One of the countries I was most looking forward to visiting was Nepal. It did not disappoint me. What a plethora of sites, sounds, smells, colors, and people! I wish we could have stayed longer, but alas, we are not here for vacation or site seeing. We come, meet our families, take our photographs and rush off to the next destination. It certainly is not the way to see the world, but it is an amazing way to meet many, many incredible diverse people. Nepal has 29 million people. 20 million of them live in poverty. 56% of them are illiterate. They need books! We are anxious to have them completed so we can begin giving them to people, just like the people in Nepal.
We had an interesting experience while on one of our shoots in Nepal. We arrived at our second family’s home. We drove through the crazy, crowded, streets of Kathmandu until we arrived at the narrow, windy, dirt roads about an hour out of the city. Their home was a small, stone structure. They had two cows in the yard, several chickens, a small garden, and a relentless barking dog. We began our photo shoot and got several good pictures taken. As we were setting up our next shot an old man, the grandfather of the home, came barging into the yard yelling and waving his arms. He was clearly very angry about something. About us.
Our interpreter tried speaking to him, but the grandfather only became angrier. We do not want to upset anyone so we quickly packed up our things and left. The young mother was embarrassed and kept apologizing. We told her it was okay, not to worry. We are here to create peace and understanding not to make people feel angry. Our interpreter explained that the grandfather was shouting “Why do they come to take pictures? We are poor. So many come and take pictures but do not help us! Why do they take pictures of my family?” If only we could explain to him that we will help his family.I truly hope someday to return and bring books to his village in Nepal. If only he had known.
As we hiked back down the dirt path toward the road we came across another family in their small yard. The young father and mother anxiously came out to greet us and show off their beautiful little boy. We dipped our heads in the common Nepali way and greeted them with a smile and “Namaste”. It’s amazing how universal a smile is. It brings warm, kind feelings. They were happy to have their photograph taken. As we were leaving the father had just one request. “Please help my son for his education” was his simply, heartfelt plea. This father has concerns like fathers around the world. He wants what is best for his son. He wants his son to have an education. This young poor father, in the hills of Nepal, understands that his son’s future will be better if he is educated. I also recognize the powerful truth in this. That is why I look for opportunities to serve and help these sweet people.
I hope, somehow through my work, and the things I do, that I can make a difference in this young Nepali boy’s life. I hope we can honor his father’s hopes and wishes. I hope we can honor the wishes of the upset grandfather, as well, and help his village. I hope we can fulfill this same hope for many, many fathers and grandfathers and for many, many children.