One year ago my family lost my 33 year old niece, our wonderful Angela. She was a bright star in our world. Her profession and her passion was taking care of children and as a result, David and I have honored her memory by dedicating one afternoon each visit to Nepal to having fun with the children of Sonrisa Orphanage (www.sonrisanepal.org). These days are called “Angela’s Afternoons”.
This past Wednesday was our third Angela’s Afternoon. We hired a big van and 15 of the children plus two Aunties, two uncles (including Bishnu- Sonria’s director), plus David, myself, Bibiana, Jason and Sibita all piled in and drove to the cinema.
Who knew that traveling in a big comfortable new van “guaranteed smooth ride” would have made so many children so car sick??? Turns out the children have no problem in the normal taxi’s of Kathmandu- the one’s with no suspension and bumps and jolts galore; but put them in a smooth riding vehicle, go over 50 km per hour and take cover. Faces turned pale, then green. In my head I could hear my niece Angela say “Oh Mylanta!” Luckily Bishnu had a supply of plastic bags and after a kind of squishy 30 minutes we made it to the theatre (tipping the van driver extra for his –ahem- clean up).
Kids are resilient though and once in the door of the giant new shopping mall restless tummies were immediately forgotten. All the adults were assigned two children who clasped our hands tightly. We rounded a corner and Bishnu directed us to go up in the elevator to the fourth floor. As I went to go in I was met with fierce resistance and looked down to see two sets of eyes as large as dinner plates. Elevators with glass walls are pretty scary things when you have never been in an elevator before! With a little coaxing however Anita and Ramita trustingly followed me in. As luck would have it the doors opened at floor three and we were swept out with the crowd. No problem.. David saw AN ESCALATOR going up to the fourth floor…. Another completely new experience! This one was trickier because you have to time things getting on and off. Despite sweaty palms and a few missteps, however, we all arrived on the fourth floor intact.
All in all 24 tickets were purchased and despite being 20 minutes late in arriving we managed to find our assigned seats in the dark.. This cinema is one of the new deluxe movies theatres in Kathmandu and the film was a Hindi “boy bonding” flic where three guys go on a road trip to Spain in advance of one of them getting married. This is the new generation of Bollywood movies with the requisite gorgeous Indian actors, love stories, and musical numbers, but set outside India and everyone wears western clothing. The screen was enormous and the Sonrisa kids were soon completely captivated.
Intermission arrived and 15 bags of popcorn and pepsi’s were passed around. The movie built to it’s happy ending with the boys having bonded by addressing each of their deepest fears: scuba diving, paragliding and running with the bulls. Not sure what the children actually took away from the plot but they seemed to be enthralled with the images and music.
While it was a kind of rough start, the fourth Angela’s Afternoon ended happily with 15 children sent home (IN TAXI’S!!) with chocolate cookies (bought by Jason) and instructions not to eat them until AFTER getting home.
Myself, I couldn’t help but think that Angela, realizing that kids get car-sick and are afraid of things they haven’t done before, would have had all the bases covered and three contingency plans ready to deploy. Angela would have known.
After the show, serious poses for the camera.
at the cinema (through the security check- apparently film piracy is rampant so they check for movie cameras).
after the movie, at the inflatable climbing wall (Dinesh already at the top!).
arriving at the mall!