ASHA – Providing Hope and Opportunities.

When Ryan went to Pokhara, Nepal as an Asha Project volunteer he never realized the depth of love and caring waiting for him. Starting his stay with a visit to the local Rotaract Club introduced Ryan to many people who welcomed him with open arms. They worked to see to his needs and showed the great extent the young people would go to help their communities. ASHA  means HOPE in Nepali.

ashalowhighresThe trip was not all work. The people were proud to show him around with excursions for sight seeing. It may not have seemed like work at all. As Ryan said, “I remember giving the students the school supplies and the smile that came to their face really made me happy in the inside.” He took to heart what he learned from Antim Gurug in Parbat, “You could go to a movie and have 3 hours of joy, but helping others is a happiness that will last a lifetime.”

While Ryan passed out school supplies and helped with reconstruction he realized the journey was better than any vacation. After a hike to the top of a hill in Pokhara a large statue of Buddha emerged. The stairs leading up to the statue brought him to the spot where he saw the whole city. The beauty of the region took the breath away. Later, in Kathmandu, his hosts took him to a place to eat where the MoMo’s (dumplings) and sausage tasted as good as at any Michelin star restaurant.

9Even though the earthquake happened years ago the city of Kathmandu remains devastated. All the people work hard to put back together their lives and the place where they live. Each person does their part, no matter large or small, and helps. The gratitude for the help and school supplies deeply impressed Ryan. The experience showed him that people can be brought close together, and no matter the extend of tragedy life goes on. There are still reasons for joy.

With all the lives touched by Ryan one of those most affected was his own. He learned much about himself by stepping out of his comfort zone and engaging with new people. Meeting so many strangers, soon-to-be friends, broke him out of his shell. The service journey instilled the confidence for Ryan to take on any task or face any challenge. The trip heightened his appreciation, “This trip really made me appreciate what I have in my Country and because of this trip I was able to open my eyes to see what is really happening around the world. Now I have more motivation to help out our community and communities around the world because I know there is a lot of work to be done in order to get this world into shape.”

To see if you can share in an experience like Ryan’s contact the Friends of Nepal – NJ or The Asha Project to see how you can help. www.theashaproject.org/contact.html

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