I’m Thankful For: The Work of MRDF’s Partners in Nepal With Women in Crisis

My husband and I were having a chat today, we were thinking about times of blessing we have had this year to be thankful for (there have been lots in 2012). It was a lovely little chat and perhaps reflecting in this way is something I do not do enough. So in the last couple of months of 2012 I am going to run a mini-series of posts about things that I have been blessed by or through this year. Hopefully, as the year is not over, there may be more to add to this list as I go on!

Being welcomed with tikka paste and flower garlands in Orestee village of the Syangja District of western Nepal. Even the welcomes were a blessing to me. Such love and care for strangers.

This week’s ‘I’m Thankful For’ post goes back to April 2012. I spent some time in Nepal with the Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) partner KOPILA Nepal. KOPILA work with women who are in crisis situations; all are living in poverty but many have lost their husbands (and income), some cope with past domestic abuse and trauma, some live with their own mental health problems or those of a partner and most have been broken at points by the hardships life has thrown at them.

I found travelling in the Syangia District extremely difficult, I am not built for mountains! I have always had issues with balance and coordination and at points on our journey to the villages KOPILA work in I was struggling between feeling like a hindrance to the staff there (slow and clumsy) and a threat to myself (slow and clumsy!). Reaching the villages was probably one of the most humbling experiences of my life though. Tired, red eyes from trying not to cry like a big wimp, and slightly sunburnt I arrived with my KOPILA colleagues to the most beautiful reception. The women were there cooking dhal baht for us and already had some milky tea infused with cinnamon ready. There wonderful women live in the most isolated of places. A five-hour drive and a two-hour walk from Pokhara on very difficult roads were made easier for us by our 4-by-4 but for these women they are a long way by foot from the nearest town.

Even our 4-by-4 did not like the roads much! I am always a sceptic of NGOs having these cars but KOPILA really need one – Nepal brought my experience of scary roads to a new level!

Meeting the women of this part of Nepal was one of the highlights of my year, and probably my life. They spent a lot of time thanking me for visiting them but the joy really was all mine. The way they looked after me, the way they shared their stories, the way they gave up a bed in their home, the way they could still greet the world with a smile, it all amazed me. So many NGOs work in the areas around the big towns and cities in Nepal but KOPILA was the only organisation reaching out to these women. To visit them was a privilege and their warmth and hospitality will stay with me for a long time. Here is a photo montage of my time in Nepal with MRDF (all photos by me with the exception of the one of me!):