September 29, 2022 3 min read
Bho (Gobrindra) helped me plan my trip. I closed my Podiatry practice for two months, packed my bags, reassured my parents that nothing would happen to me and with nerves in my stomach and with a feeling of joy and utter excitement, I departed for Kathmandu.
I will never forget my first arrival in to Tribuvhan airport, being met by Nanda, Bho’s brother (who chaperoned me during my time in Kathmandu) and the journey to my hotel in Thamel. The noise; the sights, the smells, the sounds, the colour, the people and the animals. Wow! A complete assault on the senses and gosh, how I have missed that these last nearly two years.
The timing of my first visit was interesting! The civil war was raging at the time and where I was supposed to be travelling, to Solukhumbu, East Nepal was considered too dangerous. Not for me, but for Kisan, my guide and cousin of Bho and Nanda. We instead travelled to the Annapurna region. There were very few tourists at this time, selfishly for me a joy as I didn’t wish to see lots of other westerners, I wanted to discover this land that I had dreamt of as a child for myself and to have it to myself. Of course, it was a terribly worrying and frightening time for many, for their personal safety and economically of course too.
Indeed, whilst on our travels we did come across Maoists and I will never forget the look of fear on Kisan’s face. I muttered “is that them”? They were and they were also armed and organised. They checked our papers, asking where we were going and after paying a fee, we were allowed on our way.
Once again on our way, traversing magical beautiful scenery and discovering a little of the land I’d been dreaming of for so many years, we eventually came to and stopped at a village in Lamjung for the rest of the day. It was in this village whilst wandering on my own, that I met Kishor, a boy with his small friend.
Kishor held out his hand and said “good afternoon, my name is Kishor, how nice to meet you”! It was this encounter and one other that was the beginning of the rest of my ‘new’ life. I spent a few hours with Kishor, visiting his school and meeting with his family. His mother made homemade popcorn and his family gathered round; granny even changed her clothes, now wearing her best sari and posing for a photo - even pushing her grand-daughter out of the way as she wanted to have her own photo.
It was a lovely way to spend some time and as I departed Kishor and I walked together, I asked him what he would like to do when he ‘grew up’? He answered that he would like to be a teacher and teach in his valley. He had both inspired and humbled me and it was at this very moment as I walked down the hill, that I decided I was going ‘to do something’, that I would ‘start a charity, it had to be for children and it had to be educationally biased’. I of course had no idea how I would do this, but if I make up my mind to do something, then I do and I did.
I think he must have accosted every traveller to teach himself English as the subject although taught in school was an elementary standard. He had one small very well thumbed study book too. I still have the photos I took then today. I wrote to Kishor and he wrote back but sadly we lost contact until two years ago. I found Kishor’s letter and wrote to the address on the envelope enclosing some photo’s of then and now. I wished the letter good luck as I posted and waited. To my complete surprise, I received a reply! Kishor and I have now re-connected.
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