Saturday, February 20, 2016

Celebrity Sightings! (Part 2)

Hi!

Are you having a nice winter?  I'm happy to report that winter here is starting to ease up
and it's actually quite warm outside--if the sun is shining!  It's still cold inside, but I'm only wearing three sweaters today instead of five!  During these days, you put on your coat/heavy sweaters
 to go inside and take them off to go outside--really!

The fuel crisis is also starting to ease up!  What a huge blessing.  It will take some time for things to get back to normal, but at least there's now a start.
https://thehimalayantimes.com/business/fuel-distribution-to-be-regular-from-today/

Load shedding might actually start to ease up soon too!
https://thehimalayantimes.com/business/nepal-to-import-80mw-electricity-from-tomorrow/

We're thankful for the blessings we have, since many people have super struggled this winter.
https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/nepal-winter-storm-hits-quake-survivors-in-sindhupalchok-highlands/

OK, so now that you know we are fine, and just busy as usual,
 I will continue on to Celebrity Sightings! (Part 2):

In the last post, I mentioned many celebrities who have come to Nepal that we have missed seeing!  By the law of averages, we should have spotted at least one!  Oh well!

However, we have seen a few celebrities in our travels!
When we have traveled to Paraguay we have been lucky a few times!

This is the autograph of Marco de Brix.
Those from Paraguay will know his name!  He was a famous and very beloved singer.
https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marco_de_Brix
(If that doesn't come through in English, just hit your translate button!)
Sadly, just a few months after we saw him and got that autograph, he passed away!
(The above story tells about it.)
We were in the beautiful shopping mall Mariscal Lopez


when Ramon nudged me.  "Look over there."  I looked.  "What?" I said.
"That's Marco de Brix.  He's a very famous singer!"  
(photo credit:  mp3tunes.tk)

"Really?!"  "Of course!  I'm not making this up!"  
"Do you think we can go and ask for his autograph?"
I had just purchased a daily calendar and so had something for him to sign!
"Let's try."  We went over.
"Excuse me, Mr. de Brix.  I'm a big fan and we wondered if we could have your autograph."
"Of course!"
He was very gracious and we actually talked to him for about fifteen minutes!
Then he hugged us, right there in the busy mall, and we prayed with him.

We mourned his passing with all of Paraguay just a few months later.
Here is his Facebook page, with lots of pics:

On that same trip, in the airport, Ramon pointed out a young man.
"That's Lidio Benitez, a soccer player."

(photo credit:  eluniversal.com.co)

At the time, he was playing in Venezuela, but now is back in Paraguay.
How fun if we see him in Mariscal Lopez next time we're there!

Anyway, Ramon had a nice conversation with him and we got his autograph too!

Another time we were at Mariscal Lopez we saw another soccer player.
However, we didn't ask him for his autograph because he was with his wife and son.
It was Paulo da Silva.  He's quite famous.

(photo credit:  dailymail.co.uk.)

It was so nice to see him walking around the mall holding the hand of his son!

Once at an airport, while waiting to board a plane, 
Ramon pointed out a passenger in the first class line.
"That's Aldo Bobadilla.  He's a goal keeper."  


(photo credit:  terra.com)

As we passed him on our way to coach, (yes, we sit with the masses in coach!), we shook his hand.
Ramon talked to him for a couple of minutes.  He was very gracious.
The plane wasn't full and a lot of people stopped to say hello to him.
He has since retired from soccer.

Now, just for fun:
The first team he ever played professionally with is Cerro Porteno.
My mother-in-law is a huge fan of one of its rival teams, Club Olimpia.
Yes, she loves to watch her football team!
When Ramon wants to tease her, he sings a song about Cerro Porteno that he made up.
He sings in an old man's voice and says silly things about how wonderful Cerro Proteno is.
Of course she gets mad and tells him, "Basta!  Basta!"  This is "Stop it!  Enough!"

Anyway, thinking about him starting out at Cerro Porteno made me think of that!

Another time when we flew to Paraguay, Ramon told me that almost the whole
section of first class was filled with politicians.  We didn't talk to them!

So, yes, there is going to be a Part 3 to this post because I did meet and
spend a little bit of time with another famous person, but you'll have to wait to find out who!


(photo credit:  savagechickens.com)

No, it wasn't Stephen Baldwin!  I just thought this was cute!

Have a nice day, take care, and God bless!
Thanks to all of you who are praying for Nepal!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Celebrity Sightings! (Part 1)

Hi.

OK, by the law of averages, sometime soon we should run into a celebrity here in Nepal!

(Each picture here is from the newspaper article linked to above it.)

Maybe it will be Prince Harry!
Prince Harry.

We already missed:  

...the Danish crown prince, but we were on vacation then!
Crown Prince of Denmark Frederik is being welcomed by locals of Pa Chowk in Lamjung on Saturday, September 19, 2015. Photo: Ramji Rana

However, Benedict Cumberbatch was here right after we came back!
Embedded image permalink
This picture from the article is from Prayush Khadka, Twitter @technicalyright.

He was shooting a Dr. Strange movie. We would have been in Kathmandu that day
if there wasn't a fuel crisis!  Now we have to limit our "Town Days." 

We have seen a Nepali movie being made at the spot in the photo some time ago, but of course I can't find the pics!  I know we saw Nepali celebrities, but we don't know who they were!
There was a traffic jam so I was able to get some nice photos.
Well, maybe I'll run across them sometime.

Anyway, this link shows Benedict in places where we often walk.  I usually don't pay attention to the people walking by, unless they are really noticeable--and some are (!),
but now I'm going to pay attention!
This picture, from this above article, 
Doctor Strange

was taken very close to here:

Of course, I have pictures of that exact spot, but I'll never find them!

This Ace Holidays post has a nice article with pics of celebs who have been here,
some of whom have been here since we've been here:
http://www.ace-holidays.com/hollywood-celebrities-who-visited-nepal/

Susan Sarandon came after the earthquake:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3095193/Susan-Sarandon-68-volunteers-earthquake-hit-Nepal-following-painful-split-boyfriend-five-years.html
Aftermath: The star saw the damage of the earthquakes as she visited with a woman who lost her home 

How fun to have run into one of them while walking around!
Would we have asked for their autographs?  Hmmm...would you?
Stay tuned for Part 2, when I'll tell you more...!

Have you seen any celebrities in person?

Please continue to pray for Nepal and all the troubles here.  Thanks.
We're praying for all of you!

At the hospital, Ramon has worked with ADRA Japan's Cleft Palate Repair Team

and Hong Kong Adventist Hospital's ENT Team.

We thank them for coming and helping those in need.

Have a nice day!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Newspaper Stories

Hi!

Hope you're having a nice January!  We're fine, and are just keeping on keeping on as they say!
Nepal is still in a deep crisis, and, without heat, it's still very cold inside buildings, but outside in the sun it can be quite nice actually, although one must be careful of being in the shade and cold wind!
It's now about 55-56 F in our apartment

and not 51 anymore!
Yeah!
Still wearing 4-5 layers inside, but at least we have layers to put on!

The weird part for me is that it's cloudy every day, which has never happened during the winter since we've been here.  Previously during the winter we have had amazingly blue skies and awesome views of the Himalayas!  Usually our views are like this:

This year it's like this:
These two pics were taken in about the same place.  Hard to believe!
You can't even see the hills, let alone the mountains!

Anyway, today I'm going to post links to some interesting stories from the newspapers here.  I read The Himalayan Times every day, even when we're on vacation.

This story has great pictures of much needed winter relief in the mountains.
(I saw many people walking around without socks today just like you'll see here.)
Man!
http://thehimalayantimes.com/multimedia/photo-gallery/quake-survivors-get-relief-in-helambu-snow/

There are still aftershocks.

The quake fault is still straining.
https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/quake-fault-straining-underneath-kathmandu-study/

This festival recently occurred:

Another one is starting.
http://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/onth-long-swasthani-brata-katha-begins-today/

For new readers, here is the link to a post early in this blog, soon after we moved here,
with a cute conversation I had about festivals with the kids at school:
http://himalayanhappenings.blogspot.com/2010/08/festivals.html

Recently a leopard wandered into someone's house in Kathmandu!

I also like to read The Kathmandu Post.

Earthquake amputees get new hope:
http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2016-01-16/a-new-hope.html

Here's a look at the lives of Nepali ladies outside of the city:
http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2016-01-16/beyond-the-city.html

Here are some Reflections:
http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2016-01-09/stories-of-nepal-reflections.html

Well, that's enough for now!
Have a nice day!

If you are experiencing the East Coast Blizzard, stay warm and be careful!
Man!

Bye and Blessings to all!





Saturday, January 9, 2016

Goodbye 2015! Hello 2016!

Wow, I'm a little behind with my posting!
I guess time does fly when you're having fun!

These are the little ones at Esa Memorial School greeting me with cheers!
Isn't that a wonderful way to be greeted?!

Anyway, we made it through the difficult year of 2015 and are thankful!
We hope everyone reading this can also find many blessings to be thankful for!

We're fine, although the country is in turmoil.  Yes, we're still recuperating from the earthquake, and the continuing aftershocks, although thankfully they are not as frequent as they were.  Now there is the problem of the fuel crisis, which is hampering the progress of helping the people who still desperately need help, especially now that winter is here.  It's bad people, it's bad.  Just Google it, and you can find any number of articles about the dire situation.

This article is from a couple of weeks ago, and it's only gotten worse since then.
http://www.businessinsider.com/r-nepals-fuel-crisis-will-push-almost-a-million-people-into-poverty-2015-12

Normally we are blessed during the winter to have a gas room heater, but we can't use it now.  Five years ago I wrote this post about preparing for our first winter here:  http://himalayanhappenings.blogspot.com/search/label/Weather

 Now, without gas coming in, we have to save our meager supply for quick showers and load shed with the rest of the country to save the generator's fuel for the hospital's needs.  We can't use our ugly, but wonderful, gas room heater!  I miss it!  We're using two electric heaters, one for the bathroom and one for the living room, when there's no load shedding.  (We bundle up when there is load shedding!  I look like Jolly Mrs. Santa Claus with all my layers, but you do what you gotta do, right?!  I know many people don't even have room heaters, so I'll just add another layer if I get cold and keep going!  We bought an electric water kettle (we have to boil our water and put it into a filter before using it) and an electric skillet since we can't use the gas stove.  Those two, combined with our microwave and toaster oven, solve our cooking needs nicely.  However, as I mentioned, we can only use them when Banepa has electricity, which is usually three - four hours during the day!
Yep, that's how we're rollin' now!

 The operating rooms and the OB ward are the only places on campus allowed to have heaters on during the load shedding.

Here are some pictures I took of people waiting in line for cooking gas.

Obviously this line goes on and on both ways!


Imagine!

Here are some pictures I took of some of the lines for fuel.  These lines go on for about a mile for each fuel station.

As soon as one line ends, you see the next one forming.

Yes, one can get nervous watching the young men on top of the buses who volunteer for the top because there's no room inside.  Now that is nothing new for Nepal.  During some of the festival times, when people travel to visit families, buses can also get this crowded.  However, now they are
crowded because only about half of them have fuel to travel anywhere.

This picture is blurry, sorry (!), but you can see that the boys hanging on in the doorway because they couldn't fit anywhere else are just inches from the parked buses they are passing.  Yikes!

It's difficult to see the parked trucks and taxis because each one means someone
is missing a much needed paycheck.


This article has lots of pics.  It's sad:
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2015/12/crisis-nepal-india-border-blockade-continues-151223082533785.html

Well, that's what's happening here.  We're counting on your prayers!  We also will be praying for all of you reading this to enjoy a nice year and stay warm this winter!

For those who are interested, here are two more articles.  This first one is about how the fuel crisis has now become a humanitarian crisis.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015-2016_Nepal_humanitarian_crisis

This second one is just a rather interesting one I stumbled upon.  Even if you skip some of it,
please don't miss the ending!
http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2016-01-02/the-chepang-people-of-chitwan-and-their-conversion-to-christianity.html

Goodbye, take care, and God bless!
To close, here are the cutie pie first grade girls in the library...


...and the whole class with their books.  Beautiful!

Have a nice day!


Monday, November 9, 2015

What's Happening Now

Hi!
Well, a lot of time has passed since I last wrote because we were on vacation!
Yeah!
We were able to visit our families and enter the unreal world of long hot showers
and grocery stores filled with endless supplies of yummies!  Let me tell you, it was hard to make ourselves leave these two places!

Also, later, will be Part 2 of our April 26 Earthquake story.
Just no time now!

OK, so what is happening in Nepal six months after the earthquake?
Yes, it's been six months--man, six months!  In some ways, it doesn't seem like it was that long ago!
Maybe it's because there are till aftershocks now and then!  

Also, because you can still see people living in tents.
I took this picture the other day, soon after we arrived.

People, this is not the same as camping in Yosemite, which I thought was fun and super enjoyed!
(photo credit:  yosemitepinesrv.com)

I don't think I can say that the people still living in tents are super enjoying it,
nor would they say it's fun!

Here is a photo post from ABC Australia by Care International's Brian Sokol 
that shows you current scenes in a village in Dhading District.  
Things look pretty much the same here.

Winter is coming and this means hardship under normal circumstances.  
Imagine now.
This article was in The Himalayan Times recently:

On top of everything else, there's a fuel crisis.  We are on strict orders to conserve all gas.
We use gas for cooking, heating, and hot water for showers.  We have to save the gas for quick (very quick) showers (which we actually did during the aftermath of the earthquake--who wants to be in the shower when there's a strong aftershock that makes you want to run outside) and to boil our drinking water.  Thankfully we have a microwave and toaster oven.  However, we have to be careful not to use too much electricity either, because if the hospital's generator's fuel supply runs out, and there is no fuel to buy, well, you get the idea!  Read about it here:

Most people have run out of gas and are cooking outside with wood.  Here is where our canteen's  wood fire is.   Yes, they ran out of cooking gas and are cooking outside right there.  They put up the tarp to keep the smoke away from our apartments.  

The other day, some cylinders of gas came to Banepa, and people waited in line for hours and I heard that many slept in the line to keep their place.  I'm not going to lie--it's hard.

Of course, food, medicine, blood, and other supplies are dwindling and prices are soaring.
This article in The Kathmandu Post tells about the medicine shortage:
http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2015-11-09/with-supplies-halted-key-drugs-running-out-of-stock.html

People smile, but the look in their eyes is sad.  

Every industry is suffering, except perhaps those which sell electric appliances!
http://www.ktm2day.com/2015/11/06/electric-cookers-demand-rise-in-nepali-market/

Here's a picture I took of some vehicles in a line at a closed gas station.  This line went on and on.  They sleep there and wait until whenever their turn will be, which could be days.

We passed lines like this almost all the way to Banepa from Kathmandu (17 mi.)
As soon as we'd get to a gas station/petrol pump there would be just a short hop, skip, and a jump before the next line would start and snake its way along to the next closed pumps.  Of course, sitting in the hospital's jeep, I couldn't get a better picture.

However, look at this:


This picture is from this Kathmandu Post article:
http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2015-11-07/spiraling-out-of-control.html
Man!
To see more photos, go to Google Images and type:  petrol lines in nepal

So, just keep the whole country in your prayers please!  THANKS!
Here are the precious darlings I get to spend time with who won't know you're praying for them,
but I will and that's enough!  I'm glad they don't understand what's happening
and are just enjoying their childhood.


OK, I'm going to go and see what I can make Ramon for dinner using the microwave and
toaster oven!

 Take care, God bless, and stay tuned for Part 2 of our April 26 story.




Saturday, August 29, 2015

Our April 26 Earthquake Story--Part 1

This post is "Remembering April 26, 2015--Part 1."

The best part of that day was actually waking up that morning!
Yeah!

If you missed what happened to us on April 25, you can read about that day in these three parts:  

At the end of Part 3, we were trying to fall asleep on a mattress outside of and in front of the operating room.  It was hard to sleep--our minds were churning and so was the ground under us!  

For those who are interested, here is a page from a website that lists all the aftershocks above 4 on the Richer scale:  http://www.seismonepal.gov.np/index.php?action=earthquakes&show=recent&page=4
You can see what we were dealing with and the frequency.
If you were still, you could feel the ground shaking with the tremors under 4, 
and they were in between the ones listed.  With those above 4 you could hear it and then 
definitely feel it.  It's freaky!

This still is happening.  Today I was taking a nap and felt slow shaking.
As far as I have heard, there have been over 23,000 aftershocks under 4, 
and about 380 above 4. 

OK, back to our story.
Here is an excerpt from the end of Part 3 of my thoughts as I tried to sleep:

I wondered to myself, 
"I wonder how long I'll be able to go without washing my hair," and
 "Does Mitchum deodorant REALLY work for 48 hours as they claim?"  :)  

Here are the answers:

You can go longer than you think you can without washing your hair!
No one worried at all about how they looked and we all looked the same!

Yes, Mitchum deodorant really DOES work for 48 hours as they claim!
SMILE!
(We had brought some back from the States last year, and still had some!)

Well, I think we both finally fell asleep from sheer exhaustion about 3:00 a.m. and we woke up around 5:00-ish, when the sun came up accompanied by more aftershocks!  
We thanked the Lord for waking up!

If you looked at the aftershock list above, you'll see there was a large one at 2:52 and then the next one was at 5:01, and thankfully we were able to sleep during those two hours.  The next aftershocks followed at 5:21, 5:26, and 5:32!  No, we couldn't sleep any longer even though we'd only had two hours of sleep! 

We went to our apartment, where, in the front yard, many church members had spent the night,

and brushed our teeth!  What a wonderful feeling!  Then we actually took about 15 second showers, a rinse actually, changed clothes, and ran back outside.  Still had our passports, etc., in my purse and toilet paper and our no-bake cookies from my friend Diann's recipe (Yes!) 
and water in our backpacks.   

Ramon went to check on patients with his team and I decided to go around and see what was happening.  People were getting up and checking on their friends and family members.  Doctors and nurses were checking on the injured.  Someone had a newspaper so I joined the crowd to see
what had happened.
  


Someone translated some of the stories to me in English.
We were all in shock and it still didn't seem like it could be real.

I tried calling my mom and sister now and then.  Sometimes I could get through for a minute
and other times I couldn't.  Again, the phones were working off and on.  At least I could keep them updated on how we were and ask them to tell me what they were hearing on the news!  I asked Mom to call my cousin's husband who speaks Spanish and ask him to call my mother-in-law and tell her we were OK.  We didn't want her to worry and have a heart attack!

I headed out to see what had happened and was happening.






You get the idea.

Four months later work is still going on to fix everything.  Can't even guess when it will be finished!

Earlier this month we found out that all the stress underground was not released!
This means that there are real risks of more earthquakes.

Yikes!
All we can do is pray!
Thanks to all of you who have prayed and continue to do so!

Well, that's all for Part 1, so please stay tuned for Part 2!

I'll have pictures of some of our precious patients and also the 2nd outdoor C-section!
Here's a preview--a darling brother and sister, bless their hearts.

Bye for now and have a nice and blessed day!