The Daily Explorer

June 27, 2010

The Angels Come Home

Pokhara, Nepal: June 2010

Ivana 8

MOZZIE BYTE (Editor): A warm welcome back to all our Daily Explorer readers and greetings to those of you who are joining us for the first time. For new readers, Ray has been living nomadically for about four and a half years since he left England in November 2005 and has visited or lived in 16 countries. We have been publishing news and stories about his journey throughout that period. You can find all of these in our Previous Issues archive. Our aim at The Daily Explorer is to create a great publication for you to enjoy, so please keep sending us your comments and suggestions as to how we can improve what we are doing. You can use the comments box on this site, or email Ray (ray@thedailyexplorer.com), ‘Mozzie’ or any of our correspondents at mozzie@thedailyexplorer.com

Our latest issue has been put together by Ivana Getachek (above). Sadly, it will be her last contribution for a while as it marks the completion of Ray’s global “Calling All Angels” Fundraising Campaign, which she has been managing for over a year. The campaign, which inspired Ray to run the New York Marathon in November 2009, has to date raised over $15,000 for worthy causes. Ivana followed Ray as he returned to the Namaste Childrens House in Pokhara, Nepal, to work out the most sustainable way of investing the money raised and procure the resulting facilities and equipment.

In case you missed our last issue, Seymour Peaks re-joined our team to take us through the highlights of each of the 16 days of Ray’s epic 230 kilometre trek to Everest Base Camp and Gokyo Lakes. And Ray sent us a really fantastic collection of pictures from his challenging expedition. You can read it now at: The Roof of the World

Above: In our last issue, Ray (pictured here at the summit of Gokyo Ri) completed his long-awaited 16 day trek to Everest Base Camp and Gokyo Lakes, in the Himalayan mountains. If you missed it, you can read the full story and view his spectacular pictures now at: The Roof of the World

Arriving in Pokhara a couple of days after his epic trek to Everest Base Camp, I asked Ray how he was feeling about being back here since his first visit over 18 months ago. “It feels really great to be back here” was his immediate response. “I fell in love with these kids when I first met them and I cannot believe most of what has happened in between” added Ray, referring to his completion of the New York Marathon and the outstanding success of his global fundraising campaign. “When I first had the idea to do this, back in January last year, I didn’t envisage that I would actually need to return” said Ray.

Above: Map showing the location of the Namaste Childrens House, in Pokhara which is in the centre of Nepal about 100 miles west of Kathmandu

“Having spoken to many people during 2009 about their experiences of fundraising for orphanages, I began to realise there was a risk that the money we were raising might not get appropriated in a sustainable way – something which I believe is of critical importance to ensure that poor organisations like the Namaste Childrens House (NCH), which rely totally on donations, can ultimately reduce their dependency on them and become self-sustaining in the long run” explained our global explorer. “So I decided to come out here with the $5,000 that we had earmarked for them and work out the best way of using the funds once I got here. With no previous experience of anything like this, it seemed a bit daunting to me at first, as I realised that it was down to me to determine what was most important in terms of need and best long term benefit for the kids. But after a few conversations to ‘pick the brains’ of some knowledgeable and experienced people working in NGO’s, I felt a bit more confident that I would be able to figure out a way forward. When I arrived, I had no idea how long the job would take – I just knew I could not depart until I was totally satisfied it was complete and the best outcome had been achieved” added our fundraiser.

In the first couple of days, several potential ideas were sourced by Ray, Visma Raj Paudel (who founded NCH) and his team and each was examined carefully. “Once I had spent time finding out what was going on, there were a handful of projects that we decided to focus on. Funnily enough, the first project I identified which got a green light was not for the Children’s House itself, but an affiliated ‘Rehabilitation’ centre five minutes down the road” recalled Ray. “When I was last there 18 months ago, my friend Nikki Ashley and I organised a picnic for some of the kids, which inspired me to develop the ‘marathon’ campaign. The children we met that day were essentially ‘street kids’ – usually homeless and outside of the education system. The Rehabilitation centre provides them with food and shelter temporarily whilst either their parents can be traced or a place in a better home (like the NCH) can be found” explained Ray. “The (rented) building they use at the re-hab centre is in a far from ideal condition and I heard from one of the foreign volunteers there were a number of leaks in the roof. With the monsoon season already underway, I felt that some urgent action was necessary to stop the children staying there from getting soaked every night. So we organised a carpenter/roofing specialist to be available for two days and went to purchase some new sheets of tin roofing right away” he told me.

Above: The Namaste Childrens House was founded six and a half years ago by Visma Raj Paudel (left, centre). Since then, Visma has expanded the organisation by opening two further houses to accommodate around 120 children, established a scholarship programme for many of the kids to attend a local secondary school and set up a handicraft centre as part of a strategy to create the means to provide ongoing funding without being totally dependent on donations – “Visma is a very creative visionary” said Ray. “His dream is to build a ‘Childrens Village’, which they will use to create a proper community, and by owning it themselves, will totally remove the threat of eviction from their current properties which are rented to them on a short-term basis by private landlords” explained Ray. “Hopefully, there will be enough in the kitty to buy the land this year. Everything they have has been paid for by money donated from supporters all over the world, including this jeep (right) which was presented by the Isle of Man Government” said our traveller. (Editors Note: Our UK readers have the opportunity to meet Visma Raj Paudel when he visits London in early August – see my comments at the end of this posting for details)

Below: Ray attends a meeting (left) with the local bank manager (on the left) and Narayan from the NCH (centre) to exchange $5,000 of travellers cheques into Nepalese rupees – “I had been carrying them for weeks and was relieved to finally get them to the bank” said Ray. “However, I was surprised when she told me there was a daily limit of $2,000″ recalled Ray, which seemed ridiculous to me. When I explained that I was going to have to make extra effort to come back on three consecutive days, simply to change money that had been raised for a local orphanage, she responded brilliantly and decided they could allow me to exchange all of it in one go” he told me. “I am not sure if it was my charm that did the trick, or the fact that she is married to Visma, who runs the NCH!” joked Ray. “Narayan and I left with 368,000 rupees (right) and with our plan in mind, were definitely ready to start spending it”

Above: The Rehabilitation centre across the street from the NCH was the first project earmarked for action, as the ageing tin roof required urgent repairs – “The building is rented and there is only one year left on the lease, so rather than replace the entire roof, we decided to ‘patch up’ the old one as it was a much cheaper option and we didn’t see the point of letting the landlord benefit excessively from my sponsors donations” explained Ray

Below: The Rehabilitation centre provides a temporary home for homeless street kids. It can accommodate around 20 -25 of them and although basic, provides a much better option than the alternative

Above: There is not a great deal of space inside the tiny dormitories so the kids sleep in bunks of up to eight per room

Below: Despite their undesirable lifestyle, the kids Ray met at the centre were in great spirits – “None of the children I met at the picnic 18 months ago were still here” recalled Ray. “And those I met at breakfast time when I went to inspect the damaged roof were pretty quick to lark around with me” he told me

Above: Mangal (in the white shirt), who manages the Rehabilitation centre is very happy that he can finally get the leaking roof in his building fixed, thanks to support from Ray’s global “Calling All Angels” campaign

Below: In baking hot weather, this local carpenter toiled for two days to patch up the old, leaking tin roof

Above: Before (left), with some of the holes in the roof clearly visible and after (right) when the repairs have been carried out

Below: A grand total of $335 and the kids are guaranteed to remain dry during monsoon season – “It’s a great start” said Ray. “Now let’s see what else needs to be done” added our intrepid explorer

The next project earmarked for some action was the ‘Scholarship’ programme. I asked Ray to tell me a bit more about it. “Well Ivana, this is an excellent example of where we can invest some of our funding to help sustain a long term benefit in the community here, so I am particularly excited about this” said Ray. “Visma has always wanted to make sure that as many underprivileged children as possible are given access to a proper education, thereby increasing their chances of a better quality life and helping the country prosper. So he is getting as many of them as he can into secondary school – not just the kids who live in the orphanage but even some who live with their parents in outlying villages who simply cannot afford the fees.

So far, the NCH ‘Scholarship’ Programme has created places for over 125 children to attend the Step by Step secondary school in Pokhara. The cost for each child is around 1,500 rupees per month, or around $25. All of the money is provided by NCH from donations received and is already a huge stretch for them” explained Ray. “I discovered that the manager (Sumeru) who runs the programme is regularly required to visit homes all over the Pokhara region, some over 100 miles away and up in the mountains. His transportation was a clapped out, ten year old 125cc motorbike that had definitely seen better days and was constantly requiring attention and therefore money being spent. We decided it was time to replace it with a new machine that would enable Sumeru to get to these places more easily and quickly and would save NCH money because the new bike would need considerably less maintenance for at least 2-3 years. Myself and Margarita, another volunteer from London teamed up with Sumeru and went to see what kind of bike we could afford and what deal we might be able to negotiate with one of the dealers in town” recalled Ray.

Above: Sumeru, who manages the Scholarship programme for NCH, had been using this rather dilapidated 125cc motorcycle for far too long – “We decided that replacing his motor bike was an excellent use for some of our funds and totally appropriate to our goal of building some sustainability from the investment” said Ray

Below: Margarita Costa (in the red and white polo shirt), who is a volunteer at the Namaste Childrens House, helps the children get ready for their daily walk to school – “She is a Spanish woman, living in London with a very demanding full-time marketing job, yet she still finds time to come out here for a few weeks each year and help out, as well as carrying out fundraising activities back home in her own time” said Ray. “She is very definitely one of the “Angels” I had in mind when we created this campaign and her help in getting a new motorcycle was invaluable” he added

Above: Every day, the House Mother ensures that the children at NCH get to and from school safely – “I went with the kids some days” said Ray. “They really liked talking to me and I loved getting to know more about each one of them” he told me. “It made me appreciate just how valuable the NCH Scholarship Programme is” he added

Below: “It has got to be one of the most beautiful ‘walks to school’ in the world” observed Ray. “Every day, the kids have to go through these fields, passing Macchapucchre – one of the 7,000 metre Himalayan peaks – known as Fishtail Mountain – which you can just see here (to the left of centre) in the distance, towering over the lower tree covered hills in the foreground

Above: The Step by Step secondary school offers children the chance of a decent education. The NCH pays around $150 per year for every child it sends to the school, which is around 125 at the present time – “Sumeru goes out into the villages to interview families and determine if there are children suitable to join the programme” said Ray. “Naturally, they want to admit as many as they possibly can and getting to them all in remote locations can be very tricky. Hence, the investment in the new motorbike was a really worthwhile choice” he explained

Below: Before and after school, the House Mother also ensures that the kids are well fed – “It costs around $1,200 every month to feed the entire house” said Ray

Talking to Ray about the new motor bike, I realised that finding the right deal was not as easy as it first seemed. “As our aim was to stretch our funding as far as we could, the first thing Margarita and I wanted to do was persuade Visma and Sumeru to part-exchange the old bike, which meant us visiting three of four dealers to get the best price we could. We eventually received an offer of around $600, which we thought was excellent and meant we could afford one of the better quality motorcycles” recalled Ray. “Next, we had to decide on the specification for the new bike. Increasing the power of the engine was critical to ensure it could cope with the hilly terrain and long distances, but more power also means more fuel being used which in the long run would cost NCH more than at present. We eventually struck a balance and opted for a 150cc Pulsar machine, which came with a full one year warranty and free servicing for a year. Once Sumeru had given the bike a test drive and we got his ‘thumbs up’, Visma and I sat down to negotiate with manager of the dealership to get a good price. A few hours later, a joyful Sumeru returned to the house with a smile as wide as the road outside. “He had been enduring months of poor performance and unexpected failures with the old bike. Yet despite this, he never made a fuss about it and remained very humble and enthusiastic about his work. He was visibly relieved when we told him that we were going to replace it, and extremely grateful too. It was very moving for me to see him so, so happy” said Ray.

Above: Visma Raj Paudel (left) and Sumeru, Scholarship Programme Manager (centre, blue shirt) look at some different motorcycles at a Suzuki dealership in Pokhara – “Being a rider myself, I actually loved looking at the bikes” admitted Ray

Below: Outside the Pulsar dealer and Sumeru can hardly contain his excitement as he is about to test drive a brand new, 150cc machine

Above: Sumeru returns from his test drive and gives Ray and Visma the signal to go ahead and negotiate a good deal. In the end, with a helmet and leg guard to protect rider and bike from damage, the total cost was around $1,900 – “I think we did really well with the deal and I know it will make a huge difference to Sumeru” said Ray

Below: Back at the Namaste Childrens House, Ray takes Sumeru’s new bike out for a spin (right) – “I haven’t ridden a decent bike since I sold my cherished Triumph Thunderbird in 2006” said Ray, who was pictured on it outside his former London home in 2003 (right). “It was nice to get back in the saddle again, albeit for only a couple of minutes” he told me

Knowing that Daily Explorer readers and campaign supporters alike would be interested to know how the rest of the campaign funds were utilised, I asked Ray to let me know what else they had been able to accomplish. “The rest of the money was divided between technology, land and some basic necessities” said Ray. “First of all, I discovered that the children at NCH’s main building had some ageing computer equipment and no access to the Internet. Margarita had been able to raise enough money in England to purchase one new machine and with over 60 children living in the house, more were certainly needed” said Ray. “And I felt that these kids should have the opportunity to join the rest of the developed world and have access to the Internet, at the very least to help them with their school homework and enable them to interact with things like Facebook, Email and YouTube, just like kids all over the world do every day” said Ray. “Visma gave me his support for the idea so I went into town with Man Singh, the Administrative Director at NCH and set about buying two more high specification PC’s and the relevant equipment to get the children a high-speed Internet connection. I have made sure that $300 has been set aside for the connection costs to be met for the first 12 months” added Ray.

Although purchasing the computers for the children provided our traveller with complete satisfaction in itself, there is a tradition at NCH that when someone donates this sort of thing, they are invited to an ‘official’ handover ceremony so that the kids can thank them personally, and Ray was no exception. “It was a bit embarrassing for me” admitted Ray. “Visma was quite insistent and I am glad he was, because it gave me the opportunity to explain to all of the children that these computers and the Internet connection were there to enable them to learn and grow and have the same facilities as more advantaged children in the developed world. I asked them to take care of them and make the best possible use of them as they could. Of course, they could do with some more help to get started, so if any readers want to go out there and teach them how to do stuff online, please get in touch and let us know” added Ray.

Above: Ray and Man Singh arrive at the computer dealership in downtown Pokhara to purchase the new computers

Below: NCH Administrative Director Man Singh (white T-shirt) selects a router and hub (left) and adds it to the new computers and printer to take back to the house (right) – “In total, we spent around $1,200 on all the computer gear” said Ray

Above: The children wait with great excitement as Visma and Ray begin the ‘official’ and traditional NCH handover ceremony so that the new computer equipment can be properly received and set up in the library

Below: Ray hands over various items of kit to the children (left) who cannot wait to use the new computers (right)

Above: Ray with five-year old Rohit – “He is totally adorable and definitely one of my favourites” said Ray. “I am so happy to be doing something that will help all of the kids here and really appreciate all of the support that we received from our readers” he said

Below: Getting the NCH connected to the Internet meant a trip to Nepal Telecom to sort out a contract (left). After quite a bit of form filling and being sent to different departments, Ray and Visma (right) finally got it sorted and it means that for a $300 investment, the children are now connected to all of the resources available in cyberspace for an entire year

Although the Namaste Childrens House is heavily dependent on donations for funding, Visma is committed to a strategy that aims to reduce that dependency and make them more self-sustaining. And it is necessary too because more and more children are being taken care of every year by his organisation. “It has really expanded since I was here 18 months ago” observed Ray. “During that time, Visma has taken on two more properties to increase their capacity and put a lot of effort into establishing a handicraft centre in one of the buildings to support single mothers” explained Ray. “By providing food and accommodation for mothers with young children, Visma gains their buy-in to a training programme which teaches them various handicraft skills, with the aim of making products that can be sold to create an income stream for NCH and reduce their dependency on donations. Although it is early days, the initial results are encouraging” said Ray.

“Visma has put some great ideas into action since I first met him, and another of these is the ‘brick’ campaign. This year, he is hoping to start building a new home in their own ‘Children’s Village’, provided they can find the land they need at the right price. In preparation for construction, he has been inviting people from all over the world to ‘sponsor’ individual bricks. In return for about $75, the children paint the name of the sponsor on the brick. Hundreds of these have been sold and are in storage, waiting to be used in the construction of the new building” said Ray. “It is a novel idea and it is working really well” he observed. “I am glad to see that The Daily Explorer have joined in and sponsored one of the bricks” added our traveller.

Above: Omni Childrens House – one of the two new buildings that Visma has taken on to increase capacity since Ray’s first visit 18 months ago

Below: Anish (left) and Ganesh (right) are just two of the wonderful children that Ray met during his visit to Omni Childrens House – “Like a lot of the children here, Ganesh has a story which is both tragic and miraculous at the same time” said Ray. “The tragic part is that he is here because his insane father tried to kill him, having successfully murdered his mother and his sister. Despite serious head injuries, Ganesh has survived and made a full recovery. If you look closely, you can see the scars and disfigurement to the right side of his head (your left). The miraculous part of the story is that he is one of the most loving children I have met and we spent quite a bit of time together, during which he mainly wanted me to hug him” said Ray

Above: Ray arrives at the recently created Handicraft Centre, which has been established at a new site to help create income for NCH – “Visma found an empty building that used to be a guest house, which makes it perfect for the centre as there is plenty of space, with a few rooms set aside to house volunteers who come to Pokhara to help out” said Ray

Below: Visma proudly shows Ray what they are capable of producing in their glass making workshop – “I was really impressed” said Ray. “This stuff is actually very good indeed. I am sure he is on the right track” added Ray

Above: One of the women at the Handicraft centre makes a bag as our traveller watches closely

Below: The ‘brick’ campaign has been a huge success – Rohit (left) has one that was donated by a recent visitor. And The Daily Explorer is proud to have its own brick (right), which is waiting to be placed in one of the walls in the new ‘Childrens Village’ home, part of the vision for 2011

So what were the basic necessities that Ray had referred to earlier? “Well Ivana, these are growing kids and therefore, constantly in need of new clothes, including underwear, socks and even rain coats and umbrellas during the heavy rains of the monsoon season. Although we were trying to direct our funding into sustainable programmes, there was a clear need for a few of these items so we decided to allocate some of the money raised for a shopping spree” said Ray. “And we are talking about kids here, so not everything that is spent on them can be justified as a necessity. They need to have fun too, and there is never any money available for things that might enable it, so I insisted that we use a small proportion of our fund for just that. After some discussion, we determined that the best thing we could do would be to purchase some materials and jewellery that would enable the ladies at the house to make some traditional Nepali costumes for the boys and girls to dance in at the end of each week” said Ray. “They organise a 1-2 hour event known in the house as “Fun Friday”, during which some of the kids perform for the others. It really is a lot of fun” he told me.

Ray went into downtown Pokhara with Manju, one of the House Mothers, to acquire all the necessary stuff. “I have to be honest and say that going shopping is not one of my favourite things to do, especially for clothes, but as it was all for such a good cause, I was determined to enjoy it” recalled Ray. Going into the centre of Pokhara is a noisy, chaotic experience, a bit like the old ‘wild west’ might have been” observed our traveller and the markets are packed with hundreds of tiny stalls selling merchandise of all kinds” added Ray. Manju and I spent the best part of a whole day picking up everything we needed to replace a lot of clothing for the kids everyday needs and create some amazing costumes for the next Fun Friday, which was coming up in a few days” explained Ray.

Above: Going into the noisy, polluted and chaotic downtown area in Pokhara to do some shopping is akin to entering the ‘wild west’, according to our seasoned traveller

Below: Can you spot the three things in this picture that you would not expect to find during a shopping trip to a town centre in the UK? One is the two ladies cooking their lunch by the roadside. The second, which is hard to actually see because of the weather, is the snowy 7,000 metre peak of Macchapucchre, one of the tallest mountains in the Annapurna range, just visible behind the dark hills to the right of the shot. And the third? Oh, yes… it is the cow wandering around in the middle of the road – “There are loads of them all over town” said Ray – “They are gifted by wealthy farmers during religious ceremonies and no one touches them because they are considered sacred. So if one of them wants to have a sleep in the middle of the street, the traffic drives carefully around them!” he told me

Above: NCH House Mother, Manju (left, in pink) reveals her shopping list to this stall owner, which includes basic necessities such as rain coats, umbrella’s, jeans, socks and underwear

Below: The “Calling All Angels” campaign was able to fund the purchase of 30 umbrellas and 10 rain coats like this one, ensuring that the children who live at the house can remain dry during their daily walk to and from school in the monsoon season – “These are basic things that most of us take for granted” said Ray, “but here, they are essential yet remain unaffordable” explained our global nomad

Above: Anything for you Sir? I don’t think that Ray was too impressed with this particular brand – “It is definitely not what you want someone to say when they see you in your underwear” joked Ray

Below: After taking care of the basics, Ray went with Manju to the jewellery stall (left) and then the fabric shop to buy material for making traditional sari’s and kuta’s – “I am glad we spent some of the money on fun things” said Ray. “Not everything one spends on children can be financially justified, and rightly so” he told me

Above: Next stop on Ray and Manju’s day long shopping spree was the mens hat shop – “Manju wanted some of the boys to have traditional Nepali dancing costumes for Fun Friday……

Below: …… which meant our global explorer was able to have a bit of fun trying one or two of the traditional Nepali hats for himself – “Oooh – suits you Sir!”

Above: The deal which Ray and Manju negotiated with the fabric suppliers included the stitching of all 22 costumes for the girls, which meant that someone from the store had to visit the NCH and measure each one of them

Below: One by one, the lucky girls have their measurements taken which means their new ‘Fun Friday’ costumes will be the perfect size for them, for now anyway!

With the tailor needing a few days to get the costumes made, and most of the major procurement of equipment now done, our traveller had a couple of days to hang out with the kids, starting with a picnic at the local community centre. “Having experienced one of these outdoor events the last time I was here, I remembered how much fun it was” Ray told me. “Everyone gets involved in creating the day, especially in the preparation of the food” recalled our traveller. “And like always, a few of the kids will perform songs and dances for everyone gathered. “It is always so profound to see these kids enjoying themselves and makes me realise that we can all be happy no matter what we have or don’t have” said Ray.

Ray’s final day was spent at the NCH, culminating with him attending the popular ‘Fun Friday’ event at 6pm. I asked him how it felt to see his efforts finally coming to fruition. “You know Ivana, it was so moving for me to see the kids dressed up in their newly acquired traditional Nepali costumes. It made me think about the weeks and months of training I did for the marathon, the hours and hours I spent emailing or phoning people around the world at various times of the day and night and all of the kind people who gave their generous support to my campaign. In conclusion, I realised that to watch these children having such a lot of fun and pleasure as a result, it was worth absolutely every single minute” he told me. “It makes me think that there is so much we can do if we put our minds to helping other people. I certainly intend to do more of this and am already considering the next project” said our enthusiastic nomad. “After spending around $800 on all the clothes, basic necessities, jewellery and costumes, we had around $500 left and we have decided to invest that into these kids future by putting it towards the project to buy the land they need to build their ‘Childrens Village’ so they have a permanent home of their own” added Ray.

Above: Everyone helps to prepare the food for the simple and delicious lunch at the Namaste Childrens House picnic at the local community centre

Below: Ray took the opportunity to join in some of the games and activities with the children – “I have really got to know these kids over the past couple of weeks” he said. “Being here, I feel like I have become part of the family – it will be quite hard when I have to leave” he admitted

Above: It’s Fun Friday! A few of the children wearing their traditional Nepali costumes entertain the excited crowd gathered on Ray’s last day at the Namaste Childrens House

Below: And what a crowd it is too! (left). As well as dancing, some of the children perform comedy, writing their own sketches. In this scene (right), a TV interviewer is asking questions of the Maoist leaders during the recent general strike – “I couldn’t understand it as it was all spoken in Nepali, but everyone was laughing a lot so I guess it must have been pretty funny” said Ray

Above: An emotional time for Ray as he prepares to board his flight to Kathmandu so he can leave Nepal – “I really feel that my job here is done for now” he told me. “I am very satisfied that the money we raised has been used well and that these kids have a brighter future as a result” said our marathon runner

Below: Ray flies off into an unknown future – “I am headed for Borneo next – I am meeting a friend of mine and we are going to do some travelling together” he said, refusing to disclose any further details to me!

Editors Note: Everyone one of us at The Daily Explorer would like to pay tribute to the wonderful job that Ivana Getachek has done for us over the last year, helping to steer Ray’s campaign to raise over $15,000 during that time. We will all miss her very much and hope that she will return one day. If anyone would like to email her, you can reach her at ivana@thedailyexplorer.com. Our aim at The Daily Explorer is to create a great publication for you to enjoy, so please keep sending us your comments and suggestions as to how we can improve what we are doing. You can use the comments box on this site, or email Ray (ray@thedailyexplorer.com), ‘Mozzie’ or any of our correspondents at mozzie@thedailyexplorer.com

In July, Visma Raj Paudel will be making a four-week trip to the UK and Germany, with the goal of spreading the word about and gaining support for the Namaste Childrens House. He wants to form International Advisory Committee and has chosen the 7th of August (which is a Saturday) for the first meeting in London. People who are supporting NCH, or have worked as a volunteer will be there for meeting. If you would like to meet Visma, this is a great opportunity. Margarita Costa is organising the event and can be contacted by email at: costa.margarita@gmail.com.

We tend to focus on the news and stories that relate to Ray’s nomadic journey, which is a few months away from entering its fifth year. However, whilst staying in Pokhara, Ray had the great pleasure of meeting two fellow British travellers who have been on the road for seven years! In that time, they have been through no less than 69 different countries as they ride their BMW motorcycles around the world in a global tour. “Simon and Lisa Thomas are a very inspiring couple” said Ray. “I met them at my guest house because Simon was waiting for a spare part to arrive from the USA so that he could continue his onward journey and it had been held up in transit, partly due to the earlier general strike. During the few days we spent together, I was able to hear some of their incredible stories and it really stoked my own passion for travel. They have their own website, at www.2ridetheworld.com and it is well worth a look if you are considering any sort of longer term travel adventure” he told me.

We will be online in a few weeks with our next issue of The Daily Explorer and as always, we will keep you posted!

MOZZIE BYTE

Above: Simon and Lisa Thomas are an inspirational British couple who have been riding around the world for seven years – “The amazing thing is that they are so down to earth” said Ray. “I really enjoyed hearing their amazing stories. Their website is well worth a look” he said

Below: The couple hold at least one record – this is their route to date!

Above: Not only are Simon and Lisa adventurous, they are also very industrious and have taught themselves to become top class photographers as a way of helping to fund their epic journey. See their website for more details

Below: Weeks of frustration end as Simon’s new bike part eventually arrives; once it is fitted, he and Lisa will be on their way once again. From everyone at The Daily Explorer, we wish them both the very best of luck with their ongoing adventure!

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6 Comments »

  1. Again, amazing! NCH is really a great place, have been there myself a few times. Good luck to you, and good luck to NCH.

    Comment by Janis — June 28, 2010 @ 3:42 am

  2. Namsate Ray! Wonderful to hear about your travels in Nepal and your efforts to support those gorgeous kids. Good luck in Borneo.

    Comment by Sally P — June 30, 2010 @ 1:55 am

  3. I have laughed, smiled and had a choke in my throat reading about the children and what you have done for them. It must feel great to know you have made a difference to their lives. I will be looking out for ways I can help too… how do I sponsor a brick?

    Comment by charlotte — June 30, 2010 @ 6:06 am

  4. To sponsor a brick, send an email to info@orphanagenepal.org letting them know that you would like to do so and they will organise it for you.

    Comment by The Daily Explorer — June 30, 2010 @ 1:35 pm

  5. Marts,
    I’ve just read your story about the Namaste Children’s home and it brought a tear to my eye.
    How brilliant it is to be able to support such wonderful children, along with all of their helpers, who are where they are purely through circumstance yet appear to keep smiling and living their lives to the full. Well done for embracing such a worthy cause. It must be a totally humbling yet fulfilling experience and I’m very proud of you.
    Love you,
    Buffs

    Comment by Paul Martin — July 1, 2010 @ 9:34 am

  6. Another inspiring and heartwarming story from your travels. Thank you for sharing them with us.

    Comment by Shirley — July 25, 2010 @ 5:39 am


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