Updated: Jul 15, 2020
This photograph, showing our descent down the beautiful hills of the Lamjung region of Nepal, takes me back to our last day in Borang. It was the bittersweet morning that came too soon. After the 12-hour downpour of rain earlier that night, the day of our final farewell had arrived.
The villagers had planned a going-away party the night before, which included our last home-cooked meal of dal bhat, as well as an offering of a khata, the traditional scarf ceremony, as a gesture of goodwill to wish us a safe journey home. As they draped our necks with colorful silk scarves, they took turns in expressing what our visit meant to them, one after another. Little did they know of the level of meaning this unforgettable experience, that we had shared with them, held for us.
At dawn, we woke to find every one of the villagers, young and old, had come out to say goodbye. And soon after, we’d set out on our long and bumpy journey back to Kathmandu, where we would finally reunite with, and enjoy, the simple gift of a hot shower, a warm bed and, the prized, western toilet, amenities we so thoughtlessly take for granted. Speaking for myself, as well as my team members, I cannot express the sense of joy and gratitude we felt after that first shower.
During the ride back, I remember my eyes and spirit being so enchanted, as we took in the breathtaking views and observed the buzzing street life of Nepal, like watching a movie. I remember how those hours spent together in the car with my team members had a sentimental value for me. We chatted, laughed, and shared our snacks from the States, as we played Cards Against Humanity, and just really bonded with each other. It was also on this ride back where we took turns choosing music from our playlists. Not having slept much the night before, I found it fitting, at this point, to set the mood with Chopin’s “Lullaby, Berceuse” to lull us to sleep.