I have been picking through my 250 video clips from last year’s trip to Nepal. Since I can’t really decide the best use for them, I’ve arranged a large portion into a feature-length film. Today I output a section of the whole thing, so I’ll share this piece. It’s the first several days of our month-long trip. This shows our first school visit, volunteering with the teachers, and the welcome we received to a very remote, rural village in the foothills of the Himalayas. Famous Sherpa climber and famous Nepali musicians come as part of the package.
The school visit was a beautiful exchange. You can see from this set of clips that we received far more than we gave.
Things to note:
-The porters are carrying music equipment across 10 miles so this village can have its first music concert.
-We only stopped at two places along the whole walking route, simply because this is not a tourist route, there are no amenities.
-Jungle monkeys – we didn’t see any, but it’s said some of the male Himalayan macaques are 4 feet high, and white, to match the snow. Are you thinking what I ‘m thinking? Yep – Yeti!
-DJ grew up here and he was actually our guide on this day. He was the only one who knew the route. I’m tickled that Nepal’s most famous DJ was our Sherpa guide. (Yeah, he’s Sherpa, too.)
-The welcome we received is something I’ve chronicled a bit.
Between the parade, the flowers and all the talking (all in Nepali, none in this video) I was most amazed that 400 kids stood at attention for hours after their quarterly exams, and behaved the way they did.
-The traditional Sherpa dance was performed by the local villagers, no pro dance troupe. AC had not seen his own village’s dance in a long time. I like how it affected him.
-If you’re wondering why we threw a concert before teaching at the school: So much of rural Nepal is run by tiny community factions (forget the national government way out here) so allegiances are really important. Along with the teaching, donating laptops and Kindles, we initiated a trash clean up project and needed buy-in from the whole community for its success. Getting an entire community together and on board with a single agenda is a delicate matter. The more people you can get in one place, the better your chances are. So AC arranged Tapting’s first music concert (they only got electricity in 2009 when he put in a hydroelectric project) so the whole community would turn out. It worked. It helped that two of the most famous singers in the country flew in as the main event.
-Besides bringing a community together, the concert served to warm the kids up to us. There are no roads in or out of this place. Our blond hair made us stick out a little and look unfamiliar. Dancing with (near) them was far easier than talking to them, until they accepted us.
Trusty Sherpa guide, DJ Tenzing
Rest stop with our porters. Tsering (second from left) was our guide for the rest of the trek
She took a break from planting to pose for me.
One of my favorite shots from the trip. Love the bare feet.
Sherpa tea (sauchia) service during the welcome ceremony. The community leader’s wife provided the cups and silver from her family set for this occasion.
Mary Beth trying to warm up the kids with some simple games.
Wasn’t long before we were surrounded. We attempted to teach them Rock-Paper-Scissors. It became Rock-Paper-Knife. Turns out you don’t really have a use for scissors at 9000 feet in Nepal.
Ice breaker of all children: an electronic gadget. Here, the display on my camera was entertaining. They loved seeing their own faces on it.
Before long, the kids sought out MB and her hands were full the rest of the night. I think she even danced a baby around at one point.
AC, me, Mary Beth and the teachers at Solonasa School, Tapting.
13 teachers for 400 students ages 5 to 14.
Milan Lama and Roj Moktan with me one morning. Oy, and yeah, this is me still in my pajamas and four days sans shower.