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April 22, 2010

This is Bijay’s first solo film.


Subani’s videos

April 21, 2010

this is Subani’s first solo videos.

Rupesh’s Video

April 21, 2010

This isRupesh’s first solo video

Binod’s Video

April 21, 2010

This is Binod’s first solo film with his own original music.

classes have started

April 18, 2010

Notes from my journal dated April 5.

The program we came here to deliver started today. The kids are really excited to learn filmmaking and how to edit. They are brimming with ideas of films they would like to create.

Mark instructing with Suman, Sneharika and Kavita

Our program was designed to accommodate eight students, four girls and four boys.  Once they are relatively proficient on the equipment, they will teach their peers at PA.  Two of our students, Binod and Binita were featured in our documentary and appear on the cover of the DVD and it is lovely to work with such talented young people again.

featuring Binita and Binod on the cover

Two are new to PA Nepal (and featured in our first entry), and the other four are friends from our last visit.

We started the program explaining the our program and the responsibility they are taking on by working with us. They understand that they are meant to take these skillsAll of them committed to the program without hesitation. (phew!)

We taught them camera and tripod basics and got them into framing, types of shots and composition.

Sneharikha showing Suman the tripod

They practiced by taking photos and videos illustrating what we just taught them.

Here here are some of the photos that they took today:

sweetness | photo by Kavita

still life of foot and plant | photo: Sneharika

Kavita | photo: Subani

Rupesh | photo: Bijay

Suman | photo: Binod Lama

Bijay | photo: Rupesh

Binod | self portrait

umesh | photo: Suman

Their videos will come soon.

I think they will do well!
Thanks for sharing our journey!


Arrived in Sankhu 27° 43’N, 85° 27’E, 1560m ele.

April 13, 2010

It feels like a long time since we have been at the Children’s home in Sankhu, and within a couple of hours, it feels like home. This is where we spent much of our last trip, and where we filmed most of our documentary ‘Family Stones’.

So much has changed. Many of the older boys we used to hang out with have moved on. I can see that it is a positive move for the boys, they seem to be flourishing, but their presence is definitely missed.

Of the boys from the documentary;
Chandra and Vishnu, the boys who were captured as Maoist soldiers and abused in the Nepali army barracks, are living together in the local village and teaching at PA Nepal’s Jinkiri school.
Jagad, who talked about the Maoists from a neutral perspective, has moved to the organic farm in Palpa, as has Sapana’s brother Sudarshan.

Cowboy Jagad in Palpa | photo: Erica Køhn

Sudarshan showing off his catch in Palpa | Photo: Erica Køhn

Binod is the only boy remaining, and we are excited to have him in our filmmaking program.

Binod in front of PA Nepal's fields | Photo: Suman Nepali

It was not long after we arrived that the laptop came out and the kids were watching our documentary about them ‘Family Stones’. My nervousness as the primary editor on the film was quickly dispelled by the kids reactions.

the kids watching Family Stones

and watching it again

They were enrapt.

The kids named all their friends as they appeared on the screen and were silent for the personal stories. They loved the vignettes of life in their home at PA Nepal and giggled the whole way though the boys last song… apparently it is an ode to lovely young girls.

They kids finished the film starry-eyed and hoping for more.

I think the Family Stones DVD we left them will be well used. :)

We are so happy to be back, and to have the approval of our most treasured audience.

P.S. Thanks for the comments, we love to hear from you!
To comment, click on Comments at the top of the post, they will be moderated the first time, but once you are approved, they will go up immediately.
P.P.S. the coordinates are for you Dad :)

Pokhara prison visit

April 6, 2010

Mark and I were fortunate enough to be able to accompany Indira into one of the most progressive prisons in Nepal.  Located in Pokhara, it is a showpiece for what is possible in Nepali prisons.

Pokhara prison gates | photo: Erica Køhn

Indira has been working with them for years.   As the Director of National Project Consultant Committee of the Department of Prison Management, and alongside three other dedicated colleagues, she has supported the prison in implementing yoga and meditation programs, helping with the prison infrastructure including access to clean water, encouraged opportunities for skills training and greater health and sustainability through food production.

Nepali corn under cultivation on the Pokhara prison grounds | photo: Erica Køhn

The prison houses both men and women as well as five children.

mother and child behind bars | photo: Mark Vonesch

We met with the women and shared many pounds of fruit with them.  Later, upon their request, Indira returned with a sewing machine and a DVD player (we all need a bit of entertainment).

Limited by the small prison space, they have expanded some of their activities into the courtyard, still bound by razor wire, but green and more spacious.  Here they farm Maize and other food crops, have a woodworking shop, cultivate mushrooms and have a green space for the older children of the inmates to play. This move took long negotiations, and a lot of trust on the part of the prison but has raised the standards of living immensely for everyone involved.

There is a human dignity in this prison that has been lacking at some of the other prisons I have seen in Nepal.  It is truly impressive.

the prison woodworking shop in the courtyard | photo: Erica Køhn

Indira shows off some beautiful oyster mushrooms | photo: Erica Køhn

these babies sell for 120 Rs per lb | photo: Erica Køhn

hanging in the courtyard in front of the prison entrance | photo: Erica Køhn

full of fun... boys in the courtyard | photo: Erica Køhn

gates to the cells | photo: Mark Vonesch

razor wire in the greenery | photo: Erica Køhn

Thanks go to Indira, her colleagues, the prison authorities and guards and inmates for working so well together.

Change is possible.  Hope is essential.


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Next up: the older PA Nepal boys at Palpa.