The trek started easy enough through the beautifully terraced rice fields at the base of the mountain ahead of us. As we continued on, the raw beauty of this place captivated us all. Waterfalls, rugged mountain peaks, sheer cliffs and the tips of snow-capped mountains in the distance were majestic. We were planning to reach Lapu, a remote village, by lunchtime. However, after two of our team members became too ill to continue and the climb became more treacherous, we missed our lunchtime arrival. We sent the sick members back with a guide, and decided to press on.
We reached Lapu several hours after lunch. The villagers greeted us with open arms and warm hearts. It seemed the entire village turned out to welcome us to Lapu. We were off the beaten path and Lapu was not accustomed to receiving many trekkers, which meant we were quite the spectacle in this ancient village. They had heard of our coming and in traditional Nepali custom had prepared a meal to welcome us with.
While they finished preparing the meal, we had the opportunity to speak with the adults and play with the children. And there were many, many children. I watched children play, experiencing bubbles for possibly the first time. I watched true joy, intrigue and uncontrollable laughter as the children (and some adults) chased floating bubbles of soap only to have them “pop” when caught. It was amazing to see the simplicity of their joy! These people have next to nothing, yet their joy in contagious.
After our time with in the village, we headed back from where we came. We knew it was going to get dark sooner than we wanted, so we needed to move quickly. We arrived back at the guesthouse in the dark with cuts, bruises, scrapes, sore knees and screaming legs. But we arrived. As we gathered ourselves for debrief, checked up on our ill team members, ordered food for dinner and simply tried to walk on legs that had no steps left in them, we recounted our time in Lapu. We recounted the smiles. We recounted the laughter. We recounted the joy. We recounted the encounter we shared in Lapu, the opportunity to share life with these beautiful people, if only for one day. Although tired, bruised, sore and unable to walk, we all agreed that our trip to Lapu was worth the cost. It is always worth the cost.