April 2020

Such an interesting time globally for us all. I hope this update finds you and your family well. I also hope this news brings you hope and joy in this time of uncertainty.

I just returned from Nepal amidst the coronavirus chaos. Thankfully I was able to spend 9 days with the staff and children before having to cut the visit short to return to NZ. In those 9 days I was very busy spending quality time with all of the children, giving out donated items and holding meetings with the team. We were able to discuss our progress, the problems that need solving and our future plan which I’ll explain in this update.

First, for those of you not on Facebook, I was donated 25kgs of warm jackets and fleeces from Lyndon at Byond Disaster Relief – a NZ charity with clothing donated from the ski fields staff that needed to be donated to an overseas mission. These donations will keep our Fireflies super warm and greatly humbled this winter. Also a big thank you to Kate Hargraves who co-ordinated the Lions Club to donate two large boxes of eyeglasses for me to distribute. The joy in these people’s faces wearing their new glasses was very special. Indira will continue to distribute these to villagers and prisoners accordingly.

We also had many people donate games, puzzles, stationary and books for the children. It was perfect timing to transport these in our luggage, as they are now in lockdown with a lot of entertainment. Thank you to those who donated.

I was incredibly thrilled with the way Firefly is operating on a daily basis. I’m always impressed with the attitudes of the older children supervising the younger children and the love they all share as brothers and sisters. Our current team of cooks and house mothers have the place running efficiently and hygienically. The newly paved grounds complete with drainage for rainy season, provide a great space for the kids to play sports; basketball, soccer, tennis (with the newly donated racquets and balls). Eliminating the mud and dust has made a big difference.

Our new problem is the water shortage in Kathmandu Valley. Until recently we have been able to access water from a neighboring property but that has run out. Our efforts will now focus on updating our water catchment system and for the dry season, we are planning a new piping system from a friendly neighbor further up the mountain. We are still in negotiations about this. Thank you to the donors who have opted to direct their money towards capital projects. These are super important to the basic needs of our Fireflies.

My last night before flying out, many of the older Fireflies came home for dinner. Now in their late teens and early twenties, they astounded me with what beautiful and responsible adults they have become. It’s been 18 months since I’ve seen some of them and I never expected to experience such joy as seeing whom they have become. Mangali didi cooked us yummy dahl baht and we all sat around and exchanged stories of the past; lots of in jokes about growing up together. They laughed and jostled like any bunch of siblings catching up on old times. It was wonderful to be a part of and to see what growing up in a family-like environment at Firefly, has done for these amazing human beings. Briefly…

Ranjana is being sponsored by her long-serving sponsor family to complete her Masters. Laxmi is embarking on a Bachelor of Education whilst teaching English at a consultancy. Sarita and Sajina are studying Business. Nishu and Ashish are finishing college and Santosh is working for a trekking company.  Rupesh was out of town selecting new recruits for the British (Gurka) Army so he couldn’t make it that night.

To finish this update, I’d like to introduce Sharne Lucas who accompanied me on my recent trip. Sharne has taken an interest in Firefly for over a year now, helping me prepare child profiles. Seeing the work I do, and the successful and loving home that we run, Sharne is keen to help. To have someone with the passion and time to do it on a volunteer basis like myself, with the right set of skills and most importantly, a heart for vulnerable children, is a true gift! Sharne is Head Teacher managing a childcare centre in NZ. She will join me as communications coordinator; compiling profiles, updating social media and getting involved with fundraising. Having just been to Nepal, she has established relationships with the children, the staff and is familiar with how the home and the organization operates. Seeing and experiencing it all only fired her passion more!

As we continue to journey through this pandemic together, I hope you all stay well. Thank you for your continued support. Your contribution gives our Fireflies a reason to look ahead into the future with hope and joy.

Thank you,

Amanda and the team at Firefly

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