Thursday, March 27, 2014

Are you planning to shop on Amazon TODAY??  If so, there's an extra bonus of $5 that will go to HealthEd Connect through March 31.  .

Simply click the button below, select HealthEd Connect as the charity you wish to support, and start shopping for your favorite Amazon products. Through March 31, Amazon will donate an extra $5 per customer!  Just click on the link below.....

 If you aren't shopping today, no problem.  Just remember to add the "smile" before and we will receive 0.5% in the future.  AmazonSmile is the same Amazon with the same products. There are no fees or extra costs.

As always, we appreciate your support!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


After hours of hard work and lively discussions, we ended our training with the awarding of certificates. In typical Nepali hospitality, Jac and I received a lovely gift ---a traditional Vase thoughtfully presented by Pinkey, Martha, and Binod. We all left with new knowledge, memories of good times together, and a memento of our week together.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Blood pressure training

The Soyamsabika told us last year there was a big need to monitor blood pressures for pregnant women and other people at risk in their Himalayan villages. So a primary foci of the training this year was taking blood pressures and interpreting the findings so they would know when to refer patients for emergency care or follow-up. Equipment was purchased for each village and will be distributed after Martha and Pinkey reinforce the teaching and double check accuracy of readings. Here are a couple of highlights from the class.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

New definition of cute!

The colorful saris and bright shawls of the women filled the church in Kathmandu where we worshiped today. The children are beautiful! We thought this one took cute to a whole new level. I used the paper-bead necklaces made by our Zambian Kafwa to provide an illustration during the service and then handed it to the children to inspect. They scrutinized the necklace in great detail and could not believe it was made from paper. Perhaps there's a paper-bead project in Nepal's future...

Friday, March 21, 2014

Nepali stoves

If there are an infinite number of shapes and sizes of cow dung fuel patties, there are equally as many little local stove designs. We were fortunate to see a number in Biratnagar. We (Jac, Binod and I) had a very informative and stimulating meeting this morning with Jai Rajbhandari who works with the Himalaya Stove Project among other programs. They provide efficient clean-burning metal stoves free of charge to communities that agree to work together for additional community self-help programs. Very innovative approach. Even though the stoves are free, each community member must "buy" one and pay about $12 each. All of the money then stays in the community to be used for another project such as rice mills.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cow Dung

We had an amazing Introduction to Cow Dung 101!! Just a couple of blocks from downtown Biratnagar, the second largest city in Nepal, we were immediately immersed in a very rural culture. Blogger won't allow me to attach very many pictures but, trust me, there are more shapes and sizes to cow dung patties used for cooking fuel than you can imagine. Some are formed into bowl shapes, some are flat and stuck on the sides of the walls or roofs to dry. Some are mixed with straw and formed around sticks like logs. The lady in the picture is breaking pieces off the stick type and feeding the chunks to the fire after she got it started with wood branches. Regardless of shape or size, however, they all give off smoke that is toxic to breathe. The women and children are the most vulnerable since they are the cooks. I did get very excited to see a small T shaped stool next to one stove and thought that would at least save the woman's back. Alas, I found it was meant to hold a candle....the women still squat for hours tending the fires and cooking.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


No matter where you venture in the world, you find chicks that are nurtured by family.  These lucky little fluffs have a Mom close at hand.  That all human 'chicks' should be so fortunate...

Is it True?

We heard a rumor that a Girls' Achievement Program (GAP) was coming to Chipulukusu.  Is it true?  We never dreamed we might someday have a chance to go to high school...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Soyamsabika at work

Sangita is an amazing healthworker! She just graduated from a nursing program and also volunteers as a Soyamsabika health worker in our program. She took us around her community yesterday and introduced us to some of her patients. The women were busy working wherever we want. In some cases she took blood pressures..Jac passed with flying colors!

She had been called to a home of a 25 year-old lady one night when she was in labor and bleeding profusely. This was her fourth baby. Sangita arranged for an ambulance (cost of $10 US) and got her to the hospital where she delivered the baby she is holding. Sangita is now helping the mother with family planning. We were welcomed warmly at every home we visited. Many presented us with a small brass pot full of cool water to hold. We were not expected to use the water just to hold it. Amazing how refreshing that felt!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Taxi anyone?

This little rickshaw taxi, along with a line of similar vehicles, greeted us when we stepped off the plane in Biratnagar Nepal yesterday. Alas our local hosts had arranged a car taxi so we didn't get to ride in the rickshaw. We soon headed to the little church on the outskirts of town (things turned rural immediately with cows, haystacks, etc) where a group was suppose to meet us. When we drove up the building was totally dark and I thought they had decided not to come. Then a little girl popped up out of no where and gave us each a red rose. Then another little girl and another rose...then another little girl... We followed them down a path and emerged in a building with a room illuminated by one little candle. No wonder it looked dark from the outside! They sang delightful songs for us and gave us garlands made of marigolds. Tomorrow we will visit the village homes.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Pinkey in action

It is so good to see Pinkey again!  She masterfully organized the Soyamsabika health worker training for us this week in Kathmandu.  Many of the volunteers had to travel a couple of days to get in from the rural areas.  We are especially excited that a new book, Where Women Have No Dr. was just published in the Nepali language.  Super resource that will be very helpful for the many women who truly have no access to a doctor.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Under valued

March 8 was International Women's Day. It definitely does not get the PR needed. We were appalled by this young girl and her mother who trudged along the hot sand beach setting up their little show and then begging for money. The girl should be in school! We like Warren Buffet's advice: when you are investing choose something undervalued with great potential. That's why we have chosen girls and women.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


We visited today with a sweet little girl who lives in a slum in Mumbai near the Dhobi Ghat, a huge outdoor laundry. She was selling colorful little purses on the street. She spoke very good English so Jac complimented her and asked if she was studying English in school. She suddenly looked sober, dropped her gaze and quietly said, "My family does not have money to send me to school." I couldn't help but think of the difference between future possibilities for this little girl and the bright eyed little girls in our schools in Africa. Education is an absolute requirement for girls to have a chance for a better tomorrow. That's why we are so adamantly enthusiastic about our Girls Achievement Program.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Welcomed by an elephant

We made it safely to Mumbai! There was an adorable little elephant in our room to welcome us. Made of washcloths and decorated with flower petals ---our new pal!

Sent from my iPa

Monday, March 3, 2014

On the way..

As you can tell by the change of clothes and happy smile we are back on track.   We finally made it home last night late, did laundry, repacked and headed back to the airport.  Thanks to a slight shift in weather, the predicted snow storm missed Newark, our first stop, so we are hanging out at their airport and ready to depart for India/Nepal soon.  We will update you when we reach Mumbai  -- a 15 hour flight.  Looks like there will be time to watch a grammy-award movie tonight as well as sleep.  At least we won't have to worry about connecting flights!

Nepal here we come!

We have tickets to leave today for Nepal.  Snowstorms willing, we will actually go!  Can hardly wait...this time we plan to travel to one of the rural areas near the India border where Bishnu lives.  On our trip last year he alerted us to the many lung diseases caused by the in-house open cooking fires fueled with cow dung.  This trip we'll be searching for solutions with him that will address this major issue.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Third cancelled flight

We slept on the floor at the Denver airport last night and are now on our third cancelled flight today and still not home. We are trying to get back to KC so we can leave tomorrow for Nepal. Isn't Jac the picture of a nerve wracked traveler? In the midst of chaos he calmly reads on....

Sent from my iPad