Sunday, May 6, 2018

Opportunities in Nepal for Volunteers and Digital Nomads

Of all the places in the world to volunteer, I don't think you can find a better one than Nepal. Notice these benefits compared to other countries:

1. A tolerant populace.
2. The local people genuinely want to know you. Nepal has recently been added to the 'World's friendliest countries.
3. The government, including police, are kind to tourists.
4. Violent crime toward tourists is almost non-existant in most places in Nepal.
5. Nepal is one of the least expensive countries to travel to.
6. There is a genuine need just about anywhere you look for help. You should not pay a private company  (or NGO) for a volunteer placement in Nepal. However, you should be prepared to pay from $5-10 per day for food.
7. The weather in the Kathmandu Valley, outside Kathmandu City, is mild and with fresh air. Chitwan makes an excellent volunteer experience in the winter time, otherwise, you'll need to worry about things like it being too hot and malaria other times of the year.

I highly recommend Nepal. I'd also like to let our readers know about our need for a computer person. It's been a difficult few years getting the agency off the ground and it didn't seem like I had done enough to help. Recently things have started to change and we are moving forward with some bigger plans.

Broadband has come to Changunarayan, which has created an opportunity for one digital nomad to come stay with us. We also have WIFI boosters so you can get a good signal throughout the building. It's been providing us with excellent service so far. The internet speed has been one of the biggest obstacles to having guests stay with us long term.

Star View Guest House is offering a free stay for someone traveling in Nepal with website design skills. We can provide a room with a shared bath at no charge and 1/2 price for your daily food/utility charges (half of $7 or 350 NRs.). If this is a hardship please let us know.

We are in need of someone to help us with our new website, . This is a project I've been wanting to do for a long time. I wrote a book to help tourists coming to Nepal back a few years ago and haven't really published it properly. I just have it as an eBook. This project is to put the book up on a website that will help tourists with anything they want to know about Nepal. We are also developing another Nepali handcraft website.

The purpose of the websites is to not only inform people about the best reasons to visit Nepal, but to promote Nepali art and handcrafts. It will have the added value to be a source of funding for our projects. Presently, we use my share of for administrative fees. Without this funding I wouldn't be able to have two college-educated workers working full time with me, etc.

Sujit has been my assistant for more than a year and has improved his computer skills immensely. What we need is someone to guide Sujit in the making of our Wordpress websites. We would ask for about 2 hours per day, 5 days a week, as needed as a consultant mostly. We are also in need of someone to teach the local, young people computer skills.

Sumary of offer:

Clean/serviced room, shared with one other volunteer if we get a full house.

Meals while you are at the guesthouse, prepared for you.
       Ingredients include:

             Cheese and eggs, fresh produce and coconut and olive oil

      Hygeinic, aluminum-free kitchen

Use of guesthouse common areas

Family atmosphere
     Our volunteers' experience generally is more like a home-stay than a guesthouse stay.

What we ask:

2 hours of computer work either working on the websites or working on your own project while you guide our simi-skilled staff to upload apps, SEO site, install and arrange buttons, etc.

What we would really love in addition, but not required:

2-3 hours teaching simple Wordpress web design to local young peopl and help to create an outsourcing workspace for young people in our village who may not have been able to go to college.

Whether you come to Changunarayan and help with one of the projects here or not, I hope you'll consider one of the secular, humanitarian, agencies helping the people of Nepal.

Note: We do not support the orphanage industry, nor the begging industry, nor the exploitation of the Nepali people through sweatshops.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Saving Lives for Such a Small Investment

When I lived in the US I really couldn't make a difference in my town. I volunteered at the elementary school to encourage children to learn to read better, but nothing on a larger scale.

Since I've been in Nepal that's changed. Last year we had a Nepali visitor at the guesthouse who was so happy to meet me. She said I had helped her sister and it really made a difference, something about school tuition or something. I really don't remember, but I remember a cleaning lady. I guess I gave her a little bit that helped her quite a bit during a difficult time. What a pleasure to be able to do this.

I recently learned about a couple of dangerous curves on the road coming to our village. What a pleasure it is for me to buy a couple of convex mirrors for the road to make a difference for Changunarayan, our village. 

If you give money for an opperation you can only save one person, but if you put a mirror on the road or even fill in a pothole with some sand you can save a lot of people so much hardship. And that feels amazing!

I think the mirrors installed on the road will cost a bit less than $300. Between renting a taxi to go to Kathmandu to find them and buying the poles, paint and such, it's taken over a month to get this far, but we are so happy.

This first mirror is up and we'll have the other one up ASAP for the other dangerous turn.

This is the biggest reason for me to be in Nepal. I can just do fun stuff to make a difference. We can never know how many children will have a father who may have lost him due to an accident without the mirrors. And how much is a father worth?

If you'd like to bring something to change one person's or more person's life here are a few suggestions.

Ways Tourists Can Make a Difference for a Small Amount of Money:

1.  Bring books when you come to Nepal. Don't buy books from your country; they are pretty cheap here in local shops, but few children actually own a book that isn't a textbook.

2. Bring gently used, warm clothing. Imagine being a child born in Nepal's high country. It's so cold and the people hardly ever get any cash. These communities are among the poorest people on the planet and they are so cold people still die each year from the cold. Contact Kay Garnay for Nepal if you need a letter from a nonprofit for the airline. We can send you a letter and you can give the items to whomever you wish. If you want to bring anything we can help you.

3. Bring your old mobile phone. Although it may seem like a mobile phone is a luxury for people in Nepal it can be a life saver. Make sure the phone is SIM card compatible or it won't work in Nepal.

4. Do you have a hearing aid, back brace or some other medical equipment no longer needed? You can bring such things to medical clinics and health posts. You can also go to the medical equipment outlets in Kathmandu to find lumbar supports for around $5 each. The women need them for working in the field or in construction.

5. If you are going to the high country for a home-stay it's a good idea to bring some rice. If you go to a home-stay at lower elevations it's a good idea to bring lentils. Check to see what isn't grown in the region and bring that.

6. Some tourists buy someone a bicycle to help change a life. There are bicycle shops in Kathmandu that sell the delivery bikes. You can feed a family for years by buying them a bicycle. They also sell shoe shine boxes, but they are probably mostly a scam because they sell them for around $200. A bike is a better value.

Things that are not a good idea to bring:
Medications that are expired.
Western attire that is not warm or is immodest.
New books-they are cheaper here and buying here supports the local economy.
Foods from your country to share. The Nepali generally like their local diet and won't want to eat peanut butter or other processed type foods. Of course chocolate would be an exception. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Progress at Kay Garnay-Yes, We're Slow!

It's been a slow start at Kay Garnay for Nepal. As hard as I tried, not much has happened to help our village, Changunarayan and Nepal. However, in my own defense, it's hard to move anything in Nepal. Well, perhaps I just expect too much out of the little money we've been able to draw. 

We've decided to ask for start-up donations so we never need to ask again. Please keep an eye out for more details. We are working hard on the foundation so the project will be both interesting for the donors and something that will be able to bring donations and income to support our work.

Here are a few things we've been involved in:

Support for local, government school
Built earthquake shelters
Plant trees
Provide Craft training & English and Computer classes for villagers at no charge
Support for families in times of need
Sponsored a student's school fees
Village clean-up campaigns and provide trash receptacles throughout village

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Friday, February 23, 2018

When it Comes to Donations How Small is Small?

One of our guests was so kind as to bring warm clothing to share with the poor. 

At Kay Garnay for Nepal, we do just about anything we can with the little bit of resources we have. Basically, it’s about anything we can do for under $100. If you notice, unless we get funding from an outside source, each of our projects cost less than $100 and helps people on an individual basis. Sometimes an imagination and creativity is more important than money.Here's a video and information on our latest venture.
We have given about 30 back supports to women who work in farming and construction. 

We've planted trees, sponsored students, supported various projects for other NGOs, neutered street dogs, sponsored warm clothing and book drives, etc. We have turned an empty room into a library/learning center here at Star View Guest House and we're working with the village to do weekly village clean-up campaigns and things like this. 
A lovely guest came and brought warm clothing for the old folks at a hospital. 

Our next project is to put metal, beveled mirrors on the road at the horse-shoe bends to save lives. There are two of these dangerous curves on the way to Bhaktapur. I wonder how many lives we can save for our $100 this month.

One time I brought 10 pairs of bathroom shoes to a hospital so people wouldn’t be spreading germs from the bottom of their shoes. I wonder how many people didn’t get sick because there were shoes to keep the gross smelling, standing water on the floor in the bathroom instead of having it dragged all over the hospital.

I’ve been thinking about helping more people for even less money. I’m going to spend about $2 on 10 bars of soap and leave them at various bathrooms throughout Kathmandu as I spend a day shopping. I can just leave a bar in any restroom I use. There are seldom soap bars in the bathrooms, even at hospitals. At least 25% of tourists experience bacterial stomach issues in Nepal.

It's about spreading some goodwill along the way. As you can see from these examples, Random Acts of Kindness don't have to cost a lot, but can spread a lot of good. 

So, if you think you don’t have enough money to make a difference, well, you probably do. We can help you to find something to do to help if you only have $5. So, if you give a small amount and want it to be used for some small thing, such as a hand tool or bag of screws just let us know. We are working with some of our neighbors to help build a home for a family. We will be happy to purchase something in your name no matter how small the donation. Each donation is handled as a trust from the donor. For information about our current fundraiser watch the short video.

When we have a package we need hire a car for the day and pay $15 per box.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Opportunity for Tourists in Nepal Who Own a Mountain Bike

We are looking for tourists who purchased a good quality mountain bike in Nepal and are leaving Nepal. The question for many tourists is, ‘what to do with the mountain bike when I go back home?’ Our answer is to let it continue to work for Nepal while you are away. And let it help us rebuild our lovely village.
Kay Garnay for Nepal, a Nepal registered NGO, is setting up a bike rental concession here in the Changunarayan Village to help with our beautification efforts and encourage tourists to come back to Nepal.
Here's our offer:
Either donate your quality mt. bike to us partially or 100% and get the following:
1. Get a free stay at our lovely guesthouse, Star View. 
Our spacious rooms capture views of village life, as well as glimpses of portions of  the Himalayas, such as Ganesh Himal and Lantang. 
2. Get either a Nepali Dal Bhat or a Western dish of your choice for dinner each night you are with us. If you've been missing a dish from home let us know so we can try to prepare it for you.
This is a favorite, Enchilada Casserole with homemade tortilla.
3. Get organic coffee/tea and homemade desert, available each mid-afternoon at no charge.
Our afternoon coffee and desert. This day it was banana nut bread with walnuts.
4. Get breakfast the next morning.
French Toast with veg/cheese omelet. Served with homemade peanut butter,
organic honey, jam and organic coffee or tea.
5. When you come back to Nepal we will have a Mt. Bike waiting for you, either your own, or a newer one of similar value. You'll be able to use it at no charge while you are here in Nepal. You'll even be able to choose the bike you want from among our selection.

6. We can pay you for the bike (up to $100).
Isn't this a lovely way to help create an even more beautiful, ancient village. We are planting flowering trees, placing trashcans around the village, stabilizing a hilltop and much more. You'll be happy to know your bicycle will be doing a lot of good work for the village, for Nepal and for the planet. 
We promise to keep the bike maintained for you or have one on hand for you to use if you prefer a newer one. If we end the project we'll let you know.
For more information please contact: or visit our website at
Call us: +977 015141181

This metric thermometer was photographed around Nov. 1. Not bad for this time of year.

It's really about these little guys. We hope to bring more butterflies to our village.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Chocolate, Chocolate, Giving Kids Chocolate

Kids everywhere are so cute and they all love candy, so Nepali kids are no surprise. Many tourists enjoy bringing candy for the kids they meet along the way. Should we do it? Seldom, if ever, is this a good idea. Here's why:

1. Nepal, and children from other developing nations tend to only brush their teeth one time a day. Many families find themselves without money for such things as tooth brushes. Candy is acidic and will stay on their teeth a long time. They also seldom go to the dentist, so that chocolate/candy will eventually cause a lot of pain and the tooth will most likely be pulled, not repaired.

2. If you are a mother you will understand why you wouldn't want strangers feeding your children. You could ruin the mother's night with a child who wouldn't eat dinner but cries all night from hunger.

3. Teaching children that it's OK to take from anyone can cause a problem with boundaries. People in Nepal see tourists as superhuman, rich and so mysterious. It is best to help them understand we are just human. We are not gods seeking to dole out a random blessing.

4. Our children are so cute and it's nice to engage in conversation, but if you give money or candy you are encouraging them into a life of begging. 

5. Child Trafficking is a thing here in Nepal. I wonder how many children have been lured into the sex trade because they asked a stranger for chocolate. 

When you see places like this with children living there it's hard not to do something to help.

Hospitals are also good places to bring clothing for donating.

What to do instead?

What if you just talk with the child? Teach them a word or phrase. Ask them about their village, how to say a particular word in Nepali or even take them to lunch with you if they seriously look hungry. Although I haven't done it for a very long time, I love to share a meal with a street kid. They almost always want mo:mo, so you don't need to worry about a big cost.

What I'm trying to convey is if you must, if you really feel compelled to share your wealth with children please give something other than candy or money. Take a pen or pencil out of your bag and give it to the child. They will seldom refuse a pen. Pens and pencils can be found all over for about 10 rupees or less. Never take new pens or pencils still wrapped in packaging, to prevent returning it for a partial refund.

Often, especially if you give them a pen, the child may ask for a book. DO NOT fall for this. They will take you to the stationary store for you to buy a $12 dictionary. There are cheaper dictionaries, but they want the hardcover Webster's Dictionary and will only return it 10 minutes later for a partial refund. If you must buy them a book be sure to take it out of the wrap and write their name in it. Or, better yet, open it and act like you are going to write in it and look at their face as they think of a reason to get you to stop ruining it. Then walk away.

It's a great idea to bring some used books from home if you are from a country like the US. Used books can be found in some countries for cheap or even free. Just ask a library, school or friend for a donation. If you'd like a letter for extra luggage we are happy to write one for you under our registered agency (contact: You don't even need to give us the books or warm, used clothing. If you are going trekking you can just give to people along the way. We just love to be a small part of helping.




Monday, August 21, 2017

Even More People Suffering; How to Help?

Whether it's Lord Krishna's birthday or my own, just about any day-trip to Bhaktapur is met with a celebration of one kind or the other. This past Saturday found us for the second time within a week celebrating a festival in Bhaktapur. In fact, August has been quite an enjoyable month due to Gia Jatra, these two festivals and my own 64th birthday.

 It's monsoon and there is terrible flooding along our Indian border and into India. Here in the Kathmandu Valley the weather in August is really nice compared to much of the rest of the world. Most of India and the Middle East are extremely hot and Malasia and Eastern Asia are hot and sticky with monsoon. Here in the Kathmandu Valley it hasn't broke 30 degrees (or more than 85 degrees F.) yet this year. Here at the Star View Guest House the rooftop terrace is getting a lot of use with its gentle breezes and village scenes. Even still, we haven't used the room fans much this year.

August sunset over Kathmandu from Star View Guest House, Changunarayan

 This last trip to Bhaktapur, as well as my recent trip to Kathmandu, was met with many young people collecting funds for the people in the flood region. Although I am a bit cynical of social workers, I believe these young people in these clubs can be trusted to be in their integrity. 


"No one can help everyone, but everyone can help someone'

Our agency, Kay Garnay for Nepal, is also shifting its focus to help the recent flood victims. I know first hand how quickly the world moves on to the next disaster, such as the recent earthquake in South America where 25,000 people died. Now it  seems these Nepali and Indian flood victims, the refugees from Syria, African refugees and starving people and the earthquake victims from S. America all have to compete for the same funding dollars-that is until tomorrow when another group is added to these innocent people. How can I ask for funding for an organic farming project or a women's work initiative when there are so many who are so much worse off? The plight of each of these groups is beyond imagination. 

So, here are my thoughts on our need to be funded verses taking care of those in severe need elsewhere. The most important thing for these people, whatever group they find themselves, is that they participate in their own care and subsistence. It reminds me of the Vietnamese 'Boat People' of the 1970's-80's. They went from being castaways on a boat to serving as emergency room doctors and in other professional fields faster than I ever thought possible. 

Our handmade, covered woolen blanket-only $200 inc. shipping and 3 more pillow covers.

As we make progress on our online ventures via or the projects at we will be funding exclusively for the flood victims in Nepal. Additionally, we have this consumer-friendly shopping site and use our profit for the flood victims through the end of the year: Nepali Thangka Paintings and Wooden Masks


However, we are not asking for money. Although we have a few projects you can make a donation to, we ask only that you support us by shopping for art and handicrafts that support the local people of Nepal. Our profits are only going toward food and supplies for the flood victims until the end of 2017.  This will allow our generous sponsors to use our websites to support us with their shopping dollar.  We have only high quality, handcrafted items made in Nepal.