My unforgettable experience in Nepal- Lauren Wougk

I never thought I would miss dust. But when I remember my last day in Kathmandu, racing down the streets on the back of a motorcycle with dust in my mouth, I miss everything about Nepal. Yes, even the dust. I remember the times riding in the back of a van, on roads so bumpy that my head would hit the ceiling and my stomach would be doing somersaults even after my feet were back on solid, not moving ground. And yes, I miss that too. I miss the mountains that reached impossibly high into the heavens- with their peaks covered in fresh quilts of snow. I love that what we call mountains, they call hills. When we take an hour and a half to climb up only 50% of a hill (mountain), they take one hour. I miss standing in the middle of a busy highway, cars and motorcycles going every each way, and thinking this is chaos.

There were lots of times in Nepal where I wasn’t sure that we would make it. We probably climbed a zillion steps at the Swayambunath temple. I would look up, and lo and behold, there would be even more stairs. But we made it to the top, and the views of the Kathmandu valley were incredible. This city seemed to stretch on forever, until the hills rushed in and stopped it from going any further. On our bus ride to Pokhara, it had been an eight hour long, super bumpy, super cold ride, and we didn’t even know where we were getting off. It was four in the morning and we were the last ones on the bus. But we made it, we always made it. On our ride in a little van from Chitwan to Kathmandu, the transmission was shot around three quarters of the way there. Sometimes we’d be stuck in neutral for awhile, unable to go anywhere. But we made it. Of course we made it.

I hope that our efforts in conjunction with the Rotaract clubs in Nepal to help out schools and orphanages make them smile as much as all of Nepal has made me smile. We painted several murals in schools in Kathmandu and Chitwan. The murals are bright and colorful, with animals and inspiring quotes, and I hope that whenever the children look at these, they smile. Even if they have no idea that a ragtag team of five Americans came across the globe to splatter paint on their walls, I hope that these paintings make them
happy. I hope that the students at the school on top of the hill in Chitwan laugh from time to time when they look at the blankets that we had distributed to them- because those five Americans couldn’t even reach the top of the hill to give them out. Because
whenever I think about anything from my Nepal trip, I can’t help but to smile.  If you like to know more about the project or like to donate for this project, please visit http://www.theashaproject.org.

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