Desperate Girls

The Badi Girls

Between 7,000 and 12,000 young girls, aged 9-16, are trafficked each year from Nepal; mainly to India. According to Nepal Monitor/On line journal, 2007, there are more than 200,000 Nepali girls in Indian brothels.

The Dalits(untouchables) are the lowest level in Hindu society, and the Badi community, in Western Nepal, are the lowest of the low. As a displaced hungry people group the Badi community has made sexual subservience a way of life. Young girls from this group “serve” other groups. This has become a tradition and means of livelihood. Many girls, even when they are unwilling, are forced to serve as sex slaves. Family members knowingly sell their daughters to traffickers.

Though prostitution is illegal in Nepal, the industry reportedly has links with highly ranked officials and political leaders. Large groups of girls are taken across the border with many police and government officials being in collusion with traffickers and brothel owners.

Traffickers and related criminals are often protected by political parties, and if arrested, are freed using political power. As a result, there is an underlying distrust of police that has led people not to file cases against traffickers.

Domestic action involves activities of NGO’s and other volunteer groups. These groups are playing a major role to address girl-trafficking and sex slaves issues. Some NGO’s are playing a very important role to improve the situation. From creating social awareness to rescuing and rehabilitation, they are providing services (and relief) to those that need it the most – the likely victims as well as the rescued ones. The Lighthouse foundation is one of these.

*See Chandra Kala’s story on this blog site.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Tuesday 5th, Solid ground

We often say of a stable person, that "he has both feet on the ground" and solid ground is a comforting thing.  When that security is taken away, it is quite terrifying.  Yet in the midst of everything, we knew that we had our feet planted solidly on our Rock, Jesus Christ.  He has his plans for us and nothing in heaven or earth or under the earth can change that.  If it is the time to go home and be him, or face what is ahead,  he gives courage in the moment.  Leann can testify to that as she was on her knees in that crumbling building.  My old Mum loved Ps 40, especially where it says "He set my feet upon a rock" It had a very special meaning for her when she was in deep waters.  
One of my favourite songs is "Only You Remain" By Mercy Me.
You remain, even when the earth is shaken,
You remain, even when our kings have fallen
Every mountain standing tall will crash into the sea
You were, you are and you will be,
Only you remain.

The above road was the one we had to drive over on our way into Kathmandu.
I know which strong foundation I want my feet planted firmly upon.
He is our strong tower, our mighty fortress.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.

I guess that this will be our last blog for now.  The Freedom Tour begins last weekend in May providing the earthquake in Nepal doesn't interfere with our plans.  I will resume the blog for the journey of three months from Cairns to Melbourne and many places in between.

Hope to see you on Tour, and show everyone our beautiful girls.

Monday, 4 May 2015

4th May. Home again, heavy hearted for what we left behind

We arrived home late last night, very weary after the past week.  It was with sadness we flew out at midnight on Saturday.  We had experienced first hand the fear, chaos, and instinct to survive.  We have seen the misery and hopelessness of the poor who have lost what little they have left, without a single resource at their disposal.
On the Saturday, our team were in three groups. Grahame was in the main church in Kathmandu, I was in the little village of Dolalghat, with most of the team, and Ian and Leann Buckley (who have just moved to Kathmandu and will be living at Dolaghat for the next 5 years) went on to  Sangharchok, another little village about half an hour away.  The quake hit at 11.55 just as church was finishing.  The main church in Kathmandu is a single story building with  about 400 plus people inside.  Everyone got out safely and went to an open field nearby, away from buildings and power lines.
The church that most of us were in we call the loft church.  It is perched on the edge about 30 feet high above the river.  It is a flimsy building at the best of times, of bricks and old wood. To get inside there is a very steep flight of wooden stairs almost like a ladder.  Then through a narrow doorway into this little loft room.  It was packed with maybe 50 -60 people.  We always said it was a death trap if there was a fire, never thinking of an earthquake.  We were just ready to leave, when the whole building began heaving.  We only stayed on our feet because there were so many of us.  There was a frantic dash for the door and the narrow stairs.  The adrenaline kicks in and it all seems a bit of a dream.  It is hard to imagine that it is actually happening.  Anyway, we all made it out, amid the falling bits of concrete, dirt and bits of wood.  We were then all out on the street.  Some of the houses were already just a pile of rocks on the road.  In front of the church was a hill, and all down the street swaying electric light wires, with the river at the back.  Then a second big one hit, 6.6 on the scale.  The road was rocking and we grouped together and prayed.  When that settled down we headed for the river bed.  At least, there was a clear area where there would be no falling rocks, houses or power lines.  The whole village were down there. Fortunately it is the dry season, otherwise the river would have been full.  As we sat there, the ground kept rocking with many aftershocks.  We were never sure if another really big one would come.  People would scream and cry.  We were told a little baby had been killed by falling bricks.

Ian and Leann were in the basement of their building where the little church meets.  As the quake hit, Ian was thrown off his feet, and everyone frantically tried to get out.  The building was falling down on one wall.  Leann couldn't get out so she just got on her knees and prayed.  A couple of ladies clung to her and they rode it out till the shaking stopped.  Everyone got out , but there was terrible devastation on the street.  People had been killed, badly injured and walking around dazed.  Because our van was there driving the team out from Kathmandu, it was loaded with the worst wounded, to try to get them to a hospital..No on knew if the mountain road out was even open or safe.  Ian and Leann got out of the van where we were on the river bed and the wounded were taken to get help.  We were five hours waiting with the village folk, wondering if the van would be back.  It was late in the day and we thought we might be sleeping out in the open that night.  The van returned late afternoon and the driver had to wash out the blood from the van before we could get in.  The seats were stained with blood and we sat on plastic bags.

The road was strewn with rocks and rubble sliding down the mountain.  We thankful to God that we were all safe and we had a wonderful driver who had taken the wounded and then driven an hour and half back to get us.  He could have decided not to endanger himself for our sakes.  He skilfully  navigated the narrow road and we felt confident with him.  We passed the big brick factory on the way home and all the big chimneys  from the firing of bricks had broken off.  When we got to Kathmandu, the big wide highway that the Chinese had built must have been waving around like waves.  It had collapsed in places and we had to drive through like off road driving without the four wheel drive.  We arrived home to our guesthouse in tact.

There were constant aftershocks, our big strong building rocking around.  One of our hostels was damaged beyond inhabiting again, so we have 65 little girls  living in the demountable building in the grounds of the guest house.

On the second day i was at hostel 4 making sure the girls sponsored from Australia were OK when what sounded like a freight train coming down the lane sent all the girls into a panic and the neighbours ran from everywhere to the clearing in front of the hostel.
As the surrounding buildings were rocking and rolling  and the girls were crying and screaming we decided to move the girls to the river about 20 minutes walk away. We lined them up with an older girl in front and marched them off 12 at a time. One girl was having a panic attack  and was hyperventilating and we had to pray for her and calm her down before putting her between the house father and mother on the motor bike and taking her to the river. Once they were there Kushal and I went off on the bike to find plastic and underlay to make a temporary shelter.
We were putting the finishing touches (pegs holding the strips of plastic together when it began to rain.
They spent the night on the river bank. Some of our team stayed there with them through the night for protection.

On Wednesday we visited the wholesalers and purchased rice and dhal for the hostels which was stock piled in the Guesthouse. On Thursday I visited Thamel to see our friend Keshav and his family as I had not been able to reach him by phone or email and Friday, along with  25 Nepalese young people set out for Sangarchok district to distribute 2 school buses full of rice and noodles. This was a dangerous mission as the day before people lay on the road and would not allow the army to pass with 2 truckloads of rice until they dropped off enough for their village. People can get very persuasive when their families are hungry.
The next day the team went to the epicentre with 2 more buses full of rice and noodles. Because Robyn and I were flying out that evening for Australia I stayed behind. Ian, Tahlia and a representative from Metamorphic joined the team. Raju is a very effective leader in a time of crisis.
Robyn and Grahame

Saturday, 25 April 2015


Tim, in the yellow shirt, and  Peter, with the very robust beard, doing maintenance of bikes at the church.  One of our girls really wanting to be a mechanic.   They drew quite a crowd.
Tahlia, above, is here in the guest house for the next 6 months teaching ESL to the students going to Indonesia later this year,and a crash course for the Freedom Tour girls.  The couple in blue, Leann and Ian Buckle,   have just arrived, and will be here for five years.  They will be heading up the work in Dologhat, 2 hours from Kathmandu, where we plant set up a training centre/camp site.  Tomorrow, Grahame is flying to India, first to Calcutta and then to New Delhi, to further our projects there.  We had three new arrivals today.  David Westbrook, from Mackay, will be teaching in the Bible College here for the week.  Most of the team are going out to village churches tomorrow.  It is about two hours drive, but it is lovely driving through the country.  We are hoping for a good view of the Himalayas on the way.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Thursday Letters from Oz, Great Footwork, and Glamor

Some children in the  Carmichael College sent letters to the children at our school in Kathmandu.  The letters were lovely.  One little boy said he thought  something was "orsm".  I hope the children here don't think that is the correct spelling.  It is nice to have that connection between the schools across the world.    One of the team members here is a good player in a ladies soccer team, and her club have provided shirts, boots and socks for the kids.  For a few afternoons, she has been giving some basic soccer training to the girls.  Some of the shirts are a little big, as you can see, but the girls had a ball.  They eagerly await the arrival of their new Aussie trainer each afternoon after school. Also, Linda (middle) and her two daughters in their new finery.  Most of the ladies who come like to go home with a little Nepali fashion.      Robyn

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Wednesday Dinner, Elephant rides and stunning beauty

Team out to celebrate a birthday.
A night off for me from cooking.

                                                                                     Another stunning photo of our girl heading for Australia

Some team members on a trip to the zoo.  Linda's expression says it all.         Robyn

Wednesday The best teams

                                                    THE BEST TEAMS

The best teams are made up of a bunch of nobodies, who love everybody, and serve anybody, and don't care about being a somebody.

Tuesday, 21 April Exotic dresses, soccer and braided beards

One of our team members donated soccer uniforms
to the school and also one hostel.  Alley is doing some
soccer training at the school and hostel as well/

One of our beautiful girls in one of the six different exotic costumes for the Freedom Tour.  We saw a practice  session this afternoon and are looking forward  to seeing the full programme. 
One of our team members didn't escape the braiding skills of  the hostel girls.  Neatly plaited beard even adorned with flowers.  What a brave man to wear this down the street. 

Friday, 17 April 2015

Team Mission Update Nepal 16th APRIL

At the close of another amazing day for our team members.

We enjoyed another round of visits to hostels with the amazing children. It is so very easy to love on these buttons. Others visited the Miriam Centre and had a very special time with the babies. Some of the team went with Mama Robyn who was on her first visit this trip. The arrival of Mama always generates high excitement in the hostels. Loads of cuddles, giggles and often tears of joy. Robyn's input into the lives of these little ones is tangible if you get to visit with her.

Another team is up in the western provinces visiting the towns, projects and villages there. Papa Grahame is shown below after having been taught how to take the infamous 'selfie'. This team is reporting an amazing time. We look forward to their return Friday night to regale us with stories.

Learning new tech skills.


As we walked to visit another hostel late this afternoon we encountered a number of kids happily playing after their day at school. All manner of games, hide and seek, shoot em up, ball games all with shrieks of laughter made the stroll very enjoyable.

Below are some shots of the sights we enjoyed.
Greetings and games as we passed.
Shepherding the ducklings. Sooo cute.

Chief Shepherd.

Spending time in and around this nation we have the privilege of seeing the many and varied ways the people find to make a living. Here are just a few.

Restocking the cafes with soft drink.

Tools of the trade for the many seamstresses and tailors.
Pedal powered of course.

Selling cooked foods for the evening meals.
Older Nepali men discussing the day.

Counting the takings.

Tomorrow we farewell Vivienne and want to pass on our sincere appreciation for all that she has brought to the ministry. Vivienne has worked solidly and advanced the administration skills of our school leadership as she achieved her goals with the group. Please pray for her as she travels. Pray also for team member Rachael who is not well with a nasty flu. Thank you.

Till next time.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Team Mission Update Nepal 14th APRIL

Another day down in Nepal.

The team split into teams again to visit hostels, to continue training, and a host of other roles.
One team spent the morning with the toddlers and babies in the Miriam Centre while another group played with the 8 - 10 year olds. This group donated a soccer ball and spent their time vigorously playing leader ball, tunnel ball and the like much to the delight of the children.

Everyone reported a fantastic time of loving on the kids. All being impacted and touched with messages written on hands, cuddles, time spent sitting on laps. A wonderful experience.

Easy to love these little ones.

Our neighbours have been celebrating the new year and a wedding. Here are some shots of the incredibly loud band that marched the streets to announce the wedding. A marquee was erected in the vacant block next door and a street kitchen cooked all afternoon to feed the invited guests. The band with four drummers, trumpets, tuba, and a traditional seven foot long horn marched the lane ways celebrating. Again let me tell you they were LOUD!

The Wedding band. 

The wedding kitchen.

The band leader.

The red dot on the forehead know as the Tikka is a ceremonial part of the Hindu religion in Nepal. A red Tikka is asking for "good" in life, in finances, family etc.
A yellow dot is in memory of a deceased loved one. People may choose to wear no Tikka for up to 12 months while in mourning without any questions being asked about not wearing the Tikka.
A red Tikka with a silver marking indicates the wearer has been to the temple, a noble and required act.
A Tikka of red and white tells everyone that you have given to the temple.

Being a Christian in this sort of society means you stand out immediately and makes life a lot more difficult. We acknowledge the committed stance our Christian brothers and sisters make in this land.

Rainy days.
The festivals that are celebrated regularly in this country are many and varied. Currently the people are celebrating another large festival time. Crowds of hundreds of people line the streets waiting a turn in one of the dozens of small temples scattered throughout the cities, towns and villages.

A walk through the Stupa temple grounds. Seed for sale.

Laundry day.
Today is a festival day as well as new year. A part of this festival is to celebrate a married woman's husband, to pray a long healthy life for him. In a society and culture that places little value on females a woman left without her husband is facing the end of her own existence, so to pray good for your man serves the ladies interests also.

Spinning the prayer wheels.
Three, four sometimes more!
Tonights sunset. The rain clouds are clearing.
Tonights conversation to close team devotions saw many share the high points that today's activities wrought. It was a terrific opportunity to learn more about each other and to join in the things that make a trip with Transform the Nations mission awareness tours so rewarding.

Till next time.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Mission Team Update Nepal 13th APRIL

Team devotions.
Monday the 13th was a wet and cool day. A maximum of just 15 degrees with showers saw the locals selling brollies from every corner.
We welcomed eleven additional team members overnight which has filled the guest house with chatter, laughter and more. Great to have everyone here.

Vivienne and Lalima
Vivienne has been working with the school leadership team and today after class they took a trip down town complete with Vivienne as a pillion passenger on one of the motorcycles in the motorcade, quite a sight.

Look out Boudha road here they come!

Ready for some fun after a big day.

With a new team we took them for a walk to find their bearings and begin to get familiar with the area in which they reside for the next few weeks. Here are some shots of some of the sights we encountered.

Netra checking the day planner.

Farming Nepali style..

Peter was a sight not always seen for the locals with his luscious beard and he drew plenty of long looks.

Photo opportunity at a hostel visit.

Nepali Ergon in action.

Traditionally Nepali mens attire.  

Sidewalk dress sale!
There is a buzz around the town as people everywhere prepare to welcome in the Nepali new year. 2072 kicks off as of Wednesday. All manner of decorations, bunting and lights have been set up and people will enjoy meals together, music and a general period of socialising. Let you know how long it lasts soon!

Below our neighbours are getting set for a double celebration as they add a wedding to the party plans. Check out the amazing light show we enjoyed last night through our kitchen windows.

Till next time.