What happens to a girl after she is rescued by KI Nepal staff at the Nepal/India border and decides (with the help of her family and staff) to go to a safe home? Depending on the girl’s situation, she stays at a temporary shelter close to the border office, then travels with a staff member to one of the safe homes. There she is welcomed by the safe home staff and girls. When I say welcomed, I don’t mean a polite but distant welcome from strangers. I mean a welcome similar to a family welcoming a new member. The girl may feel uncomfortable at first, and depending on the level of trauma she experienced before rescue, barely able to interact with the others. However, the girls and staff invite her in with great care and kindness. Within a few days (or less for some) she feels comfortable with the other girls, participates in daily activities and is one of the group.
Rescued girls doing a “trust fall” during a leadership training
Experiencing this nurturing environment first-hand brought a whole new meaning to the description I read on our website about the rescued girls’ safe home experience. Not only did they treat each new girl this way, it was the same for me, a foreigner! From the moment I set foot in the safe home, the girls treated me as one of the sisters!
Several girls and me making an afternoon snack!
In reflection, I feel that some of this is because of their culture. Nepali people, in my experience, are welcoming and hospitable in general. I also feel that some of it has to do with the fact that they have fewer material things. Being a privileged American who has many things is often seen as a blessing, and is in many ways. However, the more “things” we have, the more we can miss out on what is truly important. When people have less, their relationships are deeper. I saw this a lot. The Nepali people aren’t distracted by the latest technology. Their dominant communication is not through text, or even phone calls. They spend time with each other! They put people before their schedule. For an American who is distracted by technology and tends to focus more on the schedule than the person, I had a lot to learn. However, I say conviction, it was entirely worth it! My perspective was changed, and my worldview has been different ever since.
How can you enhance your perspective on cultures and the world?