by Delia Cunningham, Nepal ’14
Every morning at 6am I woke up to the sing-songy voice of my lovely sister Shanta saying “Good morning sister! Hot tea!” as she brought 2 steaming cups of Chica up the ladder to our room. Shanta is a 15-year-old girl, born and raised in Okhle. She may be the age of an average sophomore [in high school], but she is years beyond sophomoric. She is charismatic, smart, and incredibly warm. She was an amazing sister and companion for my 2 weeks in Okhle. She was inquisitive, kind, and hardworking. Every day she woke up, made a small breakfast and tea for the whole house on the clay firepit, cleaned, and got ready for school. Then she walked for 30 minutes to get to the Kewemi Village School where she took classes. The school in her own village only goes up to 5th grade right now, so she must travel in order to attend school. She explained to me that eduation is incredibly important to her. She was constantly practicing English with me and feverishly reading our Nepali-English phrasebook. She always cooked all the food, often gathered crops, and no matter our protest washed the dishes each night. Her dal bhat was flavorful and her personality infectious.