From the Desk of Tom Velie
Thank you to everyone who traveled, donated items and gave so generously to the Nepal Relief Fund effort. Your tangible gifts were transported to Nepal, and your financial gifts have been invested or are being held in the Designated Funds and will be used in future months.
Let me give you a recap—Trip to Kathmandu and Bhaktapur, Nepal, June 4-13, 2015
Our New Beginnings Vice-Chair, William “Bill” Rosser (Appleton, WI), Pastor Stanley Blaylock (Amory, MS and husband of our Chairwoman, Andrea Blaylock) and Officer David Burlison (Amory, MS) and I departed from Chicago on the evening of June 4th. Some have asked, “Why Chicago?” Qatar Airlines offered the best rates, and due to our overweight luggage and airfares, driving to Chicago was the best option. The flight from Chicago to Doha, Qatar was about 13 hours, followed by a 14-hour layover in Doha, and finally a 6-hour flight to Kathmandu. We settled in on Saturday evening (when we arrived) and made our first trip to the Children’s Home on Sunday. The Home has earthquake related cracks in the structure, but they are horizontal—I’m told that is much better than having vertical cracking, and we have none of that.
Because the children were sleeping outside the Home for a few weeks (mandated by the Nepali government), they were provided with new bedding and blankets, and a Tupelo church provided several new outfits of clothing. We transported two multi-room tents to Nepal. These tents took up three of our nine pieces of luggage. One of the tents was set up and remains ready for use in the front yard of the orphan home—the other is in easily accessible storage. We also transported several battery-powered lights, including 50 pounds of high-quality batteries. How do 70 pounds of protein bars, vitamins and other quality food sound? Okay, we did add a few treats for the children, but most of the items provided quality nutrition.
Shopping Day: We went shopping and purchased a supply of food and water that were put into locked storage in the home. There is enough water, canned and dried vegetables, fruit and other items to last over two weeks. In the event of another major quake, the children will not go hungry. Bobby Adhikari also has enough cash tucked away to purchase some items, if they are available, should the ATM/banking system fail again.
While in Kathmandu, we met with the head of the Children Homes Federation of Nepal (CHFN), Ramesh Khatiwada, and provided CHFN with a sizable gift. CHFN has provided PTSD assessments for over 1,000 orphaned children in Kathmandu and will continue to assess and treat children as necessary. The New Beginnings children benefit from this program. We also made a gift of several hundred dollars to the BCH home—a home we supported before opening the New Beginnings Children’s Home. They run a quality operation and are thought of highly by Bobby.
We visited Bhaktapur—the city so many of us see in news photos. The devastation is beyond description. The words from the Bible, “…everything that can be shaken…” come to mind. Over 10,000 humans died in the earthquake. Trails and places where Bill Rosser and I slept in November 2014 are covered in rock and mud—we would have died if the earthquake occurred during our November trip. Visiting these places was humbling and a reminder of the brevity and frailty of life. The tragedy is witnessing the masses of humanity who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
The children are faring well and Bobby Adhikari is commended for helping maintain such a positive attitude and spirit in the Home. The children, having endured and witnessed so much devastation, are happy and positive. As I’ve said before, they are loved and being raised in an environment that seems second-to-none in Kathmandu. David Burlison, who was making his first trip to Nepal, said, “I’ll bet there aren’t any better cared for or happier children in Kathmandu.”
The trip home was…well…exhausting. Six hours to Qatar, eight hours of layover, fourteen hours to Chicago and a twelve-hour drive home. Jet lag…yes!
I’m told that geologists are predicting another major quake within 90 days. Tremors continue to occur daily and even multiple times per day. The earth is shaking, and no where is this more evident than in Nepal. However, men’s hearts are being stirred in Nepal and our continued prayers for the children of the New Beginnings Home, and for the hearts of the millions who serve pagan gods, must continue.
Thank you for your gifts—they will continue to be utilized to provide for the needs of our children and to help other orphans in Nepal. The children come first!