Philip in Lubra

Traveling to Nepal was the first time I had left my home country. In my mind, I can’t identify a time while I was there when I experienced true culture shock. It manifested, instead, as a form of gaiety and the goodwill of the Nepali people and their overwhelmingly kind culture. 

During my two-month stay, I lived in the mountain village of Lubra, located in the Mustang district. It was a village of around seventy people, with a hostel of around eighty kids. Teaching in the school was really difficult at first. It felt like all of my past leadership skills had become useless. My first day in Lubra, I taught some Science and English; I would go on to teach seven science classes a day. After my first day was over I went to Chimey, my now good friend, and told her of my very bumpy experience. It was times like these where I felt most challenged and defeated, but ultimately grew in the end. Sure enough, I began to grow with the students, along with our shared trust and communication. By my second time visiting Lubra, I connected with the students and the villagers. I had begun to truly feel like part of the community. My last few days were some of the best: Visiting people's homes, going to the Gumpa to watch dances, and just playing with the kids outside of school I felt whole while in the embrace of Lubra. 

The other three months of my stay in Nepal were quite different. Living in Kathmandu, I taught at EDUC and went to OCPFN orphanage. I loved being with the kids and teaching them. However, more rewarding was the chance to get to know them personally. I loved hearing their stories and listened with genuine interest.  I didn’t want the kids to feel that they needed to have their guard up around me. I tried to be myself and offer a little humor in my attempt to get them to be themselves. In the midst of daily activities, I often had free time, when I could do some of my favorite things. I danced in the streets of Dhapasi during Dosai, met more new friends, and got to know Papa’s House kids during the festival time.

There were times I felt burnt out or lacked motivation. I thought a lot about my family or friends. Two months in, I realized that the awful feeling was coming from me not doing everything I could, and that I needed to focus on living as much as I could in a place as beautiful and majestic as Nepal. I think that’s a good facet of life that is often forgotten. This is difficult for me to write. It’s like someone asking you to write about your home, and you aren’t sure what to include or disregard since everything is both mundane and significant to you: A home that you never could dream of experiencing, but now never want to leave, with your family around you, your amazing brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and, of course, Papa.