A Flooded Farewell
Part 4 of 90 Days in Nepal
The culmination of our 90 days in Nepal - save one surprise for the end.
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DAY 68 - SOMEWHERE IN EASTERN NEPAL
A rooster sang its song early as the hens begin scuttling along outside. Buffalo pass by in the muddy paths not far from where a river echoes down below. We wake up from these sounds in a small, adobe room and peak outside to see a quaint village set amongst rolling hills and canyons. Fresh air. We are no longer in the dust bowl of the Kathmandu Valley. We are, in our perspective, a remote corner of Eastern Nepal. To our roommate, however, we are in her hometown.
Yesterday we disembarked with her for a much-needed escape and, more significantly, a chance to meet and visit with her family. The bus journey approached 8 hours as the rickety vehicle left the valley and journeyed eastward through scattered villages and cultivated hillsides, partially following a canyon-carving river far below. The village itself harkened back to a simpler way of life. The two days spent amongst the locals were filled with chicken chasing, river bathing and home cooking moments.
Yet darkness still finds a home in a village such as this one. Our roommate’s mother is youthful and cheerful, glad to welcome us in to her family by butchering the best chicken and preparing a fine meal. But it was not always so. The story, as told to us in great emotion by our roommate in private, begins when she in her toddler years. Many years ago her mother was cursed with a severe sickness and given a week to live. As a last resort and the risk of ostracizing her family from the village at the time, she accepted Jesus. Seeing her youthful and healthy today was a testament to her story. We were left speechless at this account of one simple family in a remote village in Nepal.
And though life in this village is simple, there is nothing easy about it.
THE FINAL THREE WEEKS - PLODDING ALONG
Day after day, the same events unfolded in dusty Thimi. We did very little in means of grand adventures or impactful experiences. It took four years for me to sit down and write about that… well, that nothing happened during our final 2 months in Nepal (other than visiting the village and a short jaunt into the jungle). We felt as if wasting away time, unimportant, with no intention of letting my friends and family back in the States know of the reality. Into far lands we were, yet shouldn’t there be some exotic adventure at every corner? It was incredibly tempting to grab our backpacks and take to the majestic mountains, or even leave Nepal for good. However, it’s the humdrum and the plodding that takes true courage. This is where God had us. And we had a friend in need of help. It truly was a wrestling of wills, but is there anything in life more important than that?
Just as we were treated as family throughout our travels, we knew our roommate needed even greater displays of love from us. Reminiscent of the Himalayan hike with all the ups and downs - the days that ensued were full of ups and downs that needed an even greater display of endurance. Sure, we wanted another adventure trekking mountains or exploring the country, but the reality is that we were actually cast into even farther lands when we first walked into that apartment in Thimi. Joy still creeped in of course, in the simple way of watching a movie together, sharing a meal, and fellowshipping with friends – simple things unique to living life.
In the back of our minds, though, we eagerly anticipated leaving Nepal and moving onward to a new adventure.
DAY 90 - A FLOODED FAREWELL
When the calendar struck mid-July, signaling the 90th, and our final day in Nepal, this chapter of our lives seemed all but complete - save one surprise for the end. An eruption of pouring rain lasted the entire night, signaling the height of the monsoon season. However, we gave it little attention as we’ve grown accustomed to the rain. A morning start was needed to catch our flight out of Nepal and into India, so we grabbed our packs and said farewell to our, now, close friend.
To our shock, it was a dangerous business going outside. The rains flooded the entire neighborhood to waist-deep levels. The polluted river of trash and cremated ashes overflowed its bank and engulfed the main thoroughfare in dark brown waters. We were left with no choice but to walk one kilometer through the dangerous mess and attempt to make it to the airport. I carefully half-walked, half-waded the distance. A kamikaze motorcyclist offered to transport Mary through the waters, hydroplaning at full speed - nothing surprised us anymore. The entire ordeal was a blur, a fitting end to our completely unexpected 90 days in Nepal.
When we finally reached the airport and changed our filthy clothes for dry ones, we couldn’t help but to ponder why Kathmandu was dry and we were the only ones arriving soaked. Upon lifting off, we gaze outside the window to the hazy Kathmandu Valley, offering not even a hint of flooding save one patch to the east. Yes, there it appeared from high above – our flooded Thimi.
What an unforeseen adventure. There were tears, moments of despair and feelings of wastefulness. The Nepal of my dreams vanished away in the thin mountain air, probably never to resurface. A new dream of Nepal has formed though, one of a nation of people with incredible stories and perseverance. Our time in Nepal could been filled with so much more adventure, yet we gained something infinitely valuable - family. That can’t be planned or bought with a plane ticket, it is only gained through love and sacrifice.
We came into the nation as strangers, but we left as family.
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