing I had with me that I could share as we walked along was sheets of stickers, round colorful ones. They did not know stickers, but called it Tikka when I would reach out to them. The smiles that lit up from them when putting such a small dot of color on their hand or cheek, is moments you cannot forget. Color is the one connecting thing we can share; it is such a simple joy that needs no language or explanation.  
Now here comes the,” it still makes no sense moment.” I have no idea how and when I will be able to return as I will have to save up some funds. I have no training in art or teaching, but all you need is passion and a believe in what you do, to make it happen. But I have faith that we will find the right people to assist and that we will be able to work with even more children. The one thing that I was asked on the previous trip by the teachers at the schools we visited was if there was a possibility of providing them with training so that they can do art projects with the children. I know now that it is important for us to include training in the next trip, as that way we can allow the teachers to do art and craft projects with the children when we leave. Doing simple and easy things that require little supplies, items they can easily find. At this point I have no idea of the how and when. But if there is anybody that would like to contact me about a future trip please write me at watersfromheaven@gmail.com. Or if you could assist with fundraising ideas I will so much appreciate any feedback.
This little girl was sitting on the wall watching the others do art. With lots of couching she eventually picked up a crayon to draw.
Life ends when you stop dreaming, hope ends when you stop believing

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pictures from the Art on the Road trip January 2012

A group of 8 left on Jan. 8 to an area four hours from Melamchi in the northern part of Nepal. We visited 3 schools and worked with over 700 children. There is so much I could write about this trip, but I think a picture tells a 1000 stories. It was probably one of the most life enhancing and changing experiences for me. Many of these children have never had the opportunity to express themselves through art and I feel blessed to have shared those moments with them. Thank you to all for your art donations as without that we would not have been able to bring color into their world. Thank you to all of the volunteers as well as COMMITTED for walking the road with us and making this a possibility. We shared the coldest days I have ever experienced in my life, never changed clothes for nearly 10 days and rode the scariest bus ride of my life. We saw the most beautiful hearts and smiles from children in the most amazing setting in the world. I know with more certainty than ever that doing what we are doing is where I am supposed to be in my life. I do hope that those of you reading this will join us in the future on these trips, to bring creativity and color into the schools of Nepal. 











Snow ball fighting. The first snow ever to fall at the school.
Preparation for the next day, Emily and Alice.