What is Rotary’s “Service Above Self” means to me?

As someone who went to Nepal twice, once in 2017 and again in 2019, I am struggling to write down my experience. I think the fact that this is going to be shared with others also makes it harder for me to share my perspective. It’s not because I had a bad experience or because I didn’t enjoy it. On the contrary, it is because I did enjoy it and had an amazing experience, on both occasions, that I am struggling to express my thoughts, feelings, and words. However, I do think that it is only fair that I share my experience from 2017. Simply because that is what led me to go back in 2019.

            “Service Above Self”, those words sure do sound familiar to me. It is because of the Rotaract motto that I was able to persuade myself to go on a journey to the other side of the world. That, and having a strong sense of adventure and curiosity for an unknown part of the globe really drove me (haha). Well, what should I say… my trip to Nepal was absolutely beautiful? I was in safe hands among other Rotaractors? The journey to deliver school supplies across the globe went smoothly? All these different questions have the same answer; and yet, have an extraordinary story behind them. As I remember PDG Tulsi Maharjan used to share his story about how 50 years ago he used to wait every Nepalese New Year to receive a small box of gift from US, that used to be precious moment for him.

In Nepal, I met so many people, made lifelong friends, distributed school supplies to various different school, and created memories that will last a lifetime. However, this trip wasn’t just me alone. I was with friends from home, Amanda, Dan, Jenna, Marcel, Ryan, and Sebastian. It was our passion, our commitment, and our dedication to Rotaract that really made this journey even more than what I had originally thought it would have been. It is because we were able to uphold the motto, “Services Above Self”, that we had such a wonderful and exhilarating experience aboard! It is because of our many sister clubs in Nepal that we were able to enjoy the breath-taking beauty that Nepal is. It is because of our friends that we met, Sujan, Jeevan, Pratima, Roneeya, Ganesh, Pratistha, Sunil, Sanjay, Gautam, Neetika, Sabina, Jyoti, Biyan, Kishor, Antim, Niranjan, Kapil, Ujwal and so many more people, that this adventure to Nepal was well worth more than any other life experience.

 I remember waking up one morning and being told that we’d be going to a school to distribute school supplies. I remember walking downstairs with everyone, counting the 250 pounds of school supplies that we had brought over, dividing them up, putting them in a bag for every child to receive various different supplies, then being transported to the school to introduce ourselves and distribute these supplies.

I remember the looks of joy, the smiles, the connection, and the overwhelming sense of bliss that came from room as we personally handed these supplies among the children. That is when I truly discovered what it is to be a member of Rotaract. What it is to be a part of something more than yourself. What it feels to be the embodiment of “Service Above Self”.

Manny Ramirez, President of the RAAofNJ

It’s not about skin colors, political orientation, ethnic background, religious belief, or social standing. It is about being able to do something for your fellow human, it is about giving hope in times of desperation, it is about making a difference in someone’s life who may need it, it is about being the good in the world. I would like to thank Rotary District 7510, the Rotary club of Branchburg, the Asha Project and Friends of Nepal-NJ for making this trip possible.

It was my pleasure to make new friends, share a new experience, and enjoy the beauty of life among many individuals. It was my pleasure to travel to a new country and step outside of my comfort zone. It was my pleasure to do something so impactful that I am currently reflecting on it right now and smiling while I type this. It was my pleasure to go to Nepal.

Our Gang getting Rotaract’s warm welcome in Pokhara

“It was my pleasure to make new friends, share a new experience, and enjoy the beauty of life among many individuals. It was my pleasure to travel to a new country and step outside of my comfort zone. It was my pleasure to do something so impactful that I am currently reflecting on it right now and smiling while I type this. It was my pleasure to go to Nepal and serve the humanity. For me Service Above Self means being able to help those who are less fortunate than us”.

Manny Ramirez, President of the RAAofNJ.

Published by trm7510

The Asha Project – works in collaboration with local and international partner organizations as well as individuals and governments, to provide HOPE and OPPORTUNITIES for the people of Nepal. We thrive at the intersection of Passion, purpose and Promise.

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