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Fourth Update from India

29 March 2010

Mosquito Screens Project – Sunway Children Home

A couple of weeks ago our Board approved the purchase and install of mosquito screens at Sunway Home #2.  How hard can it be to have mosquito screens built and installed?  Sounds easy, right?

I first noted the need for the screens when I was at the home attending an evening talent show put on by the children and found literally clouds of mosquitoes within the home.  I first can assure you Bihar is filled with mosquitoes and the windows of the home didn’t have mosquito screens, shutters or windows.  The home is in the middle of agricultural fields that are highly popular with mosquitoes.  The little fellows can carry malaria which can prove fatal to people, especially to children under 5 years old.

Paper Kite works to provide the orphanages with items they require, instead of items we think they require and will never use.  Or perhaps mosquito screens are important but not their most pressing need.  With that in mind I asked Yrsa, Sunway’s Founder, what she saw as their most pressing need for the homes.  Mosquito screens for Home #2 was her quick response showing we were on the same page.  I asked permission to work with her home managers to coordinate the installation of the screens and she agreed.  Then I solicited and received approval from Paper Kite’s Board through a Skype meeting.

So just over 2 weeks ago I embarked on a journey with a carpenter.  So far I have enjoyed the overall experience.  During my numerous visits to the carpenter we’ve gone from negotiating through an interpreter to sharing sweet peas and Chai with his father, brother, and him.  I have learned that my being in his shop is a good reminder and work usually resumes on our project so I have camped in his shop a few days to move things along.

During our sessions I’ve learned of his three sons, the eldest having passed away in 2008 while his two younger sons work with him in the shop.  He’s provided Chai and sweet peas.  I’ve given him flowers to give to his wife (I recycled flowers one of the orphanages gave me).  We’ve admired the work of his employees.  We’ve looked meaningfully as he waved his hands in a pacifying manner at a pile of lumber that I figured would become our project.  We’ve chatted much about the project schedule.  This has been no small feat given his English is only slightly better than my Hindi.

Yesterday, I again camped in his shop and work finally finished on the screens.  So the screens, a carpenter and I were loaded into a moto-rickshaw and off we went to the home.  Another carpenter followed on a bike.  I was pleased to see screens’ being installed but the work wasn’t completed yesterday.  I went to the carpenter’s shop this morning and he said his staff was already at the home but the power had been out.  He then asked for payment.  I asked if they had finished the job and he confirmed it.  To protect our donor’s money, Paper Kite pays suppliers only after we see and approve their work, with good reason.  Once at the home I found that nothing had been done since the day before.  Had I paid him I would have nothing to hold him to completing the job.

Here’s hoping tomorrow brings power and carpenters at the same time at the same place.  I’ll write another posting to let you know the outcome of a project that has become Mosquito Screens 2010.

Namaste,

Jason

2 Responses to “Fourth Update from India”

  1. Thank you for the updates. I can only imagine the differences the mosquito nets will make in the children’s lives. It is great to see how Paper Kite is progressing and supporting the orphanages. I am amazed that Paper Kite is run by volunteers.
    It is heartfelt that you ‘payed it forward’ by recycling the flowers. Jason, thank you for your self-less service by paying for your flight and expenses while in India. With Paper Kite’s president paying for 2009 operation costs and your selfless service, Paper Kite is truly committed to making a difference in the lives of the orphanages in Bihar, India.
    You have inspired me to fundraise for Paper Kite in South Western Ontario. My personal goal is to raise $30,000 for Paper Kite this year :)

  2. Jason Hutchison says:

    Wow! That’s an amazing commitment Danielle! The orphans face so many challenges; know that your contribution will make a huge difference in their lives. I know you are working with Tarik. Please let me know if I can help as well.

    Best wishes,
    Jason

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