15 July 2009

Oh, Nepal!

I had the most amazing trip to Nepal from 15 June - 4 July. The purpose of the trip was to assess the Dalit Rights Movement in Nepal through visiting Dalit villages, meeting with various organizations and government officials, and through first-hand observations. Me and the nine other people on the trip became fast friends with each other and with our wonderful drivers/translators/guides. It's hard not to get to know each other when sharing a 16-person van for three weeks. The above picture was taken in the village of Laghuwa in the Palpa district of Nepal, about an hour away from the town of Tansen. This village was in a valley surrounded by mountains (the drive out to this village from Kathmandu took two days and was actually loads of fun - and gorgeous - a subject for another posting when it's not so late!). Laghuwa was DB's village and we were visiting the primary/secondary school he used to attend as a child. As you can see from the picture, we received an amazing greeting from everyone in the village - this was probably the most memorable moment for every single person on this trip. I lost count of how many Namastes I said and how many flowers I received. Many of us hope to return to that village and help out at the school, whether it's through teaching English or doing supply drives from back here in the States. Until I visited Nepal, I took daily life in the US for granted. I still have a tendency to revert back to taking everything for granted, but that's a habit that needs to stop because most people in most other countries would never take for granted the things I have and the things I get to do.