The Beautiful People of Nepal
WEEK 2, DAYS 5–10
Although I have lived in Nepal for less than two weeks, I have already formed a pretty solid stereotype for the Nepali people. Words that come to mind include soft-hearted, kind, generous and, well, beautiful. Even their national greeting “namaste” literally meaning I salute the divine in you, speaks volumes for their courteous characteristics.
Of course this is a generalisation, and I am certain there are the exceptions to the rule (in fact I have been what we have now termed “white-girl ripped-off” on multiple occasions). But so far, majority rule, and I have formed an adoration for Nepali men, women and children alike.
I suppose it’s this lovely nature that makes it even more heart-breaking to see the wide-spread poverty. Take, for instance, our housekeeper Sita. Sita is everything I described above and more. She is softly-spoken and will go out of her way to make others feel welcome. Sita is 24-years old and has a 14-year old son who lives with her ex-husband’s parents in Dang Deukhuri District, a 12-hour bus ride away. Sita will go for six, nine, 12 or even 24-months without seeing her son. She misses him a lot. Sita works 12-hours a day, earning $130AUD a month which barely covers rent/food/water/hospital bills…etc. She is trying to save enough money to go and work in Dubai…. But until then, she scrapes by.
I have no doubt that Sita is just one of many in a similar situation. Despite having so little, the Nepali people are so generous. Bishep, the volunteer coordinator at Kanti Children’s Hospital where I am working said,
“We may be poor, but our hearts are not.”
Kanti is a Government funded hospital, but the funding doesn’t cover the many of the costs of running such a facility and they are reliant of fundraising and donations, as well as nominal payments by families. Despite the hardships, the staff at Kanti are dedicated to saving the children of Nepal day in and day out.
Everyday I spend here, my heart breaks a little more for these people, but the generosity of others gives me hope for the future of this country.
And cue the photos…