- Nepal Part 1 -

As most of you may know, I went on a service trip to Nepal and India during the
holiday season and in order to share all the tons of photos
with you all, I'm going to make this a three part series - one for each
home that I visited.

This first album takes place in Kathmandu. Kathmandu is a wonderful
city unlike any I've experienced before. Driving through city
was very much like off roading anywhere else, every ride was an adventure
through narrow unpaved roads and frequently driving down the wrong
side in order to bypass traffic. 

We spent our time at the new church site that's been built and also
got to see the new children's home that's under construction.
Our church has partnered with First Love for many many
years now so it was really cool seeing not just how our support is helping
to construct these new homes, but also how so many of our
team members had relationships with these people that spanned years. 

Nepal is a landlocked country, meaning that without a seaport, there just
isn't so much trade and industry that can be supported. Many of their
imports come overland trade routes and as a results, things become
expensive. There also isn't much major industry, no big tech center or
massive manufacturing base. As a result, most of the time people are spending
time with each other and living a relatively simple life compared to
Silicon Valley. It was.. well, really nice being in that environment actually. I just really
enjoyed the kind of connection people had with each other. 

We spent a few days here leading a retreat for the people here and I
had the chance to meet some really great people and get to know more
about their lives as well as share about mine. Not to mention, one of the
guys is also a photographer like me! At the end of the blog, you'll
see that I took photos of every single person in the home and I think it struck
a chord in me seeing how without context, they looked American too. It kinda
made me appreciate how diverse the US from that observation.

The other thing I learned to not take for granted is steady electricity and hot water.
Frequently there would be rolling blackouts, especially at night and
that just meant you got to enjoy the sunset. Only when you were stuck
in the bathroom and it went pitch black would it be inconvenient but otherwise
it was just a normal occurrence. I also learned that hot water isn't
a constant and prevalent thing like in the US. Most people just didn't have it. 

Food wise, I thought most of it was very similar to a Chinese/Indian hybrid. 
They do like spicier foods which I love and where I also found out
that most of my team mates are weak and can't handle anything spicy :P
Anyway, one of my FAVORITE dishes were Momos, which are essentially
dumplings except with different seasoning but in general, I enjoyed pretty much
everything I ate on the trip. Oh, I forgot, you can't eat beef in Nepal. It's
actually punishable to kill cow in the country because they're considered
holy. So that's one thing I dearly missed while there - first day back, 
I had a steak. 

My plan is still to trek in the Himalayas one day but no matter what, the people here
have captured my heart first and given me the perspective of
seeing travel as more than an experience of pleasure for myself.