Monday, 24 December 2012

A Christmas tale

Have you ever given blood in England? If you have then you will know it’s a very well organised affair as you donate your blood that you hope will benefit an anonymous receiver at some point in the near future.
Giving blood in Nepal is a different experience.

A good friend of ours has been expecting a baby and was due to have the baby at a hospital here. They needed to arrange their own blood donors to have on standby in case of an emergency. Dan, having the universal blood, offered to be a donor. Well it got to last Thursday and there was no baby so the hospital induced. They told our friends that rather than having the donors on standby they now needed the blood on standby.

So on Thursday evening, after the KISC Christmas Carol service Dan and another lady headed up to the hospital to give blood. On arriving at the hospital we discovered that we didn’t give blood there, but at the blood bank, a 5 minute taxi ride away. So we jumped back in a taxi and headed on up. The taxi driver that took us told us it would take a couple of hours at the bank; it was obviously a not uncommon route for the drivers who wait outside the hospital.

On arriving at the blood bank we handed over our sample of the mother’s blood we had brought in a cold box so that our blood could be checked to be a match. We were taken into the room where we would donate. Having been here for 5 years I didn’t blink, but thinking about it afterwards, if you had come straight from a hospital/blood bank in the UK you would probably notice many differences. The chairs you laid in to give blood where looking old and the coverings were starting to come lose. One of them had lost an arm. The room wasn’t dirty, but it also wasn’t "NHS" clean. The scales for putting the blood bags in had more in common with my kitchen scales than you would expect.  There was a big cardboard box in the middle of the room for trash, filled with used cotton wool and empty juice boxes.

The blood bank people then got quite funny about using my blood as she wasn’t a direct match. The other lady was, so gave her blood and then they agreed I could give my blood and they would give us the one(!) direct match they had in the fridge in exchange for my blood. So up I got onto the seat in went the needle and the blood was given. My reward, a juice box!

We then sat and chatted for nearly an hour while we waited for them to carry out all the checks on the blood (HIV etc) before paying (yes paying) about £10 for the privilege. The two bags of blood then went in the cool box and we went to find a taxi to take us back to the hospital. We dropped off the blood with the nurses and headed home as by this time the baby was well on it’s way; we found out afterwards it was born within minutes of us being there.

Thankfully baby Benjamin came without major trial in the end and the blood was not needed. We were told the blood could be taken back to the blood bank for a partial refund.

We got to meet Benjamin on Saturday afternoon when we dropped round some dinner for the family. Here is Dan holding him at about 40 hours old.

So a Nepal born Christmas baby for our friends. A baby born in a strange location for his family, born in a setting which wasn’t quite picture perfect, but born with parents to love him and support him and visitors who brought gifts. Really though, born into privilege and plenty as he was born to western parents who may have chosen to give up some things to be here, but have so much compared to nearly all that surround them.

Jesus, being God had everything, but he chose to give it all up. He chose to be born as a humble human, in a humble location and to live to serve all of mankind. He chose too, his death, on the cross for all people everywhere, whether born in a Nepali hospital, a British hospital, or born in a shed with the cows.
Happy Christmas.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

A call to Pray

The bible teaches us to pray continually, in all circumstances. We believe in the power of prayer to bring about change. So we ask that those of you who also believe to join us in prayer.

KISC is starting 40 days of prayer and is asking all members of the community here in Kathmandu and supporters whether near or far to join in. So whether or not you are in Kathmandu or have ever even been you can join in.

The reason for these 40 days of prayer is that KISC for a long time has been working at trying to get a permanent site. There are currently two plots of land right next to our current site that are vacant and for sale. We believe that this is the place for KISC to build its permanent site, the location is perfect, the size of the plots is good. We just need more money! So we are trusting in God to provide and so spending 40 days praying in relay around the world. If you are interested in  finding out more or joining us in prayer, as an individual or church, then follow the link below to KISC's website and sign up on the right hand side.

The second thing we would like to ask prayer for is for our family's health. It is starting to become a bit of a joke, but we have had one illness after another over the past few months. We've had coughs and colds, the kids have both had a course of antibiotics for chest infections, they've also had conjunctivitis and stomach upsets. For the past three months I don't think we have had longer then a week without someone in the family being ill. We are thankful that none of us has had anything more serious wrong with us (a friends daughter ended up with pneumonia when ours had chest infections and had to spend a night in hospital). So we know it could be worse, and are thankful for that, but ask that you pray with us for some good health in the coming months.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

A Nepali Winter

Wrapped up warm
So this week the cold has really set in. I shouldn't really complain, it is the end of November after all. Nepali winters are very different to English ones - and in many ways a lot better, just the lack of heating makes me forget that!

This year it started to get cold quite early, during the last couple of weeks in October. Normally the temperatures don't drop until mid November. This meant that instead of the normal two week transition from t-shirts to 3 layers (minimum) we had a whole month which was quite nice, a month of cooler weather but not too cold.

So conversation with other Mums this week quickly turned to how to keep children warm on these cold nights. To use a heater or not? Gas or electric? How many layers of clothes and blankets? Hot water bottles? Hats, gloves? This is now our 5th winter here (if you count our first when we arrived half way through, in January 2008) and so we have our tried and tested methods for keeping everyone warm - the kids both wear tights under his PJs, blankets over the side of Mim's cot to give a little extra insulation and blankets underneath us all as well as over us to name a few.

The good things about winters here though are that most days we have clear blue skys with amazing views of the Himalayas. In the sun it is quite warm so we spend some time each day on our flat roof warming ourselves in the sun and enjoying the views. The winter here is also short; so just as you are all wrapping up for another cold month we will be putting our jumpers and thermals away by the end of February. We certainly don't miss the cold grey days of an English winter.

However, all this beautiful sunny weather means it is the dry season and that there will be no significant rain until next monsoon (July) and since all electricity production here is hydroelectirc we are very short on power. We currently have 8  hours of power cuts a day. This is not good so early on in the year, so we worry what the next few months hold power wise. Hopefully it means they are being careful and making sure there is enough power to last us through. The snow melt in Spring should help, but there won't be much relief for some time!

Christmas in Nepal

Obviously the biggest event of the winter for most of us is Christmas. Christmas here is also very different from the UK. Yesterday being December 1st we decided to put up our decorations, but apart from a couple of the big tourist shops we haven't seen anything for Christmas here at all (mostly because people here don't celebrate Christmas). It is nice though to be somewhere without all the hype, all the TV adverts and songs for months on end. We were able to put on our Christmas music without thinking "not this song again." But the nicest thing of all was that we can talk to Sam (and Mim as she gets older) about what we are celebrating at Christmas without all the distractions of new toys and everything else. Sam is enjoying opening his advent calendar each day and hearing the stories from the first Christmas.

So as we begin this Nepali winter and our Christmas season we wanted to wish you all a very Merry and Blessed Christmas.