In 2007 my husband and I spent three weeks working with a charity in Nepal. One of our projects was to sort bags of donated clothes for children in an orphanage on the outskirts of Kathmandu. We traveled out there each day on local buses, or walked if we could not get on …they were so crowded that men sat on the roof. The children in the orphanage were there not because they were orphans, but because their families could not care for them. They were too poor, or ill, or dislocated due to fighting, to provide a home, or the children were ill and needed extra care. After many days of sorting bags of clothes in a freezing, damp, mildewed concrete block room we had found what we thought would be useful. The children entered in little groups to receive their share.
Simultaneously we were providing each child with a metal trunk, in which to keep their belongings, whereas previously everything was communal property. My husband was painting the name and specially chosen symbols onto each shiny trunk.