As I reflect on my time in Nepal, many fond memories come to mind. One thing that sticks out is the way in which the girls share and care for each other. Americans so often have a sense of entitlement to our possessions. In Nepal, however, I realized quickly that not everyone is that way. The girls share everything before being asked, and without expecting anything in return. They also share food. For example, if you have an orange and are in the presence of others, you share part of the orange with them, no matter how small it is. I found out quickly how entitled I feel, even of small snacks like oranges! One girl made the comment, “Americans don’t share food with each other”. My gut reaction was, “Yes we do!!” We make meals for each other, and on occasion may pay for another person’s meal at a restaurant. In a family, we share meals, of course. However, as I thought about it more, I realized that we don’t share with just anyone. It opened my eyes to one of the differences between our cultures.
Below is a story of one of our rescued girls who exhibited these characteristics:
My name is Shristi. I am from western Nepal and lost my parents at a young age. Though my aunt took care of me, she was neglectful. Throughout childhood I always believed that if my parents were alive, they would have taken care of me and given me a good education. After a while, I made plans with some friends to go to India and find a job. We believed there would be many opportunities to earn good money. At the border of India, KI Nepal staff stopped me and learned of my plans. They told me of the dangers of travelling to India as a young woman without protection, and the risk of being trafficked. The staff gave me the option to go to a safe home to receive skills training. I gladly went to the safe home. Living in a great community with other girls like me helped me grow and heal. I appreciated how well they loved me and treated me like a sister. After finishing sewing and beautician skills training, I became one of the sewers who make products that are sold in America. I am grateful for the healing and opportunities I received from KI Nepal.
*Name changed for protection
I was so encouraged to know Shristi and spend time with her during my season in Nepal. She loved her “sisters” and staff, worked hard at everything she did, and had a positive attitude. I saw these characteristics in all the rescued girls: they were positive and joyful after experiencing terrible trials, as well as loving and caring to those around them. To be honest, I am usually negative even in small trials. Also, during difficult trials, I tend to focus only on myself and struggle to be intentional with those around me. The rescued girls continue to convict and inspire me today.
Coming up on Christmas, I can’t help but share about the holidays I celebrated while in Nepal! Did you know that Nepal is a predominately Hindu country and therefore celebrates Hindu holidays more than Christian holidays? One of these holidays is called Diwali, which means “festival of lights”. It is celebrated in November, yet reminds me of Christmas! Here’s why: many families decorate the outside of their homes with strings of lights! When I was out past dark, I enjoyed the “Christmas” lights that covered numerous homes. What a treat! Even our next door neighbor had lights up. Different cultures are full of surprises, and what is more surprising is that some of the differences aren’t so different.
I hope these words give you a little glimpse into the culture of Nepal and the valuable things I learned while living there. Be encouraged that your partnership with RTM makes all the difference in the world!
Have a restful and enjoyable holiday season!