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“If you don’t get lost, there’s a chance you may never be found.” –Anonymous

Chapter 2

From the balcony of the small guest house, I watch cars and motorbikes edge along dusty streets. It’s not yet eight in the morning but hammering, drilling, shouting, birds, and drum beats compete for space in the heavy air. And spitting. Thick, jelly loogies shoot from mouths and nostrils, a seemingly common Nepali habit that even to this day makes my stomach churn.


A knock interrupts this cacophony of sound. The voice is heavy and rough, an early morning after a night of heavy drinking.

“This is Michelle,” I answer, emphasizing the “shh” sound.

“Pravat. Volunteer director. We go?” His words are both command and question. Though the man is short and portly, he walks quickly to the place I am to exchange money. The attendant forgets to give me three rupees, and Pravat stands by quietly as I point to the calculator on the counter. The exchanger sees I am relentless and reluctantly passes coins beneath the plexiglass partition. …



I promote education and leadership in Nepal ( and host dinners in NYC ( More:

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