Tag Archives: Surkhet
I live in a small town in semi-rural New Jersey. Well at least it was semi-rural when I moved here 17 years ago. Brookside is a historic town dating back to 1749 before there was a United States of America. It’s a quiet little town with less people living here now than there were during the American Revolution. This area was pro American and General Washington had his headquarters just 5 miles away in Morristown.
Every year, the big event in town is the Fourth of July Parade. I have seen every one since moving here in 1994 – except last year when Erin and I were in Nepal. It’s a quaint little parade with boys scouts and girl scouts, fire trucks and tractors, family floats and even a mini parade within the parade – “the pooch parade”. Folks sit along the sides of East Main Street or watch from their porches as their friends and neighbors pass by in celebration of our nation’s independence.
It’s the kind of community affair that is slowly disappearing from America. It’s one day where we all slow down and re-connect with one another. Each year we honor a Community Service recipient. This year the award went to Maggie Doyne. Brookside is in Mendham Township, so technically, Maggie isn’t a resident because she lives in the next town over, Mendham Borough. Mendham Township actually circles around the borough like a donut and the two towns share the same high school. That’s how Maggie and Erin know each other, they were in the same graduating class. But Maggie has become our local hero and we all claim her as our own.
In 2005, Erin went off to college like most kids did in her graduating class. Maggie took a gap year that turned into a different life’s path for her. And what a path she has taken. It’s amazing what Maggie has done at such a young age. She is twenty four years old and has built a home for 35 orphaned children whom she lives with in Nepal, as well as built a school for over 250 children. She has not only been an inspiration for our film project, but has motivated countless others who have heard her story.
Watch Video of Maggie in July 4th Parade
Maggie July 4th USA For Web
I put together a few clips of Maggie at the last Monday’s parade. I’d like her children to see Maggie riding in the convertible, throwing candy to children in the little town that she grew up in – on the Fourth of July in the USA.
I’ve been in hibernation this past month – or at least it feels like it. No airplanes, no adventures and not much interaction with people as I tackle the tedious part of editing this film. It’s tough sometimes and a hard adjustment after the summer that I had, and there are some days, I’m just looking for a distraction.
But I keep my eye on the prize and the prize is the completed film.
Yesterday, I got news that our project was featured on the home page of More Magazine. Jamie Niles had interviewed me a couple of weeks ago and they had gotten it online quickly. They provided a link to our Kickstarter site and that just might be the extra little push we need to reach our goal. We’re less than $400 away with 14 days to go! I’m sure we’ll make it.
In anticipation of making that goal, I have talked to a couple of editors and will pick one who is the right fit for this story or stories.
A professional editor will give the film new eyes and see things that I may not notice and help arc the story in the most powerful way. I cannot wait till I get to that point, when all the footage is transcoded and sound is synced and ready to hand off to the pro to do what they do best – edit the story.
One thing that has been enjoyable is reliving the experience by looking at all the footage and still images that we shot. Listening to the words of our subjects again talking about what they are doing, gave me the energy that I need to get through this part of the process.
I’ve also been editing the thousands of still photographs that we took. My idea from the start of this project was to shoot both video and stills.
The still images may become part of a book or exhibition or accompany magazine articles about this story.
Happy holidays everyone.
I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite images.
When we walked into the Kopila Valley Children’s Home for the first time, the first thing I heard was children’s laughter. It was everywhere; no matter where you went, you couldn’t escape that wonderful sound. Within five minutes of sitting down inside, a little girl – Maya – crawled into my lap. Ever since that moment, there has always been a child running up to say hello, asking me what my favorite color is, holding my hand as I walk down the hall, crawling into my lap, giving me a big hug, or just flashing one of those big, bright smiles that says it all – happiness.
These kids are so incredibly happy. When Maggie arrived with the new car for the first time, I watched the kids’ faces. One boy, Nabin, screeched with delight as he was lifted up to look at the inside of the car. I can honestly say I have never seen such happiness on a child’s face before. Even after being here a week, I’ve only seen the youngest child, who is 2, cry once. It amazed me then, and still does now, how open, generous, caring, and loving these kids are. They are big bundles of love and will hold you tight until the end of time if you let them. This is a testament to the environment of Kopila Valley Children’s Home and what Maggie Doyne has provided for them here.
The main message here is peace and love. Yes, the kids have a roof over their heads, and their own set of clothes, and three meals a day, and they go to school. But this would be nothing without the importance that Maggie places on family, respect and caring for others. Everyone looks after each other (very necessary for such a big family) and is treated equally. The kids are incredibly self-sufficient too, and all pitch in to help with the chores. They share their feelings at the end of each day at “satsung,” a type of family meeting. And you can see in their eyes the genuine love that they feel for each other. This is a family unlike any other.
It just goes to show you how providing a loving home and safe environment can open up a child and allow them to grow. These kids have been through so much already, many with tragic backgrounds and coming from seemingly hopeless situations. But here they are now, running around laughing, smiling, eager to learn, playing, and loving with all of their hearts. They are blossoming here each and every day and it’s because Maggie has shown them love.
Of course there are so many more children in the world who are in desperate need of such an environment, and it’s sad to think about the stats. But Maggie and her kids have given me hope and shown me that there is nothing more powerful for positively making a difference in someone’s life than a loving environment. The Beatles truly had it right – “All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.”