Our first “envisioning trip” in 15 years has ended after the group of seven visitors completed two weeks of exploring Nepal and seeing NLT’s work at Kathmandu and at Lalgadh Hospital. They spent time in the historic parts of the Kathmandu Valley, and took an exciting mountain flight to see mighty Mount Everest and the neighbouring Himalaya from close up. The journey south to Lalgadh by road took them winding through the hills down into the hot and flat Terai region. At Lalgadh they met the NLT staff and saw the hospital in action, and met patients who were visiting for treatment or staying as inpatients. The group joined in with the party to mark the Programme Director, Dambar Aley’s retirement from NLT after 28 years, and ate lots of great Nepali food.
Apart from exploring the hospital, the group also visited several remote villages where our self-help groups are active, and where communities are engaged with NLT’s Village Alive Project (VAP). These villages are all very poor, but are enjoying some of the benefits of improved life and opportunity through working together in Village Alive. Villagers proudly showed off the livestock they had reared with a VAP loan, and their new toilets which have improved sanitation and hygiene in their village. There were emotional moments as our visitors met with real, serious poverty and saw what it means for a family to have literally next-to-nothing, and yet be enabled to rise above the challenges in their lives with some dignity and a sense of purpose.
The group joined in with Nepali Saturday (their day of rest) church, and experienced the difference in culture between western ways and Nepali ways of doing church. After six days of intense exposure to NLT’s work, the group then unwound and spent two days at Chitwan National Park, exploring the jungle on foot and on elephants, and seeing crocodiles, rhino, deer, leopard, and a few other things before returning to Kathmandu.
This discovery trip was a success, and our visitors all felt that it had built something new into their outlook and appreciation of life. They found it particularly intense at Lalgadh, as they were faced with numerous situations that showed what it means to suffer from leprosy in an environment where it is deeply ingrained to fear leprosy and be antagonistic towards anyone affected by it.
The Nepali team did a brilliant job of organising the activities, and our visitors were full of praise for them. Mike and Sue Wells and Enid also did a great job of looking after the group, and we are grateful to them for enabling this trip to happen.
If you would like to see something of life in Nepal and also learn about the work of NLT then please get in touch with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 8940 1200. We are going out to Nepal again in February 2020, and could take you with us. If you are interested then let us know.