I have completed my first full day in Nepal. I arrived in the country last night around 8pm local time and was received by two sisters of a family I am close with in Pennsylvania. This first month of my trip I will be with a group of about ten Americans. Today we spent the day in Kathmandu; the remainder of my time with this group will be spent trekking in the Himalayan Mountains. I want to share with you a small glimpse into the interactions I have had thus far.
These are the girls who welcomed me into Nepal. They have already begun to call me “bahini”–the Nepali word for younger sister. You can see in the picture the garland and scarf that they placed around my neck; this is a customary welcome from Nepali people. It was wonderful to finally meet these women in person after hearing so much about them from their family members back in America.
I spent the night in the Boudha Stupa View Hotel. The picture below is the view that I enjoyed while eating breakfast this morning. The Boudha Stupa is a World Heritage Site; unfortunately it was damaged in the April earthquake. However, the charm of this site and surrounding area still exists.
I explored Thamel as well today. Pictured below is me with a small Nepali girl named Kurani. This area is very active. I also met a well-respected member of the Langtang Valley while in Thamel. Langtang Valley was severely damaged in the April earthquake and the community is largely displaced at this time. Upon returning from my trek, I will spend more time with these community members.
We visited Pashupati following our time in Thamel. This area hosts the Hindu cremation services; it was quite an experience to witness as these services are conducted very publicly. In the picture below, I am sitting amongst three “sadhus” or Hindu holy men. Following the photo, I was blessed by the holy men. They were very joyful; I had fun talking to them.
In this final picture below, I am sitting with three Nepali boys. They were very excited to find out that I could communicate with them in their language. We are sitting high above a sacred river overlooking a cremation service and exchanging information about our respective home countries.
Tomorrow morning, we will leave very early in order to begin trekking. I hope to be able to continue to post during the trek. I will share more information later as I must wake up in only a few hours.