Knowing Nepal

by Crooked Trails co-founder Chris Mackay

Chris gets her dhoko loaded

Nepal is a magical place for me…it always has been. I did my first major trek there, I met my wasband there, I learned to paraglide there, I helped build my first school there, I became involved in supporting the fight against sex trafficking there. I have met so many wonderful and amazing people in that little land-locked country. So as I get ready to head back to the land of the Himalayas again this fall I am filled with joy.

We will be heading to the village of Chandeni in the Kavre area for our fourth and likely final year. The first year we traveled to this tiny village 4 hours SE of Kathmandu, we went to shore up a school that had collapsed under the weight of a small landslide. The school went up to grade 6 but not beyond. We recognized instantly how much value would be gained (especially by the girls of the community) if we were able to build the secondary school. And so, the following year we went back to build the 7th and 8th grade classrooms – funded by donors just like you. Last year we returned and built the 9th and 10th grade rooms so that the children in this hospitable village at the foot of the Himalayas could finish their education in their own home town. And this year, we will return a final time to build the water systems for the school and the village itself.

I look forward to seeing  Someela my host mother, and her mother Goma, whom I had just fallen in love with. I remember each day after tea Goma would make her red dye paste and place a small dollop on my third eye between my brows and push in some rice on top of it. I was blessed and ready for the day. I am looking forward to seeing the teachers at the school and see how the new rooms are filled with eager students. I am looking forward to making the long walk to the river to bath and figure out how to do it as elegantly and efficiently as a Nepali woman does in a sari. That is no easy feat, I will tell you.  I look forward to helping the participants on the trip make their way in the myriad of customs that are the daily life of the Nepali people. This entire trip is such a joy and feast for the senses. The village is full of sights, sounds and tastes that are simply not experienced in the United States. Every day is a new opportunity to make a meaningful memory that will come back as a smile on your face for years to come.

And this year will be special as well. Saint Bryan of Evening Magazine is coming with us to document the incredible cross-cultural opportunities that this kind of travel offers people. We were very pleased to work with Evening Magazine and Saint Bryan on our Peru Program years ago, and are just as excited to have him come to Nepal with us this fall.

Join us! Come to Nepal this October and help the village of Chandeni complete their community development project. And come to Nepal to have the experience of a life time and change your perspective. I remember the first time I went to Nepal, in the village of Kagbeni there was a sign that said, “You are not here to change Nepal, Nepal is  here to change you.”

Call me directly with any questions you might have: Chris Mackay, 206-372-4405

Chris with host family in Nepal

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