I woke this morning realizing I’d slept better last night than any night so far despite the plywood-type mattress! “Thank You, Lord, for renewed energy!”
Our hotel boasted a garden sprinkled with round wooden tables and chairs where guests could relax in the shade. High walls covered by greenery provided respite from the noise of the nearby bazaar and ceaseless traffic. A waterfall gurgled and splashed in one corner. Two tabby cats meandered from one hotel guest to another. That’s where we were eating breakfast when the Nepalese mother we’d met yesterday arrived, this time bringing her ninth-grade sister to act as her translator…sort of. We ordered chia for them and then we launched into a conversation that required concentration on everyone’s part as we struggled to talk about concepts rather than merely physical things.
For instance, in Nepalese we asked how she felt about giving up her toddler, Shanti, for adoption, especially to a woman in a different country. She responded in Nepalese saying that she had cried for a long time in the days leading to Shanti’s departure, but that she chose to give her up because she wants a good future for her. She said that she’s very happy for Shanti now, and she looks forward to the day when she can see her again. She expressed a question regarding whether or not Shanti will remember her, and we were able to tell her that the doctor speaks of her often at home, referring to her as “Shanti’s tummy mommy.” She smiled.
While it must have been extremely difficult for this woman to do what she did, I’m thankful she didn’t sell her child into the sex-trade industry for a few dollars. I’ve learned that parents will sometimes sell their youngsters into a lifetime of slavery and eventual death by AIDS for a mere meal. “God, show us how we can make a difference in the lives of those who need help desperately.”
We checked out of our hotel at noon and moved into a lovely Nepalese-run guesthouse. Upon arrival, we were delighted to discover that the gal in charge once worked with UMN, the same organization we were with in Nepal from 1982-85. As we spoke further, we discovered that she and her husband were actually working at the Tansen hospital at the same time as we were! Small, small world.
After dropping off our suitcases, we caught a taxi for a district called Boudha, in search of the family with whom we lived for two months while we did language study in 1982. Unfortunately, the entire neighborhood, as we knew it, was gone. We recognized only one building, the home of a crippled man named Kami, who we visited many times back then. Apartment buildings have replaced the simple single family dwellings and rice fields that once dotted the district. We spoke with several older folks, explaining that we’d lived in the area 25 years ago and asking them if they knew our Nepali family, but no one could give us helpful information.
Regardless, we walked the bazaar and chatted with vendors. I had a blast asking men, women, and children for permission to take their pictures, and then showing them their digital image. The faces of Nepal tell a thousand stories, and I want to preserve every word to share with friends back home.