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Volunteering - Khasur Village

It's taken me a while to get around to writing this blog. It was a moment of deep thought that brought me peace but also an unexpected ending to my trip of volunteering time in Nepal.

I spent the first two weeks in Kathmandu volunteering at a local monastery; after that, I relocated and spent the second half of my trip in a small village that was a few hours' drive north-west of Kathmandu, a place called Khasur, a mountain village. Two completely different lifestyles, from surviving in the chaos of the busy city life to the quiet and peaceful life of the mountains. The village was on a hilltop, blessed with springs flowing down and around the hill. Triggering a memory from a childhood movie called The Kung Fu Panda. It had that image, that energy of being 'different', a reality that reminded me it is all about the journey, the rivers, mountains, rough and broken roads, and the collapsed bridge where we took a detour through the river in an offroad vehicle that was a stripped back to a shell with no windows. On arriving in the village, it was old but a tint of a few modern touches. A few houses had metal gates, an image that stuck out like a sore thumb. All the lanes and paths create a footprint that reflects the contours of the land they reside in. The walkways and streets were created with local stones and natural materials and brought to the village. Some of the lanes had this energy where you could feel and sense the water that used to run over them, a sense that I could still hear the water that used to accompany them on their journey. A memory deep within the land that can still be accessed today

We arrived on Father's Day, a local celebration of the elders celebrating the older generation of fatherhood. From a village of 100 plus people, there would have been about 30 participating, both men and women, enjoying this moment. The father's wives prepared a meal for everyone, and after the meal, they celebrated it with traditional dances. A custom that also helps raise money for a local women's society. Men and women would dance, complementing each other with a tip that would go straight towards a kitty for a group of ladies that run the local village shop/restaurant/hang out, a small room providing food and a community space for people to talk about their days.

The kindness of the women is what keeps the village together, and they are very active in all types of support for everyone.

I know first-hand from my personal experiences that kindness has no judgment. One moment that still made me smile today: I got up a little earlier to do a local walk on the hilltop called Peace Hill. As I was walking along the stone pathway to the far end of the village, a lady popped her head out the window and said, "Breakfast, you go and eat your breakfast", pointing in the direction of which I came. I had never seen that lady before, nor do I remember seeing her again. The funny thing is that most of the people in the village know very little English, which is a moment that will always make me smile.

Peace Hill was commercialised now, with sleeping cabins, a restaurant, and a peace hand signal with four religious symbols by the side of it. That is not the energy that I felt; it is far different. For me, that was a place where people would say bye to their loved ones, sending their spirits to the sky and their bodies to the four elements of nature. It was sad; it felt like it needed some kind of release. A cleansing, the power of losing a loved one is never forgotten. The energy didn't match the image of the commercial business of Peace Hill; I could see loved ones breaking up after taking a trip to the top. The energy was connected to the skies, the physical point of separation.

Waking up was amazing. My bed was just big enough to fit me. I had about 20mm head space to the small headboard, a tight fit, let's say. Most nights, my sleeping patterns are random, depending on which spirits fancy chatting and what visions I have. I believe every night, I had at least one vision. The purity of nature in and around this village was incredible, and I believe its source is connected to the springs that flow in and around, from top to bottom. Our main task in the village was to help a local school out and teach a few English classes. One of my most enjoyable experiences was walking down and up the hill to the local school in a nearby valley. Walking down and up was hard, all hand laid, sourced locally, a job that would have taken years. Some of the villages in Khasur would do this every day, even the elders; I believe one lady was in her 70s but fitter than the younger generations we have today. I can't pinpoint why I liked it; it felt magical. There wasn't one definite number of steps, but on the path I took one day, I counted 928; depending on your path, it could be anything up to 1000.

The first day at the school was a celebration, or so I thought, the first time they held National Children's Day. Bright banners supported a little parade while the children marched up and down the rough cobblestones, some locals playing their musical instruments in the background. That's where it stopped, though; the rest of the day was about the teachers and countless awards for teachers and staff, while in the meantime, the kids were getting shaded areas set up, serving out food, and even putting on traditional dances and plays. Political nonsense that was driven by an external source, an energy that was not natural to the area. It was also not the last time I would encounter this type of energy.

The village was quiet. Many people had left, most of the men had joined the British army, and the women had married into other local families. A large percentage of the girls who were born in the village have now been sent away to study elsewhere. I heard many reasons why, and most say they wanted to give their child a good education, but as always, I look at their energy and not their story; it was the part they were happy to tell people. It was the energy that was hiding in the shadows that caught my attention. Some young men in the village, aged 8 to mid-20s, had the same energy that took over National Children's Day but were lost. They were attached to their phones, bored, restless, and didn't want to be there. Also influenced by other substances, online influences and the lack of identity, they weren't able to be trusted in this state. A problem the village will have to discuss sooner rather than later: even in the remote places of Nepal, social media, news, and a misplaced system that provides a false sense of security are spreading into our mental space like the invasive species we are.

The energy of this experience awakened something inside of me; stay tuned for my next post for what happened next.

Until next time...


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