This letter was written by staff member, Abby Youngblood, who has just returned from a seven month stay in Nepal.
Wow, how can I communicate the great experiences I had? Words can’t describe how incredible my time in Nepal was. Here’s my attempt: The staff and girls accepted me as one of them, which is no small thing! To live life with them each day, I learned about their culture, language, and their perspective on things. Challenges came up (struggling to learn the language, miscommunication, cultural differences, missing home, etc.), but they were completely worth it. Many have visited the safe homes from the US, and have learned and experienced great things. However, I had an opportunity that I had only ever dreamed about: I was able to live with the girls and staff and be there when the teams left, when the trips were over. I got a perspective foreigners rarely get, and I don’t ever want to take that for granted.
It is difficult to grasp the issue of trafficking in a given part of the world until you take time to learn about the people and culture. For example, the kind, hospitable, gentle attributes of the Nepalese culture make it unique and rich, but also make the young women especially susceptible to trafficking. Another example is the caste system. It affects the culture and continues to play a part in the deep poverty and gender inequality of the country, further contributing to trafficking.
Finally, living in Nepal for months with the girls, working with the staff and being a part of the organization brought the reality of this cause home. The staff became my older brothers and sisters who fight on the front line against trafficking. They literally devote their lives to save and help as many girls as possible. The girls truly became my little sisters. It isn’t just about working to help people I didn’t know to be free from sexual slavery anymore. It is about a driving hope that my younger sisters will be safe from the evils of trafficking. It is about dreaming for their futures, for opportunity, freedom and success in whatever they put their minds to. I wasn’t able to build relationship with each girl in each safe home while I was there, but for the girls I lived with, our relationships run deep. I will never forget them. I will think of and pray for them often. And as I told them our last evening together: we may be far apart physically, but our hearts will always be close. I love and miss the girls and staff more that words can say, and am incredibly grateful to KINepal for inviting me to come.
If you would like to read more about Abby’s time in Nepal, check out her blog at abbyyoungblood.wordpress.com/.