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The Unknown

NEPAL | Thursday, 2 April 2015 | Views [412]

Here we go-

When I arrived in Hawaii over a year ago with nothing but my backpack, it was with an open heart and open plans, and I certainly didn't know I'd be here one year later. I didn't know what it would be like, who I would meet, what I would do, it was a big unknown that I couldn't wait to explore. But the Big Island of Hawaii has totally suited me and allowed me the time and space to grow that I needed since graduating college in 2013.

And I've learned so much since being here. I've learned how to grow food- something that seemed distantly attractive to me for so many years but that lay outside of my comfort zone. I've learned what it means to live communally, making me more flexible, tolerant, and a better communicator. And now, this most isolated island chain in the world actually feels like home. But it's time to take the lessons from this year and apply them towards my next journey.

Nepal~

It's held such a mystic space in my mind for so long, as it does in the minds of many of us I think. Mount Everest, standing at over 29,000 feet tall, looms as a symbol of adventure, pure wilderness, pushing our comfort zone, and freedom. I close my eyes and see colorful Tibetan prayer flags, intricately- carved temples, smiling faces, and sharp Himalayan peaks. This is the essence that I imagine Nepal to hold…

In 2012, I did an internship with Edge of Seven, the Denver-based non-profit that I will be traveling with. Edge of Seven focuses on empowering girls in developing countries.  www.girleffect.org gives a good overview of why we need to focus on girls if we want to see meaningful change in economic development, education, health, infant mortality rates, and more in the developing world. Investing in girls is investing in our collective future as a planet, and the data that we have proves it. It is for this cause that I am traveling to Nepal.

I worked with Edge of Seven in downtown Denver, event planning, fundraising, and working with donors. Actually going to Nepal with Eo7 was still distantly in the future, a goal I one day hoped to achieve. So this past winter, I took the step and contacted Sarah, the director of Edge of Seven about their April trip to the Solukhumbu district of Nepal. And I signed up! I signed up for 3 months of living and working with 20 high school girls at a girls’ hostel outside of the town of Salleri. For the first two weeks I will be building an addition to the hostel, using earthbag building techniques. For the remaining 2.5 months, I will be working to establish a community garden at the hostel, tutoring English to the girls, and imparting some leadership skills to these girls as a result.

I leave in two days for this adventure and, the reality is, I’m stepping off into the unknown again. Though I have this ‘essence of Nepal’ in my mind, I know it to be a dream. I expect this to be tough, trying, rewarding, and impactful for my own personal journey in this life. I accept that plans made ahead of time may not be kept, and that my time with these girls will be exactly what it needs to be, and that they will teach me as much as I will teach them. I think that the point is to engage. Engage the discomfort, the big problems of economic development, of personal growth, and do so because it is hard, because I can’t go on living as if those big problems didn’t exist, because it is the unknown and I owe it to myself to push my personal boundaries. I don’t know what it is going to be like, but I know it will be ok.

So, here we go- stepping into the unknown. With a smile.

Tags: development, nepal, unknown

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