Photo of the Week
Himalaya A
Photo Title


WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 117753
    [post_author] => 24
    [post_date] => 2015-04-26 08:20:02
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-26 14:20:02
    [post_content] => Isabel
I want my family and friends to now that our group is completely safe and unharmed, although many people in Nepal right now are not. Through the continuing aftershocks we are reminded that despite how safe and distant we feel here in the mountains, Kathmandu is in turmoil and many people nearby are suffering. For me, its horrible knowing that my home for the past few months and this country that I've grown to love so much is suddenly in such an unstable state. I want everyone to understand that we are all safe and taken care of, but that this has affected us all and has affected many people we have come to know. I can not say what this will mean for the next few weeks, for us or for Nepal, but I hope everyone reading will keep the people of this country in their thoughts as Nepal recovers.
Something I want people to know about Nepal right now is that this earthquake has been expected for a long time and was not as bad as predicted. Many people have been hurt or killed or lost their homes and many of Nepal's most loved temples and stupas have been damaged. Even so, Kathmandu has been prepared and Nepal has already received support from many other countries. The recovery process has begun even before the aftershocks haver finished. In the months that I have been here I have experienced how loving and generous many of the people this country are and I have so much hope for the future.
Jack - 
I would like my family and friends to know that I am well and that they should trust dragons with what they say and do. Being on the eventful end of this experience. I am personally experiencing how competent and prepared they even for events such as this.
Something I want people to know about Nepal right now is that my second family is there and well bluntly I don't know if they are okay. Although at some point contact will be made with them; for now it has not. I hope whoever reads this will send out prayers that they are found alive and well.
Meg Chandler - 
Dear Mom, Dad, James, Family and friends,
Namaste! There was an earthquake (7.5 riechter scale) yesterday, April 25. Yes, we felt the initial earthquake and continue to feel aftershocks. We are in the mountains and have been safe through this whole situation. However, we are unsure of what will come and of our future plans. As far as we know, the reality of this earthquake is not as bas as what Nepal has been expecting and preparing for. Hopefully, this means a quicker recovery. I will try and be in touch soon. I love you!
In light of the current situation in Nepal, I wish for the best - for a quick and successful recovery, for peace and happiness for Nepal, specifically for those who have lost their homes, family members, friends, and their own lives.
Ryan Cordero - 
I would like my family and friends to know that I am healthy and safe in this moment. I feel extremely grateful for my safety and the comfort that my friends and instructors have provided me. I think it is more important to worry for the people of Nepal and help them in any way possible. Being in the mountains, away from Kathmandu, it is hard t grasp the reality of what has happened. But my heart and mind still go to the people.
In the simplest manner I wish for Nepal and its people to bounce back from this traumatic experience. In times of adversity it is easy to lay down and have other people take care of you, but I wish for all Nepalis to feel empowered and rebuild their wonderful part of the world. They are extremely compassionate and easy going people. I wish that Nepal recovers from this disaster as easy and quickly as possible.
Jon Luke - 
I would like my family and friends to know that I am safe and doing well. It feels strange to be so out of contact and not in a position to know what is happening. Every now and then we feel a little tremble (aftershocks) and all we can do is wait until more information is revealed. I am grateful I am in a safe place. Everything feels pretty surreal right now and I hope the best for those who are in Kathmandu and now as safe as I am.
I hope the best for Nepal and Kathmandu, and, in particular, all the amazing people I have formed relationships with. I wish that Nepal recovers from this travesty quickly. Nepal is an amazing place with amazingly friendly people who are so caring and loving and I hope that they can receive the same care and love that they showed me. I hope I can do everything I can in the rest of my time here to repay them.
Aedan - 
I want my family and friends to know that I am safe and okay. Nepal has been rocked by a 7.5 earthquake, of which we are still feeling the aftershocks. We were incredibly lucky, being on top of a mountain ridge, far from the epicentre. I am all good, I am just anxious to get back from the mountains and help however I can.
I wish only the best for Nepal, and hope that the country has a quick recovery. Although the situation is unfortunate, the damage is not as bad as some had predicted, and for that I am grateful.
Andrew - 
ii want my family and friends to firstly know that I am safe and the entire group is in good health. Secondly, we have experienced no danger because we were relatively far from the epicentre of this earthquake. I want people to know that Nepal was preparing for an earthquake like this.  Death and damage have occurred but the people here are resilient and have overcome this hardship.
Kira Martin - 
I would like my family and friends to know that Nepal was just hit with a 7.5 earthquake and we are still feeling the aftershocks. We first felt the earthquake while we were trekking and it took everyone a few seconds to realize what was actually happening. For a number of people in the group, this was their first time experiencing an earthquake (myself included). To me, the earthquake itself and all the aftershocks seem surreal, especially since out group is/was not directly impacted by them in a damaging or harmful way. Original plans are being changed so that the group can move around in the safest way.  I am very thankful that we were where we were when the earthquake struck and that Kathmandu is still operational and that communication around the world is still possible.
Nepal has apparently been aware that an earthquake is due and has been preparing for it. It is hard to know that temples, buildings, and parts of town have been destroyed or damaged and we may have been some of the last people to have seen them. But, at thee same time, I also feel very optimistic about Nepalis ability to rebuild what was damaged or destroyed because that is exactly what they have done in the past. A number of incredible and beautiful temples that we saw weren't originals but had been rebuilt after the last major earthquake in 1934. My thoughts go out to all of the people inside and outside of Nepal who have been impacted by this event.
Ryan Josiah - 
I would like my family and friends to know that I am fine. I am safe and being takien care of by dragons. I am grateful to have a tight knit that takes care of each other. I am lucky to be in the mountains but also have compassion to people who have lost homes and people they know. On a further note, I am willing to help where needed. Something I want people to know about Nepal is that it is a fascinating country. It is rare to walk down the street without getting a friendly smile. I feel extremely welcomed. All the Nepalis that have helped our group have been very nice. I only wish the best for this great country.
Ben - 
Dear family and friends,
Please do not worry about me. I am completely safe. Throughout this tragedy I have never been in any physical danger. I am sad for Kathmandu, my home stay family, and for all of Nepal. I am frustrated by how little I can do to help right now. I have never been this close to such a large disaster of this magnitude, and it is extremely humbling and surreal. Please send your thoughts and prayers to those that have been directly impacted by the earthquake, but don't worry about me. I am completely safe and am surrounded by good friends and our amazing instructors. I am very lucky and extremely grateful for my current situation. I hope that Nepal has a swift recovery from this disaster.
Much love,
Ben
Brian - 
In the wake of this terrible tragedy I would like to let all of my family and friends know that I am safe. The quake struck yesterday morning while we walked to our next campsite at the top of a ridge. It may sound strange but the top of a mountain is actually one of the safest places for us to be. So we will be staying here until we know we have a safe place to move to. Nepal is an unpredictable place even in ideal circumstances, so I ask you all to be patient until, as soon as we know more or I have the ability to talk to you, you will know. Until then, do not worry about me and please keep the people of Nepal in your thoughts and prayers.
Kathmandu valley was once an ancient lake and sits on a major fault line. The quake that struck yesterday has been predicted for a long time and was thankfully not as destructive as many predicted. That being said, Kathmandu and the surrounding area is filled with ancient buildings and sits on a layer of mud, and a great deal of destruction and death did occur. For the next few weeks, I imagine that the press will widely cover this event, but eventually the camera crews will leave. I plead that when this happens that Nepal and it's people do not leave your thoughts. The recovery will not be easy and the country that I have come to love over the past few months will not be the same for many years to come. The people of Nepal are some of the kindest and most loving I have ever met and they deserve out help as much as anyone else.
Nicole - 
I would like my family and friends to know that I am well. Starting yesterday on our trek II felt the first tremors of an earthquake. From where we were the movement of the earth felt no more unsettling than an earthquake i have experienced in California before. I am currently several hours away from the epicenter by car (100km in distance) on an open ridge in a safe location. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that the city I have just spent the last 5 weeks in has experienced an earthquake of considerable magnitude. Please know that I am in a beautiful mountain setting. The sun is shining now and I am in the company of Dragons instructors and friends.
We've learned that some of the buildings and temples in old town and Bhaktapur have collapsed or experienced damage. Danny spoke of how from a long term perspective many of these temples have fallen before and been rebuilt. That the destruction from the earthquake is just part of a larger cycle of change; somehow that is both comforting and unfathomable since the damage means to many people that the swiftness of change feels real now. And yet, this is not the end nor the beginning of this history, it makes me feel small. Help from other countries has started to enter Nepal to bolster the move towards recovery. I hope Nepal can respond collectively to this natural disaster and that the people who are most affected feel supported and that they have a a community to reach out to in the coming weeks.
Kiley - 
I would like my family and friends to know that I am totally okay. That I feel really grateful to be with the group in the wood and that we are headed back to Pokhara soon where we will also be completely safe. I hope that Nepal gets the help that it needs. I hope it has a speedy recovery.
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Himalaya A

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Update from Him A

Students,Himalaya A

Description

Isabel –  I want my family and friends to now that our group is completely safe and unharmed, although many people in Nepal right now are not. Through the continuing aftershocks we are reminded that despite how safe and distant we feel here in the mountains, Kathmandu is in turmoil and many people nearby are […]

Posted On

04/26/15

Author

Students

Category

Himalaya A

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-04-25 22:27:52
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-26 04:27:52
    [post_content] => Dear Himalaya A friends and family,
We wanted to send a final update for the evening. We have communicated with the instructors this evening and they and the group are doing relatively well this morning (local time). We have also communicated with International SOS and the US Embassy.
All recommendations currently are that they remain where they are, considering they are safe, largely free of risks from aftershocks, and well provisioned with food and supplies. We are continuing to aggressively gather information about possible evacuation options for them, however, until things clear up on the ground, and other options become available, our plan is that they remain where they are. In conversation with International SOS, they have confirmed the following:
- Groups that are unharmed and in safe locations should remain where they are
- The Nepali-coordinated rescue effort will be focused on areas hit hardest and those in need of immediate relief
- Within a couple of days time, additional options for evacuation (including air evacuation) will likely open up
- We will continue evaluating the possibility for overland evacuation, which is quite feasible, considering their proximity to Pokhara
- There are initial reports that the airport in Kathmandu will resume commercial flights within a couple of days - a very good sign. Considering this, Pokhara (even less affected than Kathmandu by reports that are coming in) will also resume flights. Their airport is reported to be free of damage
For now, please rest tonight knowing that the groups are safe and currently out of harms-way, and that we are in frequent communication with the instructors. They have also confirmed that they are in possession of all students' passports.
We hope that today in Nepal will help give a better picture of the full extent of damages and possible travel options, as well as continued news about our community of friends and loved one in Nepal (including home-stays and other people in the Kathmandu Valley). Please continue to be in touch with any questions or concerns about this.
Thank you for your patience and support in this challenging time and in dealing with such a complex situation. With care,
Tim Hare, with
Chris Yager
Japhy Dhungana
Hillary Sites
Anne Koenning
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Himalaya A

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Update regarding earthquake response

Dragons administration,Himalaya A

Description

Dear Himalaya A friends and family, We wanted to send a final update for the evening. We have communicated with the instructors this evening and they and the group are doing relatively well this morning (local time). We have also communicated with International SOS and the US Embassy. All recommendations currently are that they remain […]

Posted On

04/25/15

Author

Dragons administration

Category

Himalaya A

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 117717
    [post_author] => 12
    [post_date] => 2015-04-25 10:18:56
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-25 16:18:56
    [post_content] => Dear Himalaya A friends and family,
We wanted to post another update as Nepal heads into its night-time after such a tragic day. I just spoke with the instructors and they are still safe and spending the night at the beginning of their Mardi Himal trek, in the Annapurna Sanctuary. We have been sharing information as we have received it, and they have been on-the-ground gathering information about damage to roads, access to airports, medical care, and other important considerations. As you can imagine, information comes piecemeal in disasters such as this and it often takes days or even weeks to understand the full impact. We are optimistic that, as they head into their day tomorrow morning, we will have information to begin crafting an appropriate plan.
Most importantly, the group is currently safe, has food and shelter, and is clear of major objective hazards in the event of aftershocks (they are sleeping in tents).
Other actions we have taken:
- Our emergency response team is convening in Boulder to strategize
- We have registered the names of all instructors and students with the US Embassy
- We have been coordinating evacuation options with International SOS
- We have been constantly monitoring earthquake response media and alerts
Please be in touch throughout the day with questions or concerns about this, and we will be sure to keep you updated with information as it comes in, and will send a formal update (via e-mail and yak posting) after speaking with the instructors again in the morning (their time). You can plan for this update around 8pm mountain standard time.
Kind regards,
Tim Hare
Director of Risk Management
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Himalaya A

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Group is safe – an update after the earthquake

Dragons administration,Himalaya A

Description

Dear Himalaya A friends and family, We wanted to post another update as Nepal heads into its night-time after such a tragic day. I just spoke with the instructors and they are still safe and spending the night at the beginning of their Mardi Himal trek, in the Annapurna Sanctuary. We have been sharing information as we […]

Posted On

04/25/15

Author

Dragons administration

Category

Himalaya A

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 117704
    [post_author] => 12
    [post_date] => 2015-04-25 04:03:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-25 10:03:00
    [post_content] => Dear friends and family of Himalaya A students,
The group is currently safe, in the mountains of the Mardi Himal, however, a large, 7.9 earthquake was registered around mid-day today in Nepal. We immediately received a phone-call from Danny Coyle, one of the group's instructors, that they were safe, at a village along their trek, but that they felt the quake strongly from where they were.
Reports are still emerging about the full effects of this earthquake and possible aftershocks - we are monitoring it closely, both through communication with the instructors, other contacts in Kathmandu, and media sources. We are also coordinating with International SOS and the US Embassy in Kathmandu as needed for planning from here. For now, Himalaya A will remain where they are until we have better information regarding the full extent of damages and other important information that can help guide our planning and decision making.
We will do our best to provide the most current information about this as we have it. We also send our blessings and concern to our extensive community throughout Nepal.  Best regards,
Tim Hare
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Himalaya A

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Earthquake update – group is safe

Dragons administration,Himalaya A

Description

Dear friends and family of Himalaya A students, The group is currently safe, in the mountains of the Mardi Himal, however, a large, 7.9 earthquake was registered around mid-day today in Nepal. We immediately received a phone-call from Danny Coyle, one of the group’s instructors, that they were safe, at a village along their trek, but that […]

Posted On

04/25/15

Author

Dragons administration

Category

Himalaya A

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 117638
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-04-22 09:20:46
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-22 15:20:46
    [post_content] => I love watching ski films. I find them fascinating because most of the film is not of skiing, but of time lapses of lifts, people, changing seasons, and a variety of other shots. This is called B-roll. B-roll are the filler shots, to keep the viewer interested in a film, creating variety. I have noticed and learned that B-roll requires the cinematographer to look for the finer things; the finer details.

When we were planning our final Regional Seminar project, agreeing on documenting Boudha as a refuge, I was excited to focus on B-roll. From my first steps through the front gate of Boudha, I wanted to capture the many prayer wheels spinning, the monotonous movement of people doing kora, and the rustling of prayer flags in the wind. When it came time for our project, I still had these ideas, but after learning about the meaning behind what kora is and why it is practiced, and the importance and meaning behind prayer flags and prayer wheels, these shots seemed much less meaningful. Though they still look cool, who I was when I first had those ideas was someone who just noticed the surface.

Ten weeks ago, I thought prayer flags were beautiful. I thought of the little ones I have hanging in my bedroom at home. I loved seeing them all over Boudha and in our first few days in Helambu. Since then however, I have learned that each color of the flags represents the different elements. There are many meanings to prayer flags and different prayers are printed on them. As the wind ripples the fabric, it is believed that prayers go with the wind. This accumulates good merit and karma. The same idea goes along with prayer wheels, with every spin, and kora, with every circumambulation. Good deeds and ritual practices are done with the idea of accumulating merit and benefiting all sentient beings. These are just a few things I have learned that give simple observations of Buddhist life much more meaning.

With the idea of B-roll and taking note of tiny details, I have gained a greater appreciation for Kathmandu. On the surface, it looks dirty. The air is not too clean, dogs are everywhere. The traffic and the drivers can be crazy. But if you look closely, everyone seems very happy. A smile or a namaste to a stranger on the street is usually returned with a smile. Every time I strike up a conversation in horribly broken Nepali, whoever I am talking too always responds with joy that I am trying to speak their language. This has led to some very interesting cab rides. One day, thunder was booming through the streets and it was raining cats and dogs. I was trying to get to Boudha, but from Bhat Bhetini, there is no easy form of public transportation. I flagged a cab down and hopped in. We started a conversation in broken Nepali and English about the weather, which led to him telling me about his family, his wedding, and he talked about his wife and his son. He asked me a little bit about my family too and said he was my age when he got married. We chatted a little bit about how customs are changing and how people are getting married at older ages more and more. It was wonderful.

There are lots of other little details to notice, like wood carvings on the streets, patterns of stone, the bracelets and clothing women wear, but also what men wear. Many of these things can be seen from the public transportation, which is what I will miss most about Kathmandu. Overall, learning about B-roll for our RS project helped encourage me to really pay attention to the finer things and learn the meanings behind them.
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Himalaya A

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The Finer Things

Meg Chandler,Himalaya A

Description

I love watching ski films. I find them fascinating because most of the film is not of skiing, but of time lapses of lifts, people, changing seasons, and a variety of other shots. This is called B-roll. B-roll are the filler shots, to keep the viewer interested in a film, creating variety. I have noticed […]

Posted On

04/22/15

Author

Meg Chandler

Category

Himalaya A

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 117639
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-04-22 09:19:58
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-22 15:19:58
    [post_content] => Hey Family and Friends,
We are off to our trek after a wonderful party with our homestay family members and ISP mentors. We will be going to Mardi Himal - a forested ridge trek through the Annapurna conservation zone. We will have limited communication so you shouldn't expect to hear from all of us until the end of the trek (May 2) when we return to Pokhara, another city nestled in a Himalayan valley that is famous for it's large lake. In the meantime, wish us good weather and we will be sure to return the favor with amazing pictures!
All the best,
The I-team
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Himalaya A

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We’re Off to See the Mountains!

Danny Coyle,Himalaya A

Description

Hey Family and Friends, We are off to our trek after a wonderful party with our homestay family members and ISP mentors. We will be going to Mardi Himal – a forested ridge trek through the Annapurna conservation zone. We will have limited communication so you shouldn’t expect to hear from all of us until […]

Posted On

04/22/15

Author

Danny Coyle

Category

Himalaya A

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 117603
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-04-20 08:47:19
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-20 14:47:19
    [post_content] =>  

My story goes out to the people who are waiting to do something you know. past tens years I have been  realizing I have been through all hell of life, I have experienced everything, maybe not traveling, but when you talk about how to live your life, you know, in that way, I have been through everything...
So you mentioned that you felt a magnatizim to Bouddha or the Stupa. Can you tell me more about that?
The thing is when we walked out of the working place [carpet factory] in just two minutes you could walk to the main intersection of Chabahil. From right there you can see the stupa, The Chabahil Chok is a little hilly thing that would block almost half of the big yellow circle thing, but you could always see the eyes. When we had free time or something broke, it would take at least 30 minutes to 1 hour to fix it and that was the time that we come out to the main street, buy that cucumber thing, all the things we liked to eat, momo's and then someone would come and get you when everything was repaired and then we would go back to work. But most of the time right on the street you could buy a cup of tea drink and straightly stare at the stupa. the night we ran away with my friend and went to Pashupati I don't know. you know i was born in a Hindu family but I don't know now i realize that night I was attracted to some monument that belonged to Buddhism, if i had been happy at Pashupati than this thought wouldn't run in my head now, because in that time i wasn't this smart, we couldn't even tell oh this belongs to Buddhist people and Pashupati belongs to Hindu people, we didn't know that. But the whole three years I spent at the stupa was safe. Winter was the hardest, we didn't have money to buy blankets, we had to sleep with dogs to get the warmness. Now I think it was so much fun, no one bothered you then. But now if i lie down on the street with a dog everyone knows me, they kicked me and be like "ram what are you doing!"
You said Bouddha was safe. can you talk a little bit more about that safety and security you felt around Bouddha?
Look, not only me almost all nepalis, once they go somewhere near a temple, Bouddhanath is a huge temple, pashupati has big temple, durbar square has lots of temples, Patan has countless temples, bahktapur you have no idea, you see, so all these places mean peace and hurtless,like no one would hurt you around that place those days. And if you are needy that is the place where people would notice you. So all the needy people, why do they go to the temples? Because they have this thought made already in them since they were born that temple means somewhere safe, pure. That was in our hearts since we were village kids. So that feeling already made us seem safe, on top of that that leader guy was nice with us. And since we were street kids the normal people's son and daughters wont come and fight us, it's useless for them, so if someone gave us trouble it was other street kids. and me and my friend never came up with problems because we had no options we needed them and each month that passed by we all became closer friends. In those days that was the worse part, but now I feel that was the best part. There used to be a day when we just had one pair of clothes. You know some days you make a little extra money you buy a little tshirt, you change and put the old one where you sleep and in the evening you come back and its gone. So buying extra clothes means someone will take it. so even if you had extra cash you wouldn't buy extra clothes because you know it'll be gone. So the best part was once every two weeks, we used to go to Bagmati, like 5 of us.
The River?
Ya it was clean, not like this. If the river was like this I maybe would not have stayed i Pashupati or Boudha, you could fish there you know. WE used to be naked, wed wash our clothes, hang them to dry, then we'd fish take a swim, after one hour the clothes are half dry, then you put them back on, walk all the way back to the stupa and by the time you reach here with body it is dry. That was the best part, now these days people have to pay to this, they have to pay money to do the same thing I did for free
If you could tell the whole world something about Bouddha Stupa what would it be?
They should replace all the Bouddha people with village people.
Why?
After doing it they will realize why. Right now today, I feel like, I wish the stupa was what it was like 30 years ago. It had more power and more energy in those days. Best place in the world. A lot of people around Bouddha you know, they become rich. And  I know for sure, since i grew up in this neighborhood, the sole reason goes to the Stupa. But these people are so stupid, like they don't realize in these days, it was this thing that put me in this position so I should have to take care of this. They don't have discipline you know they got whatever they wanted from the stupa and they just left it behind. But for me I'm so happy, I don't know maybe I'll die around this area, I love this place, I really love this place. ya. When I'm out of Bouddha i feel like rushing back to this neighborhood. As soon as I enter, the what do you call? the perimeter of the stupa, where I feel this is old Bouddha, i feel safe still today. Seriously, I used to tell you, if you are around Bouddha and you have a problem let me know that's the reason, because I know this place is safe, even though a couple of times I was beaten up. You see it all around the world, when people get crazy the last option is beating up. So that's not a big problem for me, it was my teenage life, maybe at some point i was wrong and didn't realize. But this is safest place in all Kathmandu, that's what i find safest place in Kathmandu.
Thank you
No problem, you can ask me anything,anything. Whatever I'm telling is 100% honest you know which I've been through, that's why I'm proud to say it because i have been through it. You know its not making up its not making up. There are a lot of good memories I'll be recalling a lot. In Chabahil their used to be a fruit store, every evening he used to through away the fruit that was half bad. so one day -sometimes everyone misses their part you know- so one day we were begging and suddenly we came up with the plan, let's walk to Chabahil.  After like sneaking around the place where I used to work, we went there and by the time we reached Chabahil intersection it was dark, and since we were beggars we asked the owner can we have this fruit and he said OK. We brought it all to people boat, we chopped the bad side other side was perfect, we had nice dinner. Since then like every week we used to go there, every week. And this guy also, later he realized oh this kid comes every week so he started saving all the bad ones. but now its not there anymore because of the road, but there are a lot of good memories.
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Himalaya A

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Interview With Raam

Brian Kerrigan,Himalaya A

Description

  My story goes out to the people who are waiting to do something you know. past tens years I have been  realizing I have been through all hell of life, I have experienced everything, maybe not traveling, but when you talk about how to live your life, you know, in that way, I have […]

Posted On

04/20/15

Author

Brian Kerrigan

Category

Himalaya A

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"Sisters, they're always there for you"

I am one of three children in my family; I have two brothers and I am the only girl. My whole life I have always wanted a sister. Yeah, brothers are great but, they just aren't the same as sisters.  Until my trip to Nepal, I was never truly aware of what I was entirely missing out on by not having a sister.  In both of my Nepal home-stays I have had 2 younger sisters, 1 older sister and no brothers (which is very different from what I'm used to).   In both families as soon as I met my new sisters, they welcomed me with open arms to their homes. My younger sisters would always stick to my side and play little jokes on me occasionally.  They seemed almost as excited as I was about having new sisters.  My sisters always include me in what they are doing and whenever we are just sitting or walking around, they will connect with me somehow; whether its holding onto my hand, wrist or arm, or leaning up against me as we play a game at home.   I've had some nights when we would just sit and talk for hours, sharing countless laughs together.  Sometimes my sisters would completely surprise me; for example, during my Kathmandu home-stay one of my sisters who is 13, sat me down, grabbed my left hand and wouldn't let me stand up until she painted all 5 of my nails on my left hand. And another time, I was running out the door so I wouldn't be late for breakfast at the program house and my sister pops into my room and asks if I can braid her hair like I did the other night. There was no way I was going to say no because when else would I have a sister ask me this question. Both of those times, I really felt like an older sister helping and eventually teaching/guiding my little sisters. One of the many amazing things about Kathmandu and just Nepal in general is how everyone seems to look out for each other and everyone is 'family'. When you talk to a stranger, you address them as older or younger brother or sister. So, people will call me Didi (older sister) or Biani (younger sister) which I feel immediately creates a closer connection with a person you don't even know (plus it is super convenient calling everyone your sibling if you have trouble remembering names.)  When I'm traveling on micro buses, I find myself being welcomed with similes by women to sit down next to them as they all squeeze toether to make room for me to 'fit'.  Sometimes I will even just be handed someone's child if there is no space for them to sit on the micro. I feel like in Nepal, there is an understood unity and a closeness between women and girls that you don't get to see around that often.  I personally feel that since being here, I have a much better understanding of what being a sister feels like. Yesterday, my younger sister brought me to her window to show me her shoe on the neighbors roof...apparently our youngest sister thought it was a good idea to throw her sisters shoe out the window for no apparent reason.   I know that having a sister (or brother) isn't always so easy and fun, and that it can sometimes get a little tough.  But, I think that maybe the perfect combination of the good times and the tough times are what having a sister is all about. 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My Nepali Sisters

Kira Martin,Picture of the Week, Himalaya A, Homestay

Description

“Sisters, they’re always there for you” I am one of three children in my family; I have two brothers and I am the only girl. My whole life I have always wanted a sister. Yeah, brothers are great but, they just aren’t the same as sisters.  Until my trip to Nepal, I was never truly […]

Posted On

04/20/15

Author

Kira Martin

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    [post_content] => Dear Kathmandu,

To be honest, when I first left the airport, all the honking of traffic and the dust overwhelmed me. I felt nervous to step off the bus: to have less control over my immediate environment. I was uncertain about my ability to navigate your streets. But over the past five weeks, I've learned to cross a busy street assertively, I've become more comfortable riding a stuffed micro or tuktuk and now I can successfully use Nepali to bargain for a lower price at the market. Over and over I have walked down roads uncertain where they would lead or whether I was going the right direction to find myself ultimately where I needed to go. I am grateful for the chance you have given me to explore: every time I found my way has been like an affirmation of my own independence and my own capacity for navigation.

You've made me yearn for green spaces and for fresh air. You've tested my stomach multiple times. But I love that the shrines here seem endless, dotting the land like freckles. There are temples tucked away in courtyards off busy roads (these are my favorite), in the middle of a street or carved into the side of a crumbling wall. Each shrine gives me a chance for pause. They remind me that amidst the hustle and bustle I am never too far away from what is sacred. I love that there are vegetable markets on every corner, that roosters and ducks greet me on my way to and from home and that cows mingle with people and cars nonchalantly, the concrete and dirt road forming a kind of prairie. I am grateful for the unfailing kindness of the people here. I feel I can come up to any shopkeeper or passerby and ask for directions and guidance. I will miss looking at the valley rim backlit by the fading sun at dusk.

Thank you for showing me that sometimes you have to search for quiet spaces and look beyond the exterior for places that are worthwhile to visit and stay. Thank you for showing me that there is more than one way that a city can work, neither better or worse. Kathmandu, I can't say definitively whether I like or dislike you but I am grateful to have had the chance to get to be a part of the distinct rhythm here.
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Himalaya A

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A Letter to KT

Nicole Wong,Himalaya A

Description

Dear Kathmandu, To be honest, when I first left the airport, all the honking of traffic and the dust overwhelmed me. I felt nervous to step off the bus: to have less control over my immediate environment. I was uncertain about my ability to navigate your streets. But over the past five weeks, I’ve learned […]

Posted On

04/20/15

Author

Nicole Wong

Category

Himalaya A

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    [post_content] => Traditional Nepali dance has been a surprising challenge for me. I approaches this Independent Study Project with some confidence, but was completely shut down after my first lesson. None of my dancing background has given me a leg up in Nepali dance. My running endurance helps more than my previous formal training! At first I was nervous about my lack of ability, but I have grown to realize that being pushed out of my comfort zone was exactly what I needed. Taking this class and learning a dance has done some healing within me.
Dancing (ballet, jazz, contemporary, and a little musical theatre) was a large part of my life from the ages nine to fifteen. I was dedicated and serious, I saw a future for myself in dance. I was originally drawn to dancing because I loved to be on stage. I am, naturally, a bit of a ham and loved the way dancing allowed me to be myself. I felt like my body could take up space. At first, dance was an escape for me during turbulent years. I also felt compotent and passionate! It brought me so much joy. As I got more serious and dedicated to dance, I began to lose some passion. I began to internalize the crticism most young dancers will get. I was too tall, too brunnette, too soft, or too whatever. No one is a dance teachers ideal, but I took it very personally. Overtime, I let the harsh dance world become distructive and dancing became a little painful.
In the end I cut dance out of my life all together. I felt like a failure for doing so and often felt bitter and sad talking about dance. I no longer wanted to see the Nutcracker, wacht “So You Think You Can Dance,” or even be a performer. I took up running and yoga (which has been so awesome for me). So, yes taking Nepali dance was a risk. I honestly expected to be reunited with my passion for dance, but I got something better! I learned to laugh at myself. I look ridiculous while shaking my hips and trying to stay low to the ground, but it’s all okay. I feel good and happy. I was reunited with my joy of dance and not the intense competitive part of dance. While a serious dancer I held way to high of expectations, but I know feel okay with not being the best and just taking up space with some not so graceful movement.
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Himalaya A, Internships and Independent Study Projects

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Learning to laugh at myself

Kiley Heitman,Himalaya A, Internships and Independent Study Projects

Description

Traditional Nepali dance has been a surprising challenge for me. I approaches this Independent Study Project with some confidence, but was completely shut down after my first lesson. None of my dancing background has given me a leg up in Nepali dance. My running endurance helps more than my previous formal training! At first I […]

Posted On

04/19/15

Author

Kiley Heitman

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