All posts filed under: Grow

Endings and Beginnings Nepali Style.

Sometimes it’s really hard to know where to start. This blog is a thing I have been both putting off and pondering in equal measure for months now.You see, I haven’t quite known how to communicate about our change from one project to another in Nepal. Its not a controversial story just one about how to manage the issues that inevitably arise between one culture and another when there is a lack of understanding about how important feedback is. They are lessons learnt along the way. But it’s also about introducing our new charity and trying to coherently speak about why we have chosen it. But first and foremost it’s also an overwhelming success story. The school project has been completed and they no longer need our funds to finish their project, as they are 99% there. It’s done for now. The earthquake has set in motion some of the Principal’s big ideas for a better school for his kids and he bought this to fruition with real grace and a faith that the financial …

Nepal School Project: From Intention to Manifestation

We arrived home to Saudi Arabia last night after another quick yet utterly gratifying trip to Nepal. Initially I had felt the need to return to check on progress at the school and to plan further visits (see earlier posts tagged under Philanthropy Nepal if you haven’t been following the story so far).   My last trip in March showed that they had completed 4 new classrooms.  Lack of email contact and no clear information about the use of the money we had donated in March meant that going back seemed the only way to find out where they were up to. I actually didn’t actually have too many expectations on the building works given everything is so hard to do in the monsoon – especially build! Here is a bit of a photographic recap of our first visit in September 2014, 6 months after the earthquake.  All of the classrooms had been damaged by the earthquake except the library building which was built by foreign AID in a project called ‘Room to Read’ and …

Why Doesn’t Everyone Want To Go To Malta?

As I sit back in my home in Saudi Arabia, inside my small air-conditioned domain, well insulated from the soaring summer heat that makes my skin crackle I reflect back on a short visit we made to Malta and her sister island, Gozo just 2 weeks ago.  We tacked 4 glorious days onto our Italy adventure (which I wrote about in my last 2 posts) in order to visit some friends who have decided to live on Gozo for the time being. Rick had always wanted to visit Malta as it conjured images of an exotic European location.  I was curious about its strategic position in the Mediterranean and what that has meant to its population over the millennia. Neither of us knew much about it apart from one of my old (only in number of years known, not age, of course) school friends, Yasmin, had a beautiful exotic flower of a mother who came from Malta. We caught a quick flight from Rome and arrived on this tiny Island, south of Tunis and close …

The Other Side of Fear. Part 2

Now that the sun has arisen on a new day I can write about why it actually is worth going through a day like yesterday and now that I am editing this piece nearly a week later I recall another handful of the same experiences neatly placed to make each day a balance of fear and surrender. I mentioned that Rick is in his element on a boat. Let me tell you why. Firstly there is ample time at anchor to play the guitar. There is actually time for most things he loves. When you live aboard your own boat there is always a list of tasks, little maintenance issues, fixing items or making things better and more dependable or just improving on systems somebody else invented. There is regular faffing around to be done which productively uses free time not taken up by guitar playing. Then there are weather forecasts. Who knew they needed to be checked 5 times a day. And, of course, there is the sailing, which I suppose I should have …

A Meditation on Fear whilst apparently being in Paradise.

We are currently sailing in the Med. After months of planning and anticipating it we are finally on board our rented 45-foot yacht in Sardinia…well actually in Corsica now as we simply hopped across a narrow stretch of water and just like that were in a different country. While many folk have the capacity to drive for a bit, catch a ferry or a train and be somewhere new we come from the sunburnt land. Australia. That country which is larger than all Europe put together. It gives me quite a thrill; a little internal star jump even to sail for an hour or 2 and find everything has changed. Well almost everything. The water is still an impossible shade of aqua that perfectly matches my toenail polish. Who knew inglot nail polish people knew the waters of Sardinia and Corsica were exactly the same shade as colour number 321 (terrible name for something so gorgeous!). The language is different, the bread and the pastries are different and Corsica itself is very different geographically to …

Nepal…better late than never

When I was in Nepal in March I was trying out my new camera and hoping to take a few shots that were better than simply using my trusty iPhone. Here is a montage of some of my first efforts…forgive me all you photographers! As you may have seen from earlier posts my friend Max and I spent some time in Kathmandu and more in Pokhara – a whistlestop 6 nights altogether. The first series of photos are taken at Boudhanath, the morning after we arrived.  The stupa lost its all seeing eyes and spire in the earthquake but around the kora of the stupa life goes on as it ever did.  Votives alight under sunny skies, incense drifts in lazy curls.  Rust and saffron robed monks walk , people talk, people pray.  Dogs and birds enjoy the parade.  Women in traditional Tibetan aprons, with their hair in long plaits count mala beads as they walk.  Om Mani Padme Hum.  Hail to the jewel in the lotus. We left Kathmandu the same day bound for …

Supporting the Future of Nepal

The Arun Shree Jyoti School has been the focus of much of my attention for the last few months. I have been on the fundraising trail again with the aim of contributing more to the rebuilding of the school and my mind has often spooled away into the hibiscus and bougainvillea clad hillsides of Nepal and to a tiny school trying to get ahead.It’s easy to consider giving when you know the cause is so worthy. Its also easy when you know you will be greeted by the innocent, open faces of beautiful children when you head back to see them. But meanwhile back in Saudi we had another dinner party as we had found it to be such a great model for fundraising. I really like it when everyone gets something for their efforts and I really dislike asking people for money no matter the circumstances. To give people an opportunity to catch up with friends, to eat good food in a great environment appeals to me and from the response it’s clear others …

My Meeting with Wabi Sabi

  As I sit on the edge of the onsen about to lower myself into the water I know that all is well with the world for this instant in time. It becomes a brief moment of mindfulness as I use all my senses to become one with my experience . Wabi Sabi is a Japanese term used to describe harmony but the state of harmony that comes through knowing that everything is in a state of flux. Either forming or dissolving. Not about perfection, more about how, when we look deeply into nature the seeds of creation and destruction become visible and that they exist to remind us of the impermanence of all things. Wabi Sabi reminds us that the mere observation of nature becomes an experience that touches the spirit itself. An onsen is a natural spring used for bathing and in Japan due to the abundant shifting and settling of mother earth there are many of them. Vents, fissures and volcanoes abound. Originally the springs were open to the environment and fully …

Rebuilding a School one pair of earrings at a time.

Both in Nepal and in Bali I bought jewellery with the idea of selling it in Saudi to help support the Arun Shree Jyoti School Project.  Christmas was coming and I knew if I wanted to capture the present buying crowd before they all headed off around the globe for the Christmas Holidays I needed to have things ready to go by the end of November.  Because of this I concentrated on already made pieces from Bali that I could simply on sell without fabricating them at all. Kilos of luggage later – about 60 in fact – we arrived home with plenty of fashion jewellery, silver, ethnic pieces and clothing. The first and biggest issue to overcome was how to display it.  In Australia, or probably anywhere else in the world I could have gone out and bought display cases, earring holders and all I needed to put together a really funky display. In Saudi finding this kind of thing was beyond me.  Locating and sourcing such things without speaking Arabic and finding ways …

Bali. Morning thoughts

Moving from Nepal to Bali is not much of a jump.  As expats our lives include great holidays that both Rick and I work to maximise the best we can.  So the posts I have been writing about in Nepal took place over 3 weeks ago.  Since then we have been back to Saudi Arabia and then to Australia for our annual leave.  A week in Bali deliberately added onto the end of the trip gives us time to breathe out a little before heading back to the desert. Bali is my antidote to life in the desert.  We have had a deep and abiding connection with the place after coming here for the first time 23 years ago (With a 2 year old and one on the way – 4 of us on a motorbike was a sight to behold!).           Yes it has changed.  Yes it is noisier.  Yes it is full of partying Australians. But at its core Bali and its people are still authentic and beautiful and …