by Sally Wier
Namaste and autumn greetings from Salleri, Nepal! I am currently doing a 2.5 week trip in the Solukhumbu to visit current and future project sites for The Small World USA and our partnership with Nepal NGO, The Small World. I am writing from Salleri, the district capitol of Solukhumbu at the Girls’ Higher Education hostel. Internet was set up here for the first time about 3 months ago, so I am able to send this from the villages. The girls are doing well and are a pleasure to be with. They are practicing English with me, and I practice my Nepali with them. Many thanks to our supporters for keeping this wonderful program afloat!
Over the past week I had the pleasure to travel along with 12 volunteers from Sweden and Norway to one of our project sites in the Solukhumbu. We trekked to the remote, rural village of Mukli and helped with labor to construct a new earth-quake resistant school building with three classrooms. We worked for four days and spent the nights with two different local host families in order to allow the volunteers to experience the true Nepal. We were joined all along the way by several staff from The Small World including Chhyamba Sherpa, Sonam Sherpa, Dawa Sherpa and Ram Gurung. It was a meaningful trip that allowed this school to receive badly needed support and the volunteers found that what they gave came back to them in far greater quantity. The end of the 4 days of work culminated with a farewell program with the school principal, Dil Kumar Rai, other teachers and students in attendance. Volunteers were thanked with speeches and blessed with the gift of golden khatas (scarves), marigold flower leis and tikka (red paint on the forehead). Local students perform traditional dances for the volunteers and everyone joined in dancing together at the end of the program.
The next morning we traveled back to the town of Phaplu by jeep. The volunteers are now enjoying a Himalayan trek for several days while I visit a number of project sites and make plans for future work on the ground.
Being here in person is a powerful and very tangible reminder of the room for aid in this beautiful country. The souls and hearts of the people are so incredibly big, despite them having few material resources. But as I told all the girls at the hostel today, and the children in Mukli, if you study hard and make education a priority, you can have dreams as big as you wish. With hard study and a positive attitude you can be anything you want. I know these children can dream big. And we can help support them as we dream.