Nepal: I See the Light in You

Nepal: I See the Light in You

Nepal: I See the Light in You

 

“Namaste!”
“Namaste!”

You will hear this word countless times every day while visiting Nepal. Everyone from small children to elderly women and men greet strangers with a friendly hello followed by putting their hands together in a prayer while nodding their head. It’s the most respectful way I have ever been greeted by another human being that I do not know.

The first time I ever heard this word I was sitting in a cultural anthropology college classroom. I remember my teacher explaining that “namaste” means, “I see the light in you” in some cultures. This small word instantly struck a chord with me and it wasn’t until years later that I have been able to experience a culture that uses this word.

Although I encounter many friendly people while traveling, the Nepali people are by far some of the kindest people I have ever met. They will go out of their way to make you feel comfortable. I’ve experienced this with hotel staff as well as people I met while walking along the street.

During my time in Nepal, I visited the mountain town of Dhading where the local people still live a very primitive lifestyle. Our guide is extremely active in helping the poor people of Nepal. He helps to build health care centers, daycare centers, orphanages, provides medical schooling to select locals, and helps communities to build a self-sustaining system of growing cash crops in order to provide some sort of income for the community.

Nepal: I See the Light in You

The only foreigners in this place are volunteers who come to Nepal for months at a time. Some are nurses who monitor each of the 6 healthcare posts in Dhading, giving suggestions on how to make things better such as limiting the amount of antibiotics that are given to patients who may not need it. Antibiotics are readily available in Nepal and therefore many people have built up immunity to them.

They have a group of gynecologists who come to these communities to give surgeries to women in need. A large percentage of Nepali women who have had many babies begin to experience their uterus dropping (uterine prolapse) and it can be very painful if not surgically corrected.

Other volunteers have the job of teaching English to the local children. Their work has only just begun since the people in these communities speak very little English.

We walked through several villages and met many local people. It amazed me how they welcomed us with open arms into their homes. It felt a little odd at first to be walking through their yards and homes. They told our guide in Nepalese that it was frustrating for them because they really wanted to talk with us but we don’t understand each other’s languages. They were always happy to see us and we were greeted with a friendly and welcoming, “Namaste.”

To the people of Nepal, “I see the light in you!”

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33 Comments

  1. How beautiful ๐Ÿ™‚ Sounds like such a peaceful place to visit. How long are you staying?

  2. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler says:

    Hi Sabrina. I was in Nepal for 16 days. It was truly an eye opening experience and I’m thankful I was able to visit such a wonderful country.

  3. Amazing the kindness and respect shown towards foreigners and visitors. That’s something we don’t get as much of here.

  4. Aww how nice, sounds like a very friendly and peaceful place to visit. The shot is so cute, she got this delightful smile in her!

  5. Cathy Sweeney says:

    Heart-warming post. Maybe someday I’ll meet these people too. What an extraordinary experience your time in Nepal must have been.

  6. Michael Figueiredo says:

    Nepal sounds like such a great country. It’s nice to hear that the people are so wonderful too!

  7. Sounds awesome! I would love, love, love to visit Nepal. I spent some time in Northern India and met several Nepalese people who lived and worked in India, and I was also blown away by their kindness.

  8. Ayngelina says:

    Those children are beautiful, I love this story, especially because they haven’t been trained to ask you for money.

  9. It’s so awesome to go somewhere and feel this way about the people. I’d love to see Nepal someday…

  10. Caz Makepeace says:

    I love experiences like this. i must make it to Nepal, this is extra incentive to do so. I think every culture should also be taught the term Namaste from an early age. We might live in a different world.

  11. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler says:

    @Andrea – I tend to come across kind people everywhere I travel, but for some reason Nepal was a bit different. It felt more genuine and most of the time they wanted nothing in return. It really left a mark for me and I’m considering going back to volunteer at this particular mountain town of Dhading.

  12. Languages are just a beautiful thing. I see the light in you, what a great saying.
    There are so many beautiful Korean words that I can’t even describe in English too. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love languages.

  13. Mark Wiens says:

    Really enjoyed this post Christy!

    It’s amazing that just being able to understand a single word can have that amount of power and meaning (along with body language and attitude). I’m sure learning a bit of Nepalese (to be able to have a short convo with someone) would really put a smile on their faces and be an incredible experience!

  14. This is so awesome Christy! I’m so happy you got to have this kind of an experience. Wow!

  15. What a wonderful, meaningful way to greet people. I haven’t been to Nepal but it fascinates me on so many levels.

  16. Linda ~ Journey Jottings says:

    Beautiful seeing your cultural anthropology come to light ~ acknowledging and respecting each others cultures.

  17. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler says:

    @Mark – Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it! I’m sure it would put a huge smile on their face and I hope to go back to volunteer and learn a bit of the language.

    @Scott – So true. It doesn’t happen often enough in my opinion.

    @Linda – I loved that class! ๐Ÿ™‚ It fascinated me.

  18. Nancie (Ladyexpat) says:

    ย Beautiful shot! I haven’t been to Nepal, but during my travels in SEA I have met some lovely locals.ย 

  19. Anitalgray says:

    I agree. The Nepali people and the Sherpa that I met in Nepal, are the most welcoming and generous souls I’ve ever met. And I love the meaning of their greeting.

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      I’m happy to hear you had the same experience when you were there as well. Such lovely people.

  20. Nomadic Samuel says:

    This is a wonderful story. ย It seems like such a peaceful and warm place to visit.

  21. Utshah Nepali Joshi says:

    Hi Christy, I am a fellow Nepali myself and this post struck a chord. I just want to tell you that sometimes in life all we need to see is the light in people, the light that can overpower any darkness and the light that can show you the depth of a person. I am glad you had that experience and I hope that you will see the light in other people too. You are always welcome in Nepal, the more the merrier ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      I completely agree! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. I hope to make it back sometime soon. Thanks for reading!

  22. BakoymaTravels says:

    This is such a beautiful post, thank you for sharing. I want to go to Nepal myself, but I’ve heard it can be exceedingly difficult to get in… How was your experience? Did you have any problems?

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Hi,

      I didn’t have any problems at all. I’m actually a bit surprised to hear that. Maybe it’s only from certain countries?

      1. BakoymaTravels says:

        Good point, that might be it, I hadn’t checked if the country they came from has relevance to entry ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Nomadic Chick says:

    I love this post, it truly illustrates how supposed third world countries create strong communities. Something that I think is lacking in North America sometimes.

    I feel it keenly right now being back home.

    I, too, enjoyed the connection of “namaste”. We all have light in us, as the Buddhists say. ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. What a beautiful way to greet another person.

  25. People from Nepal are very friendly and very down to earth. I am not sure why but it is in there nature.

  26. The NVR Guys says:

    Awesome post. This is really what it is all about, isn’t it?!

    I love the saying “I see the light in you.”

  27. Scott - Quirky Travel Guy says:

    Really cool post. I think these are the kind of travel experiences people live for, where you get to see the friendliness and spirit of your fellow humans.

  28. What a wonderful experience! I’ve been to Nepal twice now and I know it’s one of those places I’ll keep going back to throughout my life, largely because of the kindness of the people there.

  29. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler says:

    @Ayngelina – That’s one of the things that I liked about it too. I was ready for them to reach out their hand and ask for money, but instead they were just so excited to get their photo taken.

    @Caz – That would be great, wouldn’t it?