So many stories and images to share from last week in the Netherlands. Here’s one of my favorites:
He’s 22, and from Aarupokhari, Nepal. You fly to Kathmandu, he says, take a bus a few hours, then walk for two days. He hopes I’ll come this summer.
“Then they’ll really take me seriously!” he exclaimed over dinner at the Rotterdam Cafe.
He has one photo of himself as a child. When he was five Save the Children came to his village with a camera. Now he writes for the Huffington Post and studies political science at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Last summer he went back to his village with 1600 books, a team of volunteers and two computers. And so Aarupokhari has its first library and enjoyed its first summer camp for kids. The library’s named in memory of his Mother, who died because they didn’t have roughly $200. Next he’s building a school. Subhash Ghimire is a young man you’ll be hearing more about.
And who’s that lovely lady in the floppy hat? She’s 23, from New Jersey, and lives in Surkhet, Nepal with 27 kids. That’s understating the matter, though. Maggie Doyne has placed over 700 children with local family members. She has the conversation with the families, “If you feel like you need to sell them, we can help you. You don’t have to feel that way any more.” What other 23-year-olds do you know who have that conversation? She built the house herself, with the villagers, on land she bought with her babysitting money. She’s handled tuition for about 100 other kids, not to mention medical care. This is a little woman who thinks big and get things done! If we lived in the same town… Lord have mercy on the PTA (or whatever we put our minds to). It would never be the same.
Together these two twenty-somethings are transforming Nepal. This weekend they formed a posse. It includes Mama Lucy of Tanzania who’ll help with curriculum at their schools, Ania Lichota originally of Poland, who’ll climb Everest in the Spring to raise money for Subhash’s school; Renu Bagaria, who’s educating street kids in Kathmandu; and Jen Lemen, who makes magic happen on a regular basis; she’ll make it all go down without a hitch. We all hatched some big plans this last weekend, let me tell you.
And the beautiful photo? That’s what happens when you give Stefan, my handsome husband, a camera and set him loose to shoot. Here are a few more…
Toyin’s from Nigeria. She empowers young girls and women through ICT (Internet & computer technologies). We met at BlogHer in Chicago last summer.
Here’s acclaimed San Francisco artist Andrea Fono, who had us all painting together Saturday night. As you can imagine from the photo, it was FUN!
And here’s one of Reinder Schonewille, who helped a lot with event logistics in his native Netherlands:
More stories from the week to follow, that’s for sure. There are enough for a year of blog posts.