I can’t believe that I have been in the wonderful country of Nepal for nearly two weeks now. Time has flown by, and I am so thankful that I still have a little over a week and a half remaining here. Everyday I experience new amazing things and “fascinating” has quickly became the most used word in my vocabulary.
It took 49 hours to get from my house in Arkansas to my sister’s friend’s house in Kathmandu. My sister lived in the crazy busy capitol city of Kathmandu for about 2 years, but now lives in a town that is an additional 3 hour bus ride from the city. We spent a couple of days hanging out with all of her friends in Kathmandu and seeing some of the local sites.
From Kathmandu we traveled to the town of Pokhara where we would begin a several day trek through the mountains. It was so fascinating to visit remote villages that are only accessible by foot and see the Himalayan mountain range. The pinnacle of our trek was in the village of Ghorepani which is a 2 day hike from the nearest road. After the trek, we traveled to my sisters town in the Nuwakot region of Nepal (which is where high numbers of people have been taken advantage of for the human trafficking industry). It’s been awesome to hang out with her and see the fascinating life she lives.
Like a girl:
Like a girl is a trending hash tag and saying, especially in the sports world right now… and I’m guilty as charged for using it. In fact, we even chanted it at the start line of our historic 4-woman bobsled race (which is a story for another day that I still need to blog about). I absolutely love this #likeagirl commercial:
One of the things I am most fascinated with in Nepal is the hard work ethic amongst the people, especially the women. In my culture (the American Bobsled culture) we pride ourselves in being some of the biggest, toughest, hardest working people in the world… or so I thought. I still think we are pretty darn tough, but I’ve meet some women who may have us beat.
The housekeeper’s story-
When I was in Kathmandu I had the privilege of having tea with one of my sister’s friends. She lives with her husband, children, and her husband’s parents. In this culture it is expected that the daughter-in-law will move in with her husbands family and then she becomes responsible for taking care of everyone. Every morning she wakes up and walks to gather water for her family – and that big jug is crazy heavy! Then she takes care of her house (cooking, cleaning, children, ect) and then leaves to housekeep for another wealthier family for very very little pay. Only to return to have to do the same for her own family… #likeagirl
The porter’s story-
On our trek, I loved sitting around the fire with the porters and hearing their stories. You may have heard of the famous Nepali Sherpas, but they are actually called porters. Sherpa is just the last name of a people group that became famous for their work as porters on Mt. Everest. Not all porters carry bags for tourist trekkers, only the lucky ones. Some actually carry food and supplies to the remote villages that are only accessible by foot, and some of the supply porters are women! I was struggling with my little backpack on the trek, but these ladies carry heavier loads up and down the mountain everyday! Some of these loads even get up in the neighborhood of 35 to 50 kilograms… #likeagirl
This is a video of a male supply porter that we talked to along the trail. He was on his way down the mountain with an empty load. He had just delivered fresh vegetables to a village:
The cement laborer’s story-
Currently, I am sitting on my sisters roof, soaking up some much needed post-bobsed season sunshine. I feel absolutely ridiculous relaxing (as if my life is so hard that I need to relax) because I am watching women and children work their tails off as cement laborers at a nearby building. Check out the video below to see for yourself…
#likeagirl Here’s the most insane part. I said in the above video that they are working for “$80 a month, if they are lucky”, unfortunately these ladies are not that lucky. I just found out that they are doing this constant labor for no where near that amount! $80/month is the minimum wage in Nepal. However, in a country with a corrupt government and people who are living in desperation for work, they will rarely receive wages close to that amount. I also counted at least 5 school aged boys who should be getting an education, instead they are working to help provide for their families.
I feel completely insufficient, sitting here relaxing in the sun on my vacation, while unjust labor is literally happening all around me. I’ve always wondered what I would’ve done if I lived during the African-slave trade, how would I have helped? But the reality is that there is more un-justice, currently happening all over the world, than any other time in history, and I’m not doing anything to stop it. Something has to be done, something has to change.
To be continued…