“It takes a whole village to raise a child.” ~ Nigerian proverb
The village may be physically located in a poor area of Nepal but the residents now include people from Australia, New Zealand and Scotland.
I’ve just recently returned from a Community Project trip to Nepal with World Expeditions. It was an opportunity to help in the post-earthquake rebuilding of one small corner of Nepal unlikely to receive government help.
Seven Aussies, one Kiwi and a couple of resident Scots (actually, Sheila is Irish and John is English but they live in Aberdeen) dug, picked, shovelled, carried, hammered, pulled, shaped, bent, chipped, cut and ran their hearts out for nine whole days to provide a solid foundation to a new school building in the village of Lura, Lower Solukhumbu, Nepal.
An Experience in Gratitude:
For the warm welcome we received from the school and wider community.
For sunny days and the satisfaction of hard work.
For the things we take for granted back home.
Like a truck full of gravel.
Or a cement mixer.
Or a wheelbarrow.
Or for the easy availability of supplies.
For the smiles and fun of children.
For new friendships.
For the fulfillment of achieving more than expected.
Based on my previous Community Project experience, I was expecting a lack of access to electricity and mobile phone reception while working in the village so imagine my surprise to have access to both of these luxuries. (What I hadn’t counted on and much worse was the lack of access to chocolate. Tough days…)
Our trekking crew successfully jerry-rigged a powerboard and electric light in the dining tent, feeding off a line from a nearby house.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking. As were we. I’m getting to that.
One night, Sheila asked our guide the question that had been on all our minds. “Shouldn’t we pay someone for the electricity?”
Bikash shook his head and explained. “Everyone in this village is so grateful you are here. They are so thankful that you have come to help them. They ask all the time, ‘What can we do? What can we offer them?’ They want to do whatever they can to say thank you for what you are doing.”
There was silence around the table. I think all of us were deeply moved and felt both proud and humbled. The people of Lura have so little and we were the ones to be thankful for the opportunity to do such a simple thing to help them.
Changing the World
In a physical sense, we have changed the world of the community of Lura and the children of Manju Shree Primary School, helping them on their way to a new and sturdy school building.
More importantly, however, our own worlds have changed in ways we are still discovering. We may never see our lives in quite the same light again. And a part of us will always be living in a small village in Nepal.