“As you move through this life…you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life and travel- leaves marks on you.” – Anthony Bourdain
We met up with our dear friend Lidia in the noisy, bustling and otherwise chaotic town of Kathmandu. Which was a pleasant surprise for us all, considering we booked the flight 12 hours before departure time. It was much colder than we were used to (you could grab a beer out of an unplugged fridge and it was icy) and with no heat we found wearing all our clothes – while greatly reducing the size of our backpacks, was not very practical. We were in the land of knock off adventure gear after all, and so decided to suit up.
Our friend Bill gave us a lead on volunteering and so the next two weeks we spent at Little Angel’s, a home for 18 children. (A five hour bus ride from town, although only 30km as the crow flies. Longer if your driver pulls over half way through to wash his hair on the side of the road. True story.) We helped with chores while the kids were at school – picking coffee, digging up turmeric and clearing new plots of farm land. Otherwise we just spent time with the kids helping with homework, playing games or having my hair braided (covered in sesame oil and picked through for lice – thank god none were found!). Living was modest and hard work. Gathering firewood was a 30 minute walk up hill.
If you asked the kids their favorite food they’d say “everything” or “rice” or “spinach.” They’d get a dreamy look on their face when they talked about fruit or eggs or meat. Egg day was Saturday and meat was twice a month. The kids were sweet and after we all warmed to each other, they really just wanted affection and would stroke and kiss your hands or take your arm and put it around them. All the boys loved Ezra and flocked to him. The three women who ran the home were wonderful with the kids and sweet to us. They had fun teaching me how to make egg curry and dal, and had advice on how to wash my clothes and painted my nails. Everyone was very curious if we had an arranged marriage or love marriage (we always just say we’re married-it makes it easier). One of the boys and the house mom Gita gifted me with bangles and the kids taught us Nepali and laughed at our horrible pronunciations. Some of their stories broke our hearts and we’re so happy we had the opportunity to know them and grateful for organizations like Team Nepal who are really making a difference. The kids sent us off with a warm parting and will remain in our hearts.
After volunteering we spent a few days in the lakeside town of Pokhara. Had beautiful views of the Himalayas and hiked up to the Peace Pagoda. Another neck jarring bus ride down to Lumbini, near the Indian border, to check out where the main man Buddha was born. We spent a day biking around temples and had one of the most peaceful moments of my life – sitting under a tree, listening to the wind whirl through leaves and prayers flags, while monks meditate and chant in the background. It’s a moment that will long stay with me.
If you’d like to sponsor a child, donate, or volunteer with Team Nepal: