Mayo’s Kids Helping Kids Really Does Help
by Rosemarie Briggs
Bus horns blasted and the mud in the bus park was slimy and thick where it hadn’t already disappeared into huge mud puddles. Monsoon is like that. Mom and I rolled our eyes at one another. Why had we suggested meeting Busha here? With all the mud and buses and people, how would we find one another?
It was September in Kathmandu, Nepal, but the end of monsoon was merciless, flooding streets instantly when buckets poured from the sky. We were at the end of our trip and only needed to check in with the final orphan, ensure all was well.
We had just finished checking in with our orphans in the Lumbini area, inspecting classrooms we are building and checking on our libraries. By far, the largest portion of our trip had been establishing our eighth library. This one in a tiny Indian village called Khopa. We had left behind smiling staff and students and nodded we would return to conduct more teacher in-services.
“Busha, Busha – can – you – hear -me? Where – are – you?” I called through my cell phone.
“Didi (sister) look!….” was the reply.
There was Busha walking towards us. He was grinning.
For the past three years we have been helping Busha attend college to become a science teacher. Before that, we assisted him and other orphans meet basic needs while they lived in Linh Son Children’s Home. From the very start, Mayo’s Kids Helping Kids club has raised money and helped Busha and other orphans eat, have clothing to wear, and now, go to college.
Busha has experienced more horror and tragedy than anyone should ever have to witness, and yet, he can easily laugh and carries a mental encyclopedia of jokes.
Here was Busha walking towards us looking like he had just come out of a pressing machine. His clothes and hair were perfect. With the intense heat and dust I have no idea how he did it, but Busha is always like that. Out of respect and gratitude towards us, he dresses carefully and tries to look his best.
“Grandmother, I’m so happy to see you,” Busha exclaims, as he reaches to touch mom’s feet with his fingertips, in the traditional Nepali gesture towards elders. Years ago, Mom shuffled away awkwardly at these moments, but now she knows better and instead smiles lovingly, as a grandmother does. “Hello Didi (sister),” Busha beams, and we greet each other in the most common Nepali fashion, by placing our own palms together and bowing our heads – as though in prayer.
At the restaurant, Busha began pulling things out of his back pack. First there was the bouquet of flowers for “Grandmother” and a rose for me to match my name. Then there was an intricate wheat stem mosaic picture he has made for us. After a slight pause, Busha brought out a little, stuffed doll.
“Do you remember this?”
We both nodded. When he was a child, we had given him a knitted doll made by a generous lady in Vancouver. He returned it to his backpack. I swallowed and dared not look at mom. The moment was too fragile. Here was a strapping college boy wanting us to know he had his doll – still grateful for the caring that someone had shown him.
The afternoon rolled on. Busha told us about school and filled us in on local current affairs – all punctuated by jokes of course.
I think he still can’t quite believe that there are people who care and way across the world, people helping him. At the airport, before we boarded the plane, we phoned Busha and a few other orphans again. The cell phone filled with chatter. As the plane lifted off and sky and clouds swirled us towards Canada, Mom and I didn’t need to confide to one another that part of us remains with the orphans, because we both knew. That’s just how it is. Through the generosity of many people, Busha and other orphans feel cared for and are able to imagine a beautiful future. Thank you to all the wonderful Mayo volunteers.