CT guides Tanner & Kolena are sending periodic dispatches from the field in Nepal, where they our first group of post-quake volunteers and now are doing further re-con work on the ground . . .
It is approaching the one month mark in our time here in Nepal and we wanted to give you a bit of an update. Since we last returned from Chandani village we have been meeting so many people and learning so much from them. There are many potential projects that Crooked Trails is going to get involved in and we are very excited for the potential. We have also been sampling what Kathmandu has to offer so we can provide travelers (that means you!) with the most amazing experiences as you explore and help Nepal. We are also preparing for our next round of volunteers to arrive this weekend when we will head back to Chandani and work on more projects to aid the community. It has been a time of great learning, personal growth, and realizations that Nepal has much more to give those that visit than we can ever hope to leave behind.
Kolena and I have been meeting with a man named Hari who runs the Rising Lotus Children’s Home in Kirtipur, just outside Kathmandu city. He also works with a village called Kanda. It is a Chepang community out near Chitiwan National Park. Hari does amazing work and is supporting 31 children, mostly girls, who are either orphaned or partially orphaned through access to education, a beautiful home, and loving staff to help them grow. We have identified some areas that Crooked Trails might partner with him and his partners. Kolena and I have developed a community program that we have used in other parts of the world that we think will be a perfect fit for Kanda village. We talked to him about utilizing our program there to help raise the standard of living. We went over a little of the program with him and are planning to go back in December and run through a trial run of it with him so he can then take it to the village. We think there is tremendous potential there for this program, and once they are well established it would be a great place to do home stay cultural exchange trips as well. This would be an awesome experience and would also support projects the community starts out of the program. We feel like this could be a great potential new village for Crooked Trails to support, and also allow people to be involved with projects the village will eventually do.
In addition to the potential for new contacts, the work in Chandani is going on smoothly. We are preparing for the next group of volunteers to begin helping in the building of the milk processing station there. The community has already begun construction from their own funds and now we have been able to utilize generous donations to add to that work. It is our hope to help continue its construction. There is still a great need for funds for this project. Once complete the station will support the entire community and allow them to become even more self reliant. Of any project or cause we can support for them, this has the potential for the most impact. If you feel moved please consider making a donation to this project.
When we have had some free time we have been doing as much around Kathmandu as we can! We are trying new things and discovering amazing experiences to pass on to you, the traveler. We have spent sunrise at the ancient city of Bhaktapur, rode mountain bikes around the Kirtipur Temple, cooked momo with a great teacher, and explored Shivapuri National Park from an amazing eco-lodge.
Just to give you a taste of some of these experiences, let us recount our time in Bhaktapur. You start at 5:30 and immediately immerse yourself in learning about the history of this ancient city. Nepal is rich in tradition and has worked hard to try to preserve that in places like Bhaktapur. Being there at sunrise you get to see the city at a time when local people are doing their daily offerings and prayers as the sun comes up and shines on the ancient buildings. Hari (a different Hari than above) was our guide and he is a local there in Bhaktapur who works for a Thamel based company called Social Tours. He was amazing, super knowledgeable and friendly and showed us things we would have never seen on our own. You eat breakfast at a guest house and then stop through a Thanka Tibetan art school to learn about Buddhism and of course buy some souvenirs. It’s a tough life…
Kolena and I are feeling so humbled and lucky to be here exploring the land, culture, and history of Nepal while doing our best to support the amazing work already taking place. Nepalis are some of the most positive, hard-working, and industrious people we have ever spent time with. They are also some of the most humble and generous as well. There is a deep sense of gratitude here, an understanding that the good and bad in life is part of being human. That we can often not change the things that happen to us in life so it is best to see the bright side and appreciate the things we have. This is a lesson that we will take home with us and strive to emulate in our own lives. The future is so bright here and the country is growing in a new way. It is a time of optimism, potential, and forward thinking here and we are excited to be part of it.
Until next time we hope you are all doing well. Take care!
~ Tanner and Kolena
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