I first visited Nepal when I was just 18 years old. It was part of my year-long trip around India, and I remember it as the highlight of my time in Asia.
I fell in love with the magnificent mountains and the simple and heart-full people, who walked with us on the trails carrying their unbelievably heavy loads to the villages far from any roads.
I remember walking for days, rising before dawn and setting out for another long days walk up hills and through valleys with rice paddies and forests, by meandering rivers and across glaciers, and arriving in the late afternoon in the village where we were to spend the night. Tired out from carrying heavy packs and with blistered feet, sitting down to eat a meal of “dahl baht”, rice, potatoes and lentils, the staple diet of all Nepalese people, I was happier and more content than I have ever been in my whole life.
Every day we walked, eight to ten hours a day, the friendly Nepalese, from old people to young toothless children would bow their hands in Namaste, honoring the sacredness in every person they met. These people do not have anything, but each day we would walk together on a pilgrimage up these holy mountains and each night they would open their humble homes so we could have a bed for the night, often sleeping in the same room as the family.
I so fell in love with the magnificence of the mountains and the beauty of the people, that I have gone back many times, each time doing a three week trek up into the heavens, far from the madding crowd, to lose the world and remember myself. It is for this reason that I want to do whatever I can to help these beautiful simple people to rebuild their lives and reclaim their heritage. It is the least I can do.