I haven’t written in two weeks. Things have changed immensely.
Do you ever feel a push from your conscience, something you can’t explain?
I’m writing this post on top of my patio of my apartment about 15 minutes outside of Thamel, Kathmandu.
To pursue my own projects, I had to move and leave my program. In my heart, I knew where I was needed and where I was not. Living 3 hours away from the city and having a 9pm curfew, I felt isolated and trapped. I would wander around the hotel where we worked and lived in, doing a whole load of nothing. I had contacts and dreams of getting things done, without the freedom to do them. As much as I loved their program in Uganda, this felt unorganized and more like a vacation. We did tedious work, like scrape moss off of a roof where it just grew back. We even painted a rich man’s house more pink.
I couldn’t leave the NGO alone. Luckily enough, my friend Jamon shared the same belief as me, and moved staircase away from mine, so we could branch off and get shit done. Also a plus, he speaks almost fluent Nepali.
It feels good to work on my own schedule, to push myself to wake up early in the cold morning to drink green tea (even though it tastes like ass), do yoga, and meditate. I know these things are good for me. In relation, I don’t miss alcohol or drugs as much lately, instead I’ve been craving a hamburger – which is, yes, out of my control. What is in my control? Eggs and dal bhat (rice and lentils), my sleep schedule, and the amount of work I choose to do.
We met our first partner Denish through a mutual friend from Uganda, Akoli. Jamon and I sat down at a coffee shop with Denish a couple days before we moved. Things were quiet before we hit it off. “There’s a group on Saturdays,” he told us, “we started doing volunteer work after the earthquake, and ever since we’ve fallen in love with the job. We tried to join a nonprofit, but we were too young, so we started our own. We’re called Sahayatri Nepal.” He invited us to join the meeting the upcoming Saturday, and we were ecstatic.
Two meetings later, we’re down for three projects over the span of the next month.
I realize now that time is passing quickly, as I check my notebook – the pages filling up with information. I wrote a project proposal to teach art at Florescent Secondary School, and just yesterday it was approved. We’re signed up to volunteer at a dental camp on the 4th, and a menstrual outreach on the 20th.
Our relationship with Denish is not the same as it was when we first met him. He invited us to his home for Tihar, where him and his family gave tika on our foreheads. Now I can technically call Denish my brother. Throughout all of my travels, I’ve never experienced such a special ceremony. It was an honor to join Denish and his family. Everyone was so welcoming to Jamon and I, they didn’t get mad when I spilled the tika and when I played the flute very badly.
The food was delicious, the gifts were wonderful and thoughtful, and the love I experienced made it feel like I was amongst my own family.