There is a goat in the little hatch-back next to us.
I look at him from the back seat of our own little car and he looks at me. Then they are gone, swallowed by the heaving web of traffic cascading down the pot‐holed roads of Kathmandu.
Welcome to Nepal…
-Issue 1 full copy available for download here.-
Ten weeks, from the city to the jungle, rice fields to the mountain tops. We’re at the edge of the earth, the birthplace of Buddha, this magical place and it’s people. Stories and images taken from my time volunteering with VCD Nepal in a country of cows, curry and culture.
More from Nepal:
We are standing at the edge of the earth… The entire world just seems to drop away in all directions, dissolving into grey as thick clouds engulf the Annapurna range we are standing on.
One last embrace, that’s all we get. I bury my face, breathe deeply and will the tears to come. They don’t. I hold tighter for just a moment longer. “Jess, you’ll miss your flight.” I peel myself away, avoiding meeting his eyes because my own are still devastatingly dry, and lug my pack into the line for security.
The bright green rice fields dotted with small homes and carved by black winding roads, stretch out on one side to the edge of the jungle and to the base of the snow capped Himalayan range to the other. The fields are tended by hand, workers bent double with sickle in hand.
I awake, already hot and sticky, to the sound of small feet rushing along the concrete corridor outside my door. The other volunteer, an English girl named Polly, is already awake and slowly disentangling herself from the mosquito net surrounding her bed.
At least ten arms reach towards me, pressing the wet tika onto my forehead while murmuring soft words of blessings and good will. My folded hands attempt to catch the red rice and curd mixture as it drips from their hands onto my lap and the carpeted floor we sit on.
There he sits on the crumbling steps of a temple, its tiered roof offering shade from the midday sun. With arms folded across his lap, he watches the traffic racing by, stirring a cloud of dust around his shoulders.
At the time I didn’t realise how true this would turn out to be, but after spending two and a half months with VCD, as I stand in the airport security line with tears soaking my cheeks, it feels more like I’m leaving my home and my family than simply returning from a holiday abroad.
I’m tripping through the streets of Thamel, doe eyed and foggy, with the sights and sounds of Nepal’s capital closing in. At least we are moving, that’s important right now. We need to keep moving because the ground feels like it’s getting away on us.
“We have over 10,000 rivers in Nepal, with the collective power to generate enough hydro-power for the whole of Nepal and then some- but we don’t have the power stations built to harness it, so we continue to import electricity from India!”
Crouched over a partially finished wooden window sits one of Nepal’s finest craftsmen. His brow is creased in concentration, his arms moving swiftly across the wood, deftly craving away the wood to reveal his design.