Through My Eyes: A Description of Nepal

If you Google Nepal, you will quickly learn about the tumultuous political history, the high levels of pollution, and the rampant poverty throughout the country[1]. Nepal’s political unrest, the horrific natural disasters over the past few years (the 2015 earthquake, a deadly avalanche on Everest in April of 2014, and a freak blizzard that killed 41 people in the Annapurna region in 2014)[2], and effects of climate change are hindering the country’s development. Even with the odds stacked against it, Nepal keeps pushing forward.

Earthquake damage in Bhaktapur, Nepal

Earthquake damage in Bhaktapur, Nepal

But, this is not the Nepal I saw when I first arrived. The version of Nepal that is often written about in Western news sources or in short online articles is nothing like the actual country. Nepali people are some of the friendliest people I have ever met; there is a vast amount of biodiversity; the scenery is absolutely breath taking; and there are thousands of non-profits just in Kathmandu to help lift children out of poverty, empower women, raise awareness for the environment, and more.

Nepal is truly fasinating. The natural scenery is stunning, the cultural and religious sites are striking, and the range and diversity of people is amazing. Tourists from all over the world come to trek through the Himalayas or visit national parks, and I was amazed by the SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESnumber of foerigners in Kathmandu. Nepal has a lot to offer, from trekking adventures to World Heritage Sites to volunteering opportunities. Nepal has the densest concentration of World Heritage Sites in the world (7 in a 15-Kilometer radius); it is one of the best places for extreme adventures, like bungee jumping (the highest bungee jump in Asia is in Nepal); and Nepal houses several rare and critically endangered species, including the one horned rhino and the Rhododenrum flower[3]. The natural diasters, political unrest, and high amounts of pollution are just one aspect of Nepal, but they are the only feature of the country you are likely to experience if you read Western news sources and short online articles. It takes time and effort to dive into the full array of experiences and the depth of culture in Nepal, but that is why I am here this summer.

The view from my host family's cow farm

The view from my host family’s cow farm

I am living in Kavresthali, Nepal, which is about a 45 minute bus ride from Kathmandu, for 9 weeks this summer. In less than an hour, I am transported from a bustling city to an agricultural village in the beautiful mountains overlooking the Kathmandu valley. On my first day of work, almost every household we visited to survey for our water resreach offered us tea or milk, and I was amazed by their easy going hospitality and friendly nature, even though we were complete strangers.

A year ago, I had no idea where I would be this summer, but I am glad I am spending it in Nepal. With the help of a grant from Davidson, some prompting from professors, and excitement from friends and family, I am halfway across the world, learning bits and pieces of a new language and experiencing the rich and vibrant culture.

Rice planting with the local community

[1]Shafik Meghji and Charles Young, The Rough Guide to Nepal: 8th Edition (New Delhi: Rough Guides Ltd, 2015), 381-423.

[2]Shafik Meghji and Charles Young, The Rough Guide to Nepal: 8th Edition (New Delhi: Rough Guides Ltd, 2015), 6.

[3] “Interesting Facts About Nepal,” Himalayan Ecotreks & Travel – Nepal, accessed June 10, 2016, http://himalayanecotrek.com/travel-guide/interesting-facts-about-nepal/

css.php