A Walk in Their Shoes
Nepal is home to all sorts of environments from dusty and bustling cities to desert plains to jungle trails to snowy peaks. Our favorite places though are the ones tucked high and deep in the Himalayas. Hidden in the famously majestic mountains are hundreds of communities, some big and some only taking up a few feet of road space. In every village we have come across, we encounter a rich, vibrant and unique life. Our world and ways of thought are challenged each time we step foot into one of these villages. Take a walk with us on these trails and meet the faces that call this place home.
Simple sandal-covered, worn out and calloused feet will walk these roads each day, sometimes multiple times a day to carry water back to their homes, to visit friends and relatives or to carry livestock/crops they hope to sell. Some trails are flat while most are steep and narrow. What may take an experienced hiker and climber days to complete, only takes a couple of hours for those who call this home.
Over the years, suspension bridges have been built and rebuilt to make navigating neighborhoods easier. Herds of cows, women carrying babies, on their backs, shepherds and their goats alike all travel across these bridges. Because of bridges like these, we are able to carry hope to those who never expected to receive it.
There’s always time to sit and enjoy a cup of tea and conversation. Long days in fields splitting reeds, gathering wood, harvesting crops require many breaks to rejuvenate and rest aching limbs. Tibetan villages scattered in Nepal’s Himalayas are famous for their Yak Butter Tea. Yaks’ milk is churned into butter and mixed with black tea to provide a calorie-dense, warm drink that satisfies hungry bellies and cold hands. A wood-burning stove works around the clock, always ready to provide tea, food or coziness. Because it is warm, the kitchen becomes the sitting room where villagers retreat from the chill outside.
Most people have access to a shared water source that has been redirected from rivers to the villages. There, people will wash clothes, fetch water for cooking and drinking, and for a bath. Whenever there’s sunshine, clothes are left on the “fence” to dry.
Village life is slow and todays rarely differ from yesterdays. Long sits with neighbors are a nice way to pass the times. Community is vital in the Himalayas. Everyone relies on each other for their daily needs.
There is work to be done and a part to be played every hour of the day. Nepalis and Tibetans in these villages learn diligence to survive through every season. Every aspect of life from food to shelter is handmade. Attention to detail and ancient tradition is essential to survival.
Himalayan strength knows no limits and age is just a number.
Though villagers must work tirelessly to provide food and shelter for their families visitors are often warmly received and treated with the highest care and concern. They are some of the most generous and caring people you will ever meet. If you ever find yourself in a place like this you can expect to be greeted with many cups of tea, the warmest hospitality and the kindest, hardest working people.