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A transforming spring break trip to Nepal

Nepal+is+located+in+Asia%2C+just+south+of+China.
Nepal is located in Asia, just south of China.

Nepal is located in Asia, just south of China.

Nepal is located in Asia, just south of China.

by Luka Yetter, Staff Writer

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During spring break my family and I traveled to Nepal. Even though we spent roughly 20 hours in the air, it was totally worth it. From the packed city of Kathmandu, to the animal packed jungle of Chitwan, to the beautiful lake of Pokhara.

Nepal is a predominantly a Hindu and Muslim country, but the Nepalese practice religious tolerance so they do not discriminate based on religion (not to say they don’t discriminate) like other countries near that region.

From the moment I stepped out of the airport I was taken aback by the crowdedness and the dust. There was no personal space and you had to be assertive if you wanted to even move an inch, otherwise you’ll be standing in the same spot all day.

And the roads, oh god! the roads. More like no roads. The roads consisted solely of dirt and cows. Yes I said it. Cows! One would be driving no more than five minutes without having to swerve out of the way because a cow is sleeping in the middle of the road. And if you hit one it was a crime because cows are a sacred animal in Nepal.

We stayed with my mom’s best friend and her family. She was the spokesperson for the American embassy.

Throughout the trip I began to appreciate what I have here in America, like clean water, traffic lights, paved roads. But I also appreciated what the Nepalese had in Nepal, like their friendliness, and their hard work.

I spent my 18th birthday on the road. We were driving from Kathmandu to Chitwan. The roads were bumpy and my sister and I were cramped in the back of the Maruti. About 4 hours into what ended up being a 12 hour drive, we had to stop due to a landslide on the side of the mountain. So for about another 5 hours I spent my birthday with a local village on the side of the mountain.

While waiting I needed to use the bathroom. I asked a man sitting outside his house cooking some sort of fried doughnut. He spoke little English but understood what I needed. He led me through his 150 square foot mud and metal home with no door. He led me past his 7 year old daughter sitting on the only bed in the house watching Sesame Street on a TV the size of my phone. He pointed me to the back door and smiled.

I walked down their steps and immediately I had to shuffle over the walkway to avoid falling over the edge of the mountain. When I opened the door to the toilet I was confused, because I could not see the toilet. Then I looked down and that was my first encounter with a turkish toilet.

When I came back out I was met by a full plate of food and homemade tea. They all wished me a happy birthday and I thought to myself that there people have so little but they still manage to give so much.
Most of their friendliness was as simple as a greeting. Everyone, and I mean everyone said “Namaste” it’s their form of hello and it felt so nice. I’d be walking down the street here and no one would stop and clasp their hands together and say Namaste. I would not feel that split second personal connection with someone here and it was nice to receive that in a foreign country. I felt welcomed.

My sister and I set up a presentation about public schools in america to disadvantaged kids. These kids were malnourished, discriminated, and do not have a decent formal education. These kids are poor and are from the southern region and tend to be more darker. Whereas people from the north tend to be a little more lighter, and people with lighter skin tones tend to be in government more than that of the southern darker Nepalese.

So when my sister and I presented we had no idea what we were getting into. Our presentation was set up to be about fifteen minutes but we ended up presenting for an hour.

Right off the bat these kids were curious and lovely. They were so excited to be talking to an American student.

They asked many questions. Sometimes not even about school, like my personal favorite “what is the history of America” so I ended up talking about the whole history in a sum of about 2 sentences.

I did many other things like paragliding and hiking and canoeing, but nothing stayed with me like their culture and their countries personality.

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A transforming spring break trip to Nepal