My volunteer visit to Nepal was amazing! The people were friendly and welcoming, and the diverse landscape was amazing. The day I started my Language and Culture class, I looked out the window and asked my instructor if the mountains I saw in the distance got snow. She giggled and told me those weren't mountains, they were hills. She promised I'd see real mountains when we went into Kathmandu later in the day. As I walked over a bridge to get to Kathmandu Dubar Square, I looked towards the "hills" and saw beautiful white peaks behind them. I was amazed to see the mighty Himalayas!! Now, THOSE were mountains!
Everywhere you look in Nepal is another treasure for the senses. The beautiful, ancient architecture marries beautifully with the chaos of the city. The hustle and bustle of everyday life contrasts sharply with the shrines that seem to be everywhere, yet at any given moment, one can hear the chiming of a bell that signifies someone has uttered a prayer. The spiritual and the corporal intertwine in a beautiful dance.
If Kathmandu is the center of city life, then Pokhara is its quieter, gentler sister. The 8 hour bus ride to Pokhara treats the traveler to amazing agricultural landscapes. The road also follows a river, which is serene in some places and has tumbling rapids in others. Once in Pokhara, the lake is the main attraction. Calm and quiet, it gently beckons the traveler to take a boat ride and explore its many outlets. The highlight of my time there was seeing the rays of the rising sun shine on the snow capped peaks of the Anapurana mountain range. I am not eloquent enough to fully describe the beauty of that moment.
Once back in Kathmandu, I spent a week at my assigned orphanage. The girls were wonderful! I learned so much from them! I only hope I made at least a small difference in their lives. These were sweet, beautiful girls with inquisitive minds. It was my privilege to serve them.
I miss many things about my time in Nepal. I miss the chaos of the city, the beauty of the scenery, and the depth of the culture. However, the thing I miss the most is the warm and welcoming people.My life perception has been changed by the people I have met and by the extraordinary children I served. Friendships were made and sealed by fun and laughter. The world has become smaller and my mind has become broader by this amazing experience. NAMASTE!!