After merely three months working for AEIN, I found myself at the foot of the highest mountains, among a thousand different colors, scents, and melodies while driving at the edge of the cliff to the remotest of the hidden villages in Nepal. Some moments I found it exhausting, and dangerous, but even more revealing and inspiring.
Once you are in Nepal, you can see the poverty on every crossroad, from the plane while cruising above the capital Kathmandu, and upon landing at Tribhuvan airport. But on the other hand, you can see the richness in culture and the purity of heart of Nepali people. And judging by the numerous foreigners I met, I would dare to say that many were enchanted by Nepal’s diversity, same as I was: by its temples and art, but also a variety of spices that you can find nowhere else in the world, and pashmina shops on every corner. Just observing the streets and the people’s way of living, far away from the lifestyle we enjoy, you can cleanse yourself of unnecessary worries we daily occupy our mind with, reconciling with what is in our true human nature. However, with AEIN you can push your own limits even further, and so did I.
Although many would avoid setting foot in a Nepali plane, due to the lack of safety, AEIN people set aside their own fears and head to the farthest village you can find in Nepal. All of that to face on their own what the most vulnerable of the society experience and how we can be of help. If you are reading this, that means that you are very well aware of what AEIN stands for and fights against, so I will skip that part.
Thus, I had the opportunity to join the team on a mission to Nepal, a trip that I call a life-changing experience. Facing them, weight carriers of our bad habits, poked by us – bare foreigners from another edge of the world, was just as driving upon that cliff from the beginning, frightening, and enlightening. The looks of children, already tired of living in a world where we set rules, and the hands of the elderly people tired of fighting to survive, called upon us to provide a supporting hand and help mitigate the consequences that we caused.
No matter how much my companions on this journey tried to prepare me for, facing my own their struggles was an awakening experience that motivated me to raise awareness on social responsibility and just values. Seeing that these people are taken care of by us in return and that we are responding to their needs and concerns was the most comforting thing I could wish for in such moments.
Ever since, I became a vocal advocate of buying primarily sustainable and using renewable,. AEIN taught me to support fair trade and buy local, but also why it is important to be aware of the threats and causes of climate change, and human rights violations across the world. With AEIN, I got a chance, (and I believe you can too), to act upon my beliefs.
You can tell that Nepal really grows on me. I liked the tikka on my forehead the most, and seeing the selfless smiles on the faces of Nepali people while giving me blessings. So, I promised I will be back.
On my way to Nepal, I was just Tara, but upon my return, I was so much more. So, my dear friend, you do not know what you are capable of until you open your mind really wide.