Heading to Nepal I had all these great thoughts in my head of what I would do to help. I wanted to make a difference! My friend and I arrived in Nepal and were spending a few days in a hostel before heading to an orphanage for a week. Our contact at the orphanage offered to pick us up from the airport and drive us to our hostel, just because.
We were touched by this gesture. It seemed so generous. Little did we know that this was only the beginning…
After spending one day in Nepal, we had recieved a message from a Nepali friend of ours back home. She informed us that her family would be honoured to pick us up and take us to their home for dinner. Of course, we agreed.
The food was fantastic but the stand out experience was the hospitality. We met the extended family and they all greeted us with the greatest love and respect. We felt like family.
This feeling didn’t leave for the two weeks. Whether we were invited into the home of a Nepali family (which happened more than once), spoke to someone in the street, so they could practise English or spent time with the children of the orphanage; each time we felt so much love and respect.
The orphanage school we stayed at was called the Kumari Vidhya Mandir Elementary School and it was incredible. Run by Mother Rajan, the street children and orphans were all so inviting, calling me brother, reminding us daily that we are family. They walked us for an hour to arrive at a monastery nearby, just because they thought we might like it. If we walked into a room, at least 2 got up out of their chairs and offered it to us. There was constantly one child (if not more) holding our hand or asking for a hug.
All the children had jobs to do, depending on their age. This meant the orphanage ran very smoothly. Even when there was a small earthquake (almost a year to the day of the big Nepal Earthquake which devastated much of Kathmandu). I was on the roof playing with the children when the building shook. It was a very unusual experience. The young children clung to me and I picked up the ones I could. We gathered together and headed outside to where my friend was already standing with his torch. We walked to the nearby patch of grass and waiting until the mood had settled. During this time we were still invited to join in games and laugh with them.
These children. These people. This place. There is more love and respect than you can believe. A place that welcomes you with a warm heart and promises to leave a big piece of itself in yours.