How do I summarize the amazing people, sights and sounds of our June 2018 trip to Nepal? Twenty of us participated in the adventure of a lifetime—hiking and horseback riding through the Himalayas. We experienced Nepali life, culture and religion. We visited schools and ancient monasteries. We even searched for fossils on exposed river beds at 10,000 feet above sea level. The panoramic view of snow capped mountains was sometimes breath-taking.
As always, the greatest part of the adventure was the people—both our team and the locals. Our group included 12 high school students. These amazing kids came for a No Barriers experience. Each had a story of life challenges he or she faced and came on this trip to be inspired, encouraged and challenged. Deaf, blind, with leg braces, or emotional pain, whatever, they showed up and took on every challenge that came their way—following leaders who were doing the same.
FUNNY MOMENT: So, these three deaf people decide to buy a singing bowl and one of them says, “We better take the blind guy with us, so we know if it sounds good.”
One of the best moments for Mandy was visiting a school for the deaf. So fascinating to watch and listen as each part of the conversations was translated from Nepali to Nepali Sign Language, to American Sign Language and finally to English.
Another of the best moments for Mandy was visiting a school where the students presented their musical chops—taking turns singing and dancing. Mandy then led our group in a “American” dance (Cupid Shuffle) and later sang for them while playing the ukulele. Afterwards she gifted the school two Kala ukuleles and taught the students how to tune them.
Speaking of Kala and ukuleles, the students in our group each received one as a gift from Kala. Lots of evenings were spent with a group of us strumming along to Mandy’s songs and others.
As I write this short summary of our trip, I am sitting in a hotel in Kathmandu. Yesterday, we eat lunch at a restaurant where most of the servers were deaf and Mandy was so very happy. Signing was everywhere and those folks were using the language of her heart. What a wonderful surprise. Tomorrow we all bring our long trek home (including a 14-hour flight to L.A.). I will never forget the faces and stories of the kids and the No Barriers leaders. Looking forward to the next adventure, on the road with Mandy Harvey.
Challenging Thought about Risk and Reward: In baseball, you can’t get to second base (scoring position) if you are willing to take your foot off first base!