Monday, 28 September 2009

Back from Nepal

It’s been a while I know… but I do have a good excuse. I spent 7 weeks away from modern technology. Now, although sometimes it was frustrating, most of the time it was absolute bliss!

Just for the record, I spent 6 weeks in what I can only describe as the magical, mystical and spiritual country of Nepal. The country and the people captured my heart.

I spent 5 weeks at Kopan Monastery on the outskirts of Kathmandu. More or less, 4 of those weeks were spent in retreat. One week was spent volunteering in the clinic in Kopan Nunnery. Finally, I spent 5 days in Lakeside near Pokhara, where I had the opportunity to visit a beautiful Tibetan family in Hengja refugee camp.

The whole trip was a heart wrenching and heart warming experience (to say the least.)

Never before has my heart and soul been opened so much in one singular place. Never before have I encountered so much warmth and love from so many beautiful people. I look at the amount of suffering and poverty in Nepal and yet, I see hope for the future.

Only 30% of the total population of Nepal is employed. Poverty is a common thing. People live below the poverty line. However, people who can help, give what they can; not with indifference or embarrassment but with the genuine desire to help. Whether it’s with a hand full of rice, a bottle of water or a few rupees; each person helps in their own way.

The army’s presence is strong; a reminder to us all of the restless times we live in. Yet, countless faceless, nameless people from both the East and the West spin Dharma wheels and pray in hope of peace.

The blind are led, the hungry are fed, the elderly and the unmarried are taken care of. The departed are remembered by communities who gather to commemorate. People come together to help people and not just in times of crisis.

Kopan Monastery, where I stayed, uses wisely the donations given to it in order to give refuge to numerous Tibetans who go unrecognised by the Nepali government, and who can no longer go home. Some monks haven’t seen their families, in Tibet, for over ten years.

They empower their nuns by offering them degrees in Philosophy. Nepali families who can’t afford to support their children send them to the nunnery or the monastery. Westerners come from all corners of the world to seek retreat.

Nobody is turned away. Everyone is welcome; regardless of race, colour, belief or background. You instantly feel the warmth and love when you see the sign on the entrance floor saying: “Welcome Home.”

If anyone wants to see the first batch of phootographs from my trip, they’re available at: or

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