Notes on the Ghusel Reunion
Day 2 back in Nepal.
Early rise to Ghusel. Due to the lack of fuel from the border issues, taxi costs went up, gas cooking became a privilege. Quickly starting to notice the magnitude of the negative effects.
Stopped by some of the Women's Empowerment offices. Was able to witness the success of the program, with a new beauty shop up and running.
There was a 5.something quake that interrupted an interview with a leader of the local branch, and immediately brought back unsettling memories of enduring the 7.4 in Ghusel.
Driving back into Ghusel was exactly what my heart desired. We were reunited with Gorbinda, our contact and the local leader of the village, and his entire family. This family has given us nothing but love and support since day 1 of our operations. We were provided lunch and their infamous milk tea inside of their newly built home! This was the home that we were originally planning on building for them, but were denied the privilege of doing so because they felt that they had enough saved up to eventually build it on their own. Instead, they provided us with lists of the less fortunate villagers who needed help moreso than themselves. Another example of the beauty within the Nepali culture.
We then continued with the distribution of jackets and hats to the children at the school to prepare for the onsetting winter. This was the school that we had previously called home during the earthquakes and shelter building project. The children were so excited! It was such an incredible feeling having these beautiful Nepali kids remember my given Nepali name. Dāhrī Darti. Which started as "Earth" and due to my huge beard at the time, changed to "Earth Beard." I'm okay with it.
We brought a Polaroid camera. The village erupted! Something about seeing yourself through someone else's eyes will always fascinate the soul. There was a grandmother who stoically waited for the barrage of children to stop attacking me, to ask me for a photo of her and her grandson. Watching her eyes as the film developed, I knew that this was something she'll cherish forever.
We were then blessed by the entire school with applause, tikkas, picked flowers, love and gratitude upon our exit. Something pure, and as many times as it happens, unforgettable.
Went down to check on the shelters we built on our last trip. Everyone had added on to them and seem to be doing well in their new homes. They were very happy to see familiar foreign faces. Everyone in this village is now housed. Prim, the outlandish Tamang voice of Ghusel, was overwhelmingly happy and grateful to see us. Looks like the village is flourishing with food and covered with shelter. Down further we are welcomed with fresh picked oranges from an elderly local man, flush with gratitude and sincerity. We spoke in broken Nepali, and filled the gaps with honest smiles and laughter. What a perfect day.
After hiking up to the capital, we were easily coerced into playing soccer with the local kids. We were then invited to the temporary schoolyard to play volleyball in what my mind saw as an Aztec court. They took it seriously, and the score started to show it. Sean and I had the obvious height advantage and decided to lay off the spikes. After all, we were there to build bridges, not burn them.
The drive back to Kathmandu was a quiet one. Our minds filled with memories new and old, and looking forward to many, many more.
Benjamin, Dāhrī Darti