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October, 2014

New Horizons & New Opportunities

We, in our western societies, take so much for granted, leading a somewhat blinkered
existence as we go about our daily lives. Of this I became aware at the close of my most
recent visit to Nepal when I departed the Kathmandu airport in the company of a young Nepali
woman who I was escorting to the United Kingdom. Boarding a flight after safely negotiating
the officialdom of migration and security, we took our allotted seats, my companion (by name
Shanta Khatri) having the cherished window seat. It was her first flight and I wanted her to
experience it to its fullest. Looking out of the window was of course part of that. Strapped-
in and relaxed, I awaited take-off. A rather tense Shanta sat next to me, grasping my arm as the
plane roared down the runway and swiftly rose into the air. Shanta managed to suppress her
desire to scream with terror by digging her fingers deep into my arm!

Once in the air, we could relax and look out on the scene below, although there was not much
to be seen as it was already night time. Still, there was enough light for us to look out and see
the port-side wing! All was well.or was it??

Shanta: Papa! Whats wrong with the wing?
I take a quick look out the window. All appears in order. No need to panic!
Me: Everything looks fine, Shanta. Whats your worry?.
Shanta: But Papa, the wings arent going up and down! So how can we fly?

Naive? Yes and no! When the only experience of flight is that gleaned from observing birds,
what other conclusion should Shanta come to, seeing that she lacks any formal schooling and
has definitely never opened a text book on the physics of aerodynamics!?

Shanta had taken the first small step to remove the blinkers from my eyes, enabling me to see
the world and its wonders anew! I was deeply touched by her child-like wonder, an experience
which was to happen multiple times as Shanta revealed to me our wonderful world. And of
course, Shanta had her first lesson on the miracle of flight, with the aid of a page torn from an
in-flight magazine!

She taught me to wonder at the fact that our baggage actually arrived in London! That a strong
current of cool air whooshed down the escalator in the London Underground why? More
physics lessons! Or that there was actually a toilet on the National Express coach to Exeter!
Of course, it had to be used! That the streets were devoid of the garbage that is strewn willy-
nilly on the filthy streets of Kathmandu. London appeared clean! The suction of the vacuum
cleaner or the incredible action of the wash-machine, were added wonders that Shanta had
never before experienced, including her wonder at the sea being salty! Everything was new
and (mostly) wonderful, although that did not extend to the prices in the UK! Twentytwo
pounds for a ticket from Heathrow to Exeter for a journey of a little over 3 hours? Converted
to Nepali rupees that is an enormous Rs3,500! In Nepal, Shanta pays about Rs600 for an 8
hour bus ride from her village to Kathmandu! Or in pounds.just 3.20
Shanta began to understand that Westerners were not rich after allas Nepali tend to believe.
How could they be when prices were so high! Now alone in the UK, Shanta has to grapple
with this reality herself. No Shanta! You wont find the fabled money-treenot even in
the UK!

Shanta sailed through immigrationwell, almost! There was one slight hiccup, with Shanta
believing I was about to be arrested! It just happened that Shanta mentioned to the
immigration control officer that she was being escorted by an older English man! Ooops!
Wrong thing to say! She was taken to a secure detention area and I was approached (Id
already passed through immigration) and asked to accompany the officer elsewhere! I was
quizzed! Thinking that Shanta was having problems with documents, I cooperated as fully as
possible and asked what her problem was! There wasnt anynot with her! The problem
was me!! It evolved that the officer had concerns that I was .eh! yes! Trafficking girls
from Asia into the UK for questionable activities!! Oh dear!! Fortunately, with the help
from our first host in Devon (via telephone), the officer was finally satisfied that we were
kosher and let Shanta enter the country..with me as escort! What a trauma for Shanta!
She broke down in tears, but a ride on the London Tube soon put those experiences behind her!
Ten days of touring the UK followed, before arriving at Emerson College on the 20 September
for enrolment!

I cannot say just how deeply indebted I am to Rudolf Kaesbach (course turtor) and Yvette
Dellsperger (accommodation & meals) for their immense generosity in granting Shanta a
FULL tuition, accommodation and meal (lunch) scholarship for the 6 month duration of her
participation in the Visual arts Course. This scholarship is valued at 6535! Although it
has been granted with no-strings-attached. I have nevertheless agreed with Rudolf that efforts
will be made to fund-raise what we can to repay this scholarship or a portion thereof. Any
donations will be shared 50/50 with tution and accommodation. 6535 is a great deal of
money to raise and I have thus decided to aim for 3000 at the outset!

In addition, there have been other expenses at considerable cost. Shanta is without any
reserves whatsoever, neither does her blind mother (father was murdered) have any savings.
So there is a need to fund-raise for a further 2000 (actual cost is closer to 3000). That
makes a total of 5000 to fund raise over the next months!

Perhaps you would like to help? Shanta has written about herself and her hopes for the future,
information that can be accessed at From Street Beggar to Teacher -
which accepts donations to PayPal. Please share this link with your friends for crowd-
funding attempts!

Alternatively, any donations can be made direct to Social Endeavours Nepal through the
PayPal account via (Label: APPEAL 4 SHANTA)



Week One water colour painting, clay modelling and wood carving.

Week Two Painting and Clay Modelling