Greetings from Nepal! Our group arrived into Kathmandu tired but happy after the long journey. From the airport we traveled a few hours to Dhulikhel, the site of our orientation. We are staying at a wonderful hotel in a beautiful setting just outside Dhulikhel. From the balcony, there are lovely views.
Yesterday we hiked up 1,000 steps to reach Namo Buddha, a monastery dedicated to the story of Buddha giving his body to feed a lioness and her starving baby lions. There are small statues throughout the monastery to depict this story. When we arrived at the monastery, one of the resident monks explained the symbolism and different hand postures of the statues, and the group asked him a lot of really great questions!
Today we started our day with a language lesson from Ratna, our beloved guide and community liaison. From our hotel, we hiked to a nearby temple and then on to see the huge golden statue of Lord Buddha at Shantiban.
Mixed in with these incredible excursions, we’ve spent a lot of time getting to know one another and preparing for the rest of the program. We used the “question ball” to initiate conversations and played “peek-a-who” to try to learn each others names and faces better. Everyone also wrote a “letter to self” that we can open at any point in the program if we need encouragement or a reminder of who we were when we joined the program and what we hope to learn or accomplish during our time here.
The food so far has been excellent! We have sampled a wide variety of Nepali cuisine including dhal bat (much more of this to come), chapattis, curries, fried pakoras (similar to Indian samosas), and momos which are Tibetan-style steamed dumplings made from vegetables or chicken. For breakfast each morning we stock up on energy with curd (yogurt) and porridge with papaya, mango, and apples on top.
Today we talked in depth about the trek, and the group is getting exciting for the incredible opportunity to hike through villages and amazing landscapes on their own two feet. We look forward to the challenge and will have much to share once we return!