Friday, December 22, 2006


Where once you fail, so shall you try again. That at least was the thinking of the Umbrella Foundation, when they "rescued" our kids the Wednesday before Christmas. (By the way they excel at creative writing)

The Boys El Luchador and his sidekick Bay and Badrush Saran

Now they are a very well funded and very well connected organization here in Nepal. And there is no doubt that they provide excellent facilities for the kids, but what happened that Wednesday night amounted to nothing short of kidnapping.

I rocked up to the orphanage to find a vast majority of the kids in a state of near panic, and discovered that the manager and his wife had been imprisoned. The kids had been told at school that they were to be "taken" that day and had been detained at school for that purpose. The principal of their school (wisely) decided that the school should not be involved and sent them home.
My fellow cohort James, I was later to learn had also been at the school trying to find out what was going on. He arrived at the orphanage just when all the drama began to happen.

I had been trying to tell the kids that they wouldn't be going because there had been rumours almost every week since the last time there had been a rescue attempt. But around 5pm ish, a very angry adolescent girl pointed out two very officious looking people and exclaimed "See! See!", in a tone that only an indignant juvenile can manage. They then disappeared for some chiya and were quickly replaced by two government officials and a dude who looked like he'd just walked off the set of the Nepali remake of "The Bodyguard". With his earpiece in and phone at the ready, shades on, arrogant swagger, he was not quite as smooth as Kevin Costner but he was trying, hard. Turns out he was a reporter.

Rajani Gurung Anita Rai Sunita Nepali Sushila Rai Anita Tamang Eman Gurung

The government dudes introduced themselves and wanted a quick tour of the premises. I obliged. All the while trying to calm down a dozen children or more. Most of whom loudly proclaiming their unwillingness to leave. Upon asking said officials if the kids were going to be taken or not, I received "Maybe", "We are unsure about the situation" and more such bollocks. Politicians everywhere can never give a straight answer.

So now we had, me, the kids, two government lackies (one of whom was apparently a "Head of Division"), the reporter, the police had arrived (minus their weapons this time) with the manager and his wife in tow, James, and the entire village looking on.
There was still no sign of any representative of from the Umbrella Foundation. It was starting to get dark, the kids had started cooking the evening meal, the police were standing over them whilst they were trying to pack, there were tears, there was a lot of anger and confusion (not only from the kids). Oh, and there was no transport as yet.

We had to witness most of the hardest parts from James' room opposite the orphanage. When it was pitch black our hungry kids got packed into taxis to be taken to their new homes. It was at this point that a rep from Umbrella rocked up. On his phone. Throwing namaste around at the kids like he'd known them forever. But, where was he when a couple of sisters started screaming? Where was he when they clung to the pillars of the house because they did not want to go? Where was he when they had to be escorted by the alleged "enemy" (the manager's wife) out to the waiting taxis? Not in bloody sight. That's where.

Karmalal Soni Gurung Krishna Sarina Gurung Deepak Hilal and Som

Oh and as we didn't know about the "rescue" do you think Umbrella tried to find out any pertinent information with regards to medical history/allergies/problems that may be plaguing the kids? Of course they bloody didn't. Too wrapped up in being the "Knight in Shining friggin Amour" they were. We were later to learn that said representative had sent out an email declaring that the kids had been "happy" to see him and that they had been "liberated". Yes I'm sure screaming and crying fearful children can always be seen as "happy to be liberated".

It was a crap night that saw me and James head into Thamel and get right royally plastered. Can't remember much of what happened after the "liberation", but the actual event is still a very vivid memory.

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