MY HEART IS IN THE HIMALAYAS

My first visit to Nepal was in 2008. I immediately fell in love with the beautiful people, the colorful culture and the majestic scenery, and knew in my heart that I would one day return. So when I friend invited me to travel back to Nepal in 2013 I was thrilled. On this trip, I met a local woman, whose work was to open birthing centers in remote villages, which was the exact vision put on my heart the year before. I felt like it was time to go. So in 2015, I returned to Nepal for the third time - this time to unpack my bags and apply for a long-term visa.

How I then came to know about MountainChild and their work in the Himalayas is a longer story, but I can say this much; They’ve made it possible for me to do what I love to do. I’ve been partnering with MountainChild through my research on Maternal Health Care in their project areas, and a birthing center is now ready to be built in a remote Himalayan village. It’s finally happening! Overall, this wonderful partnership has allowed me to take part in pouring into groups of people, who live in such remote parts of the Himalayas. People that most of the world seems to have forgotten.

"The true beauty of Nepal isn't the mountains, but the people who live in their shadow" – Apa Sherpa

TIME TO SAY GOODBYE

Almost 4 years have passed and I am now finding myself preparing to return home. As I am documenting my research and saying my goodbyes, I am feeling thankful more than anything for the years I have spent in this incredible and captivating nation! My heart and soul are filled to the brim with adventures, meaningful conversations, cups of tea, treks in the Himalayas, culture clashes, dal bhat, frustrations and love for the people of Nepal.  

Here are some of the things I’ve enjoyed the most while living in Nepal:

  1. Interviewing women in remote villages. Sitting by the open fire, drinking butter tea, while listening to them share about their home childbirth stories.
  2. Pouring into local health staff, especially MountainChild’s INGO Health Assistants, who have translated most of my training and interviews, and taught me about Tibetan culture and life in the village.
  3. Teaching women about their menstrual periods and how amazing their bodies are created. The look on their faces as they begin to understand is priceless!
  4. Trekking in the Himalayas. You have to see it believe it!
  5. Doing life with other people who wish to live intentional lives 24/7, and who’ve also left their families and friends as well as the comforts of western society in order to bring hope to Nepal.

One of the fondest memories from my time in Nepal is the transformation of a little girl named Sonam. You might have read about her on one of MountainChild’s social media platforms. I interviewed Sonam’s mother during one of my research trips, and she brought her young daughter to me afterward. Sonam was 11 months at that time, but couldn’t walk or eat food other than breast milk. She was crying and seemed irritated, and her body was covered with wounds, infections and a nasty rash. On top of that, she had edema in her legs and feet, and her cheeks were chubby, which are clear signs of kwashiorkor, a type of severe malnutrition. In partnership with MountainChild, Sonam and her mom were taken for medical treatment in Kathmandu, where she slowly recovered and grew strong and healthy. This family has become so dear to me, and I have been able to visit them in their humble house in their village on all of my following research trips. Today Sonam is healthy, has caught up with her weight and is a student at Sama Learning Center.

While this is the end of a chapter in Nepal, I know in my heart that I will one day return to this beautiful nation!

Maj Jensby

Maternal Health Researched with MountainChild

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