Ram’s Wheelchair Yaatra

I have been mentioning about Ram’s quest to travel in a wheelchair from the monastery in Namo Buddha to birthplace of Buddha in Lumbini.  One of the initial stages was to seek permission to commence the yaatra (the word means pilgrimage with a religious purpose) from the monastery at Namo Buddha.  We received that permission, and also received permission to end his yaatra at Lumbini.  Fantastic!  We could then start to plan his yaatra in earnest. First up is a fundraiser that we are arranging in Kathmandu on Friday March 21st.  Check it out on SIRC Facebook and also SIRC website.  The sports bar where we watched the Six Nations rugby game, is providing us with the venue free of charge.  I guess they made some money from the 30 or so rugby fans who were there that night 😉  They will also promote the event to their patrons which we are delighted with.  We already have a bunch of invite acceptances so we should get a good number attending. Our focus now is to finalize the script for Ram that he will use at the fundraiser and also at every checkpoint along the route.  Ram will tell the story of how he injured his spine, his rehab at SIRC and how his life has changed for the better since then. He will also sing the folk song he has written telling this story, and will accompany himself with the sarangi.  The sarangi in Nepal is a folk string instrument made of wood and sheep’s skin, and the sound is haunting.  It reminds me of the evocative sounds of Oliver Schroer’s Camino CD, I find the music to be spiritual.  It’s a beautiful experience to hear Ram sing his song.  We hope to make a quick movie, once we do I’ll share it with you all. Second task is to finalize the presentation that SIRC’s Community Based Rehabilitation staff member Prajwal will deliver also at every checkpoint along the route.  The presentation will be primarily used to increase awareness for SCI:  how the spine can be injured, what to do if the spine is suspected to be injured, what rehab entails and how SIRC can help.  It will be non-medical and low tech given the audience. The checkpoints along the route where both Ram and Prajwal will present, all have been defined.  We will post that schedule soon on both the website and FB page, so watch out for that. Some of you have been asking how you can donate.  So generous!  The issue is the Nepalese banking system does not support on-line donation functions, more’s the pity.  So for now I’m afraid it is direct deposit to our bank account here in Nepal.  However your bank could charge you $200 CAD or so to make the transfer of funds, so please hold off for now.   We are in the process of seeing if we can leverage a partner’s online donation function and direct the funds to SIRC.  Stay tuned for that. And if anyone is interested, Ireland play Italy in the Six Nations on Saturday 2.30pm GMT. Despite our loss 2 weeks ago, Ireland still sits at the top of the table.  It should stay this way after this weekend’s game 🙂 Go on the Boys in Green!

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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4 Responses to Ram’s Wheelchair Yaatra

  1. Katherine says:

    Hi Kate, I send money to a Nepali bank account and my bank charges me $20 regardless of the amount I send. It was $10 for awhile but is now $20.
    Great news about Rick Hanson’s endorsement.

  2. Grace Coffey says:

    Great to hear that your support of the Boys in Green gets you a venue for a well deserved cause. Wishing you all the very best of luck – from a fundraising point of view and of course the rugby game!! Have a great weekend. gx

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