Plastic cover

In Sweden we remove the plastic cover from things we buy the minute it's ours, but here they keep it on til it falls off by it self.
I guess it's to protect it for as long as possible, but also to show that it's new.
Like this car. Cars are super expensive here so having one gives you a special status.
We went to a newly built dentist hospital and as you can see they have kept the plastic on the chairs.
Surprise, surprise!
It can be tricky to remove the plastic, when you buy for example a chair or a bike, since they put the plastic on each piece before they screw it together.
So there is always some left even if you try really hard to remove it. Not a very smart system, I must say.


Dog leashes and collars

When we moved to India almost 6 years ago I started making dog leashes from vintage saris and my dream was to be able to give work to women to make them.
For a few years I got caught up with other things, but suddenly a company in USA saw an old post here at my blog and now we have enough orders to have a handful women working with this.
These women has the responsibility for their families so they can't get a job outside their home. With this they can work whenever they have time in their home. Very practical!
Maya is our manager and at her shop the women pick up material, leave the finished products and get paid.
It's just amazing! Dreams really come true, it's just waiting for the right time.
Yesterday I met some of the ladies in Maya's shop and it was, least to say, a bit chaotic with all their kids. It made me even more impressed that they can do this work with their kids hanging around.
Examples of leashes.
Now we are also making dog collars.


Plastic bags

A few months back the government banned plastic bags.
A great idea for the environment since there is no recycle system here, but it's such a stupid law.
A few things that makes is very difficult without a plastic bag:
1. Bring home a chicken cut in pieces from the butcher. Do you put the slimy pieces in your pockets?
2. Try to bring home a kilo of loose rice we buy by weight at the local grocery shop in your handbag and you'll see what I mean.
3. How does the government want us to carry a lot of things we have bought for our customers to the freight office?
This is insane! In this world of consumption we have created, plastic bags are a necessity, like it or not.
We've had to buy plastic bags for our household waste on the black market.
I actually found a guy who sells packets of plastic bags that he hides behind his counter.


The true story about Maya

This is the true story about our friend Maya, but it can be applied to many Nepalese women:

When Maya's mom was 9 years old she was forced to marry a 29 year old man and when she was 12 she gave birth to Maya.
In total they were 6 sisters and 3 brothers, but one sister died when she was 5.
When Maya grew up they were so poor that they couldn't afford shoes, not even during the cold winter.
Their friends got new clothes, but Maya's parents only had enough money to buy food. Maya was of course jealous of her friends, but there was nothing she could do about it.
Maya's highest wish in the whole world was to study, but after 5:th grade she had to leave school to earn money.
She carried heavy things, about 50 kg, on her back, up the hills, for 20 km or more, for less than a dollar, still without shoes and the employer didn't even give her something to eat.
Her family arranged her marriage with a man who abused her for many years. He didn't work, but expected her to walk the streets begging, selling small bags.
They got two daughters, the man left her for another woman and Maya walked the streets for 15 years, humiliating herself asking tourists for money.
She had credit everywhere. Rent, school fees and the grocery shop, living one day at the time, paying off the debts whenever it was possible.
Maya and her daughters live together with a sister and a brother, in total five persons, in a small room where they do everything from studying and sleeping, to washing clothes and cooking.
I met Maya the first time I set my foot in Nepal and since then I've dreamt of giving her a job. Every time I met her I gave her some money. For a special festival I gave her some extra and when someone in her family needed to go to the doctor I helped her.
She has always been the one her family has been depending on financially. Her mom gives blessing for change in the small village and her father does odd construction work, but they mainly live on the small land they own. Maya's grandparents had much more land, but they lost it playing cards.
The earthquake has been horrible and a terrible loss for so many people, but some good things have come out of it.
Friends in Canada arranged two concerts and from the money they raised we were able to do something extraordinary.
One day I sat down with Maya and asked what she wanted to do with her life and her dream was to have her own grocery shop and a few weeks ago we were able to realize her dream.
It was one of the most emotional days in my life. Helping a person, a whole family really, with such a life changing long lasting thing is just amazing.
I knew Maya was a true business woman. She is getting up at 4 in the morning, going to the vegetable market and from there she is busy the whole day. She is a really hardworking woman and I'm so proud of her.
She was definitely the right person to help like this.


I'm back

A lot has happened the last few weeks and I must say it hasn't been all bad. On the contrary.
Thanks to donations we could help our friend Prem distribute rice and oil to his whole village of about 170 households.
The village council decided to buy food for the whole village instead of building shelters for a few families. A very heart warming decision from a society where you care about each other.
The residents where very happily surprised when they received a whole bag of rice. When the government came they got 2 kg each and that says a lot about the political situation here.
For example did the orphanage we work with get two soaps and a plaster from the government representative who visited them. Why even bother?
Here you can see some lovely photos from the day Prem went to his home village with a truck full of food.

My mother-in-law went back to Sweden the 15:th of June and hopefully she will move to Nepal on a permanent basis in a few months.
Sweden is both cold and very expensive to live in for a retired individual and here she can enjoy life more.

We just had to leave Kathmandu for a while to get away from everything, so we went to Pokhara where you couldn't see any damage or feel any after shocks.
The trip was absolutely amazing and healing for the whole family.
In Pokhara we met our sweet Tibetan friends and we gave them some of the donated money since they have a difficult time surviving now when the tourists are gone.

I have some great news about Maya, but I want to write the full story, so it will be in another post.