6 months in Nepal. We spent 6 glorious months together, my brothers & sisters and I. This post is a letter to them:
You gave me 6 months of your kindness, your hearts, your humor & your deepest thoughts that I am so thankful to have been entrusted with. Arriving in Sarlahi & meeting you all for the first time last August, I was taken aback by how close in age most of us were. I was only 19 then. The same age as the oldest one of you. Honestly, it was intimidating at first. What would I be able to help you accomplish, teach you, or share with you?
The months that followed, however, were the most rewarding ones of my life. I am grateful that you opened your hearts & minds to all the wacky, challenging projects I planned. From our storytelling sessions, amazing race-treasure hunts, documentary & movie-nights, intensive Math lessons sometimes edging up to midnight when we absolutely NEEDED to get through a particular topic... to introducing you to the magical world of photography & creative writing where you discovered the power that comes with the art of shaping your reality. In turn, you welcomed me into your world, the world of Sarlahi, through excursions to the river, the pond, school & temples. Apple-picking, football-playing, "khaja"-making & star-gazing.
But there were also other worlds that you allowed me to be part of. Distant dreams & memories of your past lives, your hopes & dreams, your sorrows & joys that I treasured the most throughout my time with you. I will never, ever forget how much I loved talking to each & every one of you.
And I will never forget the first day I walked through the blue gate that leads into the child centre, that summer evening last August. You held up colorful welcome signs... you all looked so, so much younger then. A lot changed within those six months. You grew older, taller, wiser & stronger. So when I walked out of that blue gate for the last time, into the van that would lead me away from you, my heart was breaking but I also knew that I was walking away from a group of young people with so much hope in their lives. *continued in comments*