After traveling to India and then Nepal in November of 2015 I fell in love with the country of Nepal so much I decided to extend my trip by a week, and booked another stay for 2.5 months early in 2016. During my time in Nepal March through May I got to know Nisha, her little girl and the family that runs the Pokhara hotel, Hidden Paradise. Nisha and I have spent a lot of time together talking and throwing around ideas of how we can help the people of Nepal. She has a passion for the village she grew up in and wanting to help the people there, as well as many other individuals. During our talks she told me of ways she has always wanted to help. By helping the government schools, students that don’t have the money to pay for their education but do well in school and many other ideas. I have my own passions for kick starting individuals that I see potential for in a way that they end up not only caring for themselves and their family, but then come back and help more people in the same way. In a sort of a Pay it Forward kind of way.
Over the course of the few months I have been keeping up on my blog here and my Facebook Page telling stories of my travels and the ways that Nisha and I could come up with to help people in Nepal. It started with a school, then a student and then the building of a home. During this time I have been in constant communication with the people involved with Karma Flights and Orphans to Ambassadors following up with the computer lab we helped put in place during my first visit in 2015 and helping out where I could by bringing clothing to the people of Arnakot. Prem is the Director of Karma Flights, and has a large plan to help the people in Gorkha affected by the earthquake in spring of 2015. He has plans to rebuild schools destroyed in the earthquake, build libraries for additional schools and add another computer lab just like the one we worked on in Arnakot. Orphans to Ambassadors is raising the money to build the computer lab, and has been providing the funds to continue to keep the one in Arnakot running smoothly. Since I am in Nepal so much out of the year, I have been acting as a go between the two organizations to keep communications flowing and help keep the projects moving along.
In May of this year I flew back to Seattle with a plane ticket already purchased to fly back to Nepal in September. I had set the following goals for myself during my time in the states to prepare for my time in Nepal and the work I want to do.
Find a job or enough consulting work to earn a set amount of money to carry me through the end of the year. Covering my time in Nepal and my costs when I fly back to the states in November for the holidays.
My monthly expenses have gotten out of hand. From $160/mo cell phone bills, $150/mo storage fees, $380/mo car payment and the $1,500/mo I paid for my 3 horses in addition to my standard living costs. The tech industry spoiled me and I have the monthly expenses to show for it. It is time to retire the way of living that I have grown accustomed to and cut as many (if not all) of my monthly expenses.
- TIKA NEPAL
I have started selling items made by the people of Nepal that I had met to my Facebook friends and eventually on Etsy. It seems to be a great way to make a little extra money and provide the financial help we need for the volunteer work Nisha and I are doing. The shop itself is supporting in many ways by buying handmade goods, supporting the economy, providing work for Nisha (and in the future, hopefully more), and the money goes back to supporting education all for the people of Nepal. The products have been selling to brick and mortar shops and small chain stores, and it has grown to the point where I need a website and a legitimate business license for tax purposes.
- 501 (c)3
With the work that Nisha and I wanted to do, people were sending money via PayPal to my personal account. While I appreciated the help, I haven’t ever felt right about things not going through an official non-profit recognized by the US Government. My goal is to set up a non-profit and file for tax-exempt status to make it all official.
It is safe to say that all of the goals were accomplished during my time.
- I worked for two companies over the summer on contract. Both are providing enough money to pay off debts I had accrued during my last visit to Nepal, cover my living expenses for the summer, pay for the things I need to accomplish some of the goals (like moving company from storage to my parent’s garage), and provide some money to live off of while in Nepal. I am even able to help with Nisha’s new home to get her started with the foundation.
- My car was picked up by the x Husband (being that I was default by a month on the payments and it was in his name) eliminating my car payment, I shut off my phone, moved my things out of storage and sold off most of it all, cut my horses down to just one that is half leased out to cover his board. All leaving me with just a few hundred going out each month and living expenses (not to exceed $700/mo including food and housing).
- Tika Nepal is an official business registered with the state of Washington, a business checking account set up with a bank, and a website has been started.
- I tried to start a 501(c)3 by gathering a board, completing a business plan and filing for a license. The tricky part has been in getting a board together. Most of my friends that would be remotely interested in supporting the efforts in Nepal are already involved in non-profits and don’t want to take time away from the work they are already doing. A few people I have asked said they would be on the board as long as they didn’t have to do much of anything. I figured I could do most of the work myself, but still that isn’t ideal.
I had reached 3 out of my 4 goals, which is pretty good, however, the 4th goal was pretty important. I really appreciate when people send me money, however large or small it is. Even $10 can pay for notebooks and pencils for 3-4 students, which is a pretty big deal. I would rather that all of the help I receive be funneled through the proper channels. So, my struggle is a big issue, even if the amount of donations I get are small.
I can now go into August happy that I have all of my goals complete, and look forward to my time in Nepal.