I wish I could explain to everyone how I ended up here, but I don’t have any one answer for that — if I even have an answer at all.
One year ago, I was trying to get my head on straight after spending three months in Nepal. I asked other people I knew who’d traveled extensively and it seemed I was the only one who came back from a trip like this completely confused and utterly lost.
I can’t say there was any one moment or any one situation that defined where I would end up today. It was mostly just a matter of trying to stay in the flow of life, trying not to fight Fate — or whatever you want to call it — but, instead, just going with where I was being led.
Ultimately, I was led to this point in my life.
Just a few days ago, I returned from Nepal, and again I returned a different person. Instead of this little NGO I thought I was running, instead of just going there to check things out, it turns out Nepal was waiting for me.
The little project I was going to check on had long been completed, and looked beautiful. Padma and the others wanted to be sure I was happy with the work, which helped me realize how connected they feel towards me.
But there is more work to be done at the elder care center in Pharping: The dorm building in this photo (take during Tihar, the festival of lights), needs to be demolished and rebuilt. It’s cracked and the walls are molding and the roof is rotting. Plus we need a gate from the main road.
Look! I just said “we”, as if I’m a part of this. I guess I am.
And more work and new partners after and above and beyond this elder care center: I was happy to meet Roshan Bashyal, the amazing young man who runs the Sampurna Children’s Home, near Pharping. Having risen above abject poverty himself, he has fulfilled his lifelong dream of opening an orphanage. And these children adore him. They had made a little money and wanted to spend it with the elders at the elder care home — entertaining them, cooking for them and visiting with them.
So this cute little NGO I thought I was running is not so little, when the impact and potential impact of our work is weighed in the larger scheme of life: Every action we take is but a pebble in a stream, and the effects ripple out, affecting others either for the good or for the bad. The Nepali NGO I worked with in 2017 is continuing to send volunteers from around the world to the elder care center, expanding both their world and their pocketbooks. Now, I’ve arranged for the children from the orphanage to visit when there are international volunteers staying at the elder care home.
Pushpa told me I was a “bridge” last week. She said, “Alina, you come, and when you go, the world opens.” I reminded her this wasn’t my money. This was other people’s money and I just bring it to them. She laughed and said, “Ah, you are our bridge.”
I’m happy to be a bridge. I’m happy to take the confidence my donors and supporters have in me and make it into something that ripples out across time and space.