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This fundraiser ended on 02/04/11

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We're raising money so the Nabin Primary School in Nepal can purchase land to accommodate a new building and the children's first playground

"Namaste" is the common greeting in Nepal. It means, "The Spirit within me recognizes and honors the Spirit within you." In all my travels, I don't think I've found a better greeting than "Namaste." It is a gesture that goes beyond "hello." It conveys respect, equality, and a sense of togetherness - the same feelings that led me to start this effort. In all my life, I have never felt so humbled as I did in my two visits to the Khanal Tok area of Nepal. The residents have little, but they are some of the most generous people I have ever met. And it is because of this generosity I have been shown by the villagers that I'd like to try and make a positive impact on their lives, as they have positively impacted mine. My goal - to raise the necessary funds so that the village can purchase the land needed to improve their primary school.

Here is my story: Through my friend, a Buddhist monk (he goes by "Lucky Monk"), I got to know Khanal Tok, tucked away in the hills east of Kathmandu. I made two visits there, and each time I was treated like a family member. Every house we stopped at along the way took us in, offered us some food and drink, and even offered me a place to stay for future visits. I felt welcome from the start. It was during my first time in the area when our group visited the Nabin Primary School. We were welcomed by the students and faculty with song, dance, and some of the biggest smiles you could imagine. We took a tour of the school - two small one-story buildings, each with a few rooms. Each room hosts one grade level where the students and teachers sit on the floor. In one of the buildings there was a library/computer room, which I estimate is the size of the average living room in the U.S. It was an incredibly modest set-up, but the teachers and students were clearly enthusiastic - they make it work. It was after our visit to the school I learned that the World Bank has pledged to help the village with the school. The World Bank loan project would construct a new school building, and an older building will be torn down and turned into a playground (currently the children don't have one). However, the World Bank cannot help until the village owns the property site. This land (50 meters square) is privately-owned and would cost the village around $11,000 USD to purchase. In Nepal, the majority of the population lives on about $2 USD/day, so purchasing this land is no small feat.

Deadlines are key.The World Bank intends to cancel the project if the land does not belong to the Nabin Primary School by March 2011. Knowing that raising this amount of money is much more achievable in the States, I came home with a mission. I wish everyone could experience the same hospitality I received from those who have so little for themselves. Their generosity encourages me daily, and it was a lesson in kindness that I will not forget. Please consider joining with me on this mission. Namaste.

Joe Curtin  jpc.curtin@gmail.com

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