Arrived and settling in

I woke up this morning to the sounds of birds tweeting and a yoga class underway somewhere in the vicinity.  I will have to check that out, always a good start to the day. I briefly met 3 young Australians who are also staying at Lok’s.  I mean mid 20s when I say young ….. lordy am I aging or what?!  The two girls are occupational therapists voulnteering at a children’s centre and the lad is teaching English …. taking a break before he breaks into the world of investment management – I cannot escape?!

Breakfast was hearty and delicious and Lok kindly put me on the right bus to SIRC.  I managed to cross the road without getting knocked down (fortunately my stay in London served me well, navigating manic traffic) and walked up the hill to SIRC.  Glorious morning after a foggy start, it’s good to get stuck in straight away at ‘work’.

Enroute from the airport yesterday, I stopped into SIRC and met with Prakash who assists Esha with administration of the clinic.  He gave me a quick tour of the clinic which was great to see in person.  There are currently about 30 male and 20 female patients in the clinic at this time, all at various stages of their rehabilitation.  The space is amazing, and all wheelchair accessible right up to the rooftop where they have a basketball court and also play badminton.  Pretty impressive.  I also saw the occupational therapy (OT) area and the vocational training are where they learn how to make candles, sew and the new thing, felting.  Basically have the ability to generate an alternate income from these new skills once they return home.

Some of you may remember the silent auction I ran in Nov 2011 on Bowen, these items are similar to those lovely bags and purses that were for auction.  They currently sell them locally in Banepa but for sure they could sell many more in Thamel (the tourist destination in Kathmandu).  Maybe something I could do??

Right now I am familiarizing myself with SIRC and all it’s achievements.  I’ve just been handed the freshly minted strategic plan 2011-2016 so will get stuck into this document, and after a chat with Esha, hopefully get into something meaningful in the next few days.

In the meantime I am enjoying the incredibly slow pace with which Nepali life hums to.  No complaints from me. Wish me luck for the bus ride home this evening, no crossing of roads required thankfully!

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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9 Responses to Arrived and settling in

  1. Grace Coffey says:

    What a start to your new life – sounds really amazing and only day 2!!! Hope you arrived home safe and sound. gxx

  2. jennywest51 says:

    Kate, what you are up to is so exciting and inspiring. I know you will absolutely make the most of it and give ‘er your all! Thanks for bringing me along on your journey in this way. Love you love you love you. Jenny

  3. jgedye says:

    did your pkg to yourself arrive?  can we send you goody bags?  sweet or savoury? j

    Sent from Samsung Mobile

  4. bkmiec says:

    Nice to think of you “enjoying the incredibly slow pace with which Nepali life hums to.” Very nice indeed…. xoxo b

  5. I am so happy you are blogging. I feel like I am a part of this journey and can’t wait to keep following you. Much love xoxo

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