Stories of Nepal: Tope
Friday, August 10, 2018
We have partnered with our brilliant friend Jay from Stories of Nepal to tell the stories of individuals at Kopila Valley and in the surrounding communities. Jay is currently in Surkhet visiting our project and will continue traveling westward sharing stories about women and children, their families, the struggles of mothers and issues pertinent to parenthood. Jay will also be talking to individuals who have found inspiration through their own struggles and have committed themselves to bring positive change in people's lives thus empowering communities. We have admired Jay's work for quite some time and feel so honored to have him here. Please follow along with this series - we will be calling it #OneHumanFamily.
"I must have been 7 or 8. I must have made a demand for money or a toy with Mother. I remember she put me on her lap, wrapped me around her shoulders and said, 'Son, I am sorry. You were only one when your father left us to be with the Gods. And your widowed Mother has nothing to give you. But please understand I love you more than I love my whole being. Please forgive me, son, that I am not able to give you the joy you deserve.' I remember tears dripping down her face like rain onto my forehead. I was fatherless but I had enough maturity to understand Mother’s hurt. I had coaxed her, 'Do not worry mother, I was just jokingly making demands with you, for all I need is you. I do not need money or any lifeless toy.' It had not worked. Mother, seeing my innocence, had cried even harder. When I turned 10, a neighbour interrupted my playtime and ushered me home. I saw mom lie lifeless in the porch. I knew she had died. She had died due to mourning, first my father and then the untimely death of one of my sisters. At the age of 10, I had become an orphan. Soon after, I quit school to meet the demands of the fields. And at 12, in hope to find a better life, I ran away from home.
I had no guidance but life taught me. And because I was always looking for opportunities for a better life, I came into contact with a generous lady who took me in, to work at her humanitarian organisation. Selflessly, I worked for the children there for I could relate to them. They had lost their parents as I had. Their struggles were mine. Some evenings, at the end of each workday, I would sit in my room and wonder about my village. I would think about home, mother and my childhood. Gradually, the longing to go back home became so strong that I decided to return home and continue my work helping orphans. As I made the decision, I met a young girl named Maggie who shared a similar passion and understood what it was like to be an orphan. Together, we embarked on a journey back to Nepal with a determination to provide support to impoverished children…
Today, at the Kopila Valley School, I spend my time around children who have led a similar childhood as I had. I ask them questions about their village, their parents and how it was like staying home. I can quickly relate to their trauma. And their stories motivate me to continue doing my work. I talk to children who are raised by single mothers and their stories take me back to the days with my mother. I still remember the day when mother had cried of hurt because she was not able to give me what I had asked for. But, I am content today. Because I did not give up so easily and because I found support, many children are able to live a normal life that I was once deprived of. The joy and laughter of these children at present have given me the strength to move forward in life. I feel healed from the traumas of the past." (Tope Bahadur Malla, Kalikot)