Namaste, namaskar, ciao, hello, good day; it’s good to be back. After finally mustering up the time to do something else besides look at beautiful scenery, enjoy temples and local folks, and write my book, here I am, to tell you of some of my experience in Nepal. I’ve been in India for just over a week and a half…I think…when you don’t have a set schedule other than to get things done during the day, you start to forget the date and day of the week, as it doesn’t really matter.
So, today is Wednesday; I hope everyone enjoys a peaceful and restful day, before the end of the work week finishes out in the states. I arrived in Nepal on a Friday night, and was greeted with open arms by Mani and his family, who runs the day to day of the Journey Home Foundation in Nepal, where I was helping a little bit, by bringing some supplies, teaching a bit of English and downloading a few new ideas for things to work on. The Journey Home Foundation, as you can see if you click through, is focused on the prevention of sex trafficking in Nepal, where it is prevalent. Many of these girls, mostly from poor villages that could be days away from a major city (sometimes 2 days by bus, then 3 or 4 days walking), have no other option than to go to a Gulf state to make money and provide it back to their family, but the JHF is working to alleviate this by teaching real life skills that are useful in their own community. Since many of these villages are small, they do not have expert tailors, so the focus right now is to teach sewing – it has been prosperous so far with willing donors. My aunt, Jenny, is on the board of directors, so that’s how I was connected, initially, but my parents have donated to sponsor someone, too. Thanks to all of them.
In Kathmandu, on the first morning, I woke up at 4 AM to run up to the ‘Monkey Temple‘, which is a daily routine for some Nepali people, young and old and in between; if you can run, run, if you can walk, walk, but you do it for the exercise and the spiritual aspect of starting your day by devoting time to prayers and reverence in a greater you. The final 365 stairs are brutal! I ended up doing this 3 or 4 times over the course of the week, each time to different hilltop temples. At each temple, many young Nepali guys are training to be part of the British army, stationed around Asia and in Nepal, to set up the rest of their lives; apparently, this is a good way to ensure stability for your family for good, since you are paid well and it is an easy segue into the police force.
Many of the days in Kathmandu were spent playing cricket and football (soccer) with local Nepali kids in the streets, walking around to various temples with the girls from the shelter and Mani’s sons and ‘brothers’ and eating dal bhat - it was delicious enough to eat at almost every meal, especially the homemade version in the shelter. But, for a couple days, we went to Pokhara, which was insanely beautiful, on the ground and further up in the sky. In Pokhara, there are 7 lakes, where many people were swimming and boating around, but we spent more time up in Dhambus Village, a peak on the way up the Himalayas with beautiful scenery and cool, breezy air; at 6 AM, there was a view of the ‘Sacred Peak’, which is not allowed to be traversed due to spiritual reasons.
As I was warned, the Dehli belly struck, but a bit early, on my way back from Pokhara, so I spent a couple days with a slight fever and the other side effects expected in this sort of situation, but, after a few days of rest and a tincture of wormwood, black walnut and cloves, the parasites were gone and I was much better. The last thing, that I cannot express enough, about the Nepali people, is how amazingly nice and loving they were towards everyone; I actually spent a night at an 8th birthday party for one of the boys in the neighborhood and, even though the parents didn’t speak very much English, we just enjoyed some dal bhat, of course, and each other’s presence; this is something we could all do more: experience the essence of each other in their heart, instead of an external benefit of talking or doing something together. With a greater touching of nature, I feel this comes more naturally, as our perception of the subtle aspects of our surroundings becomes easier to tap into.
Enjoy some of the photos in the gallery, and feel free to ask me anything! Happy to share.
Next post: India’s first few weeks. The gallery has some photos from my layover in China (we had to bunk up! Haha – but it was fun), and Kathmandu and Pokhara.