Written by Benjamin Honeycutt
“The way they welcome the world for all its hardship and wonder has flipped the way I wish to live.”
I had no idea what to expect when I woke up inside Govinda’s home. The drive to the school had been a stunning introduction to a culture I had never glimpsed or even remotely imagined. Out of all the potential jaw-dropping experiences I could have anticipated, I would have never predicted that the drive to the school would be the first. Cars and motorcycles weaved and diverted in every which direction upon the highway. Lanes seemed to serve as guidelines before rules inside the country. Four cars often drove and swerved in beside each other in the space that would fill a two lane highway back in the states. Several times people crossed the road and avoided violent injuries by mere milliseconds and our van often hovered mere inches away from the massive trucks in front of us.
Yet to say it was terrifying would be an unbelievable injustice to the experience. Ash (Ashley) summarized that driving here was an “art form”, and there is something so poetic and true about that statement. Horns of different sounds, durations and volumes blazed out like traveling jazz bands through the highway, and we soon realized that here horns served as forms of communication rather than functioning as angry warnings as they do at home. Our driver moved between cars, bikes, and semis with a grace that would put Jason Bourne to shame. Govinda’s calmness on the drive erased the fear I had about the roads, allowing me to sit back in awe about the roads.
My first half-day inside Nepal made me unsure of what to expect out of the next month. I woke up with a nervous anticipation that often occupied me before a major presentation about the cause. My nervousness ebbed away as the morning unfolded. Govinda’s family and neighbors from all around the Narayanpur community came over and introduced us to dances, customs, and local fruits that awoke parts of my taste buds that had been in slumber since I was born.
Throughout the day I felt a euphoria that I had forgotten soon after childhood. Swachalika led us on a walk throughout the neighborhood in the early afternoon, and my introduction to the Narayanpur community was a watershed moment in my life. The last year had sprouted a discontentment in me about the cutthroat way in that I had begun to live. There were times I had worked so hard that weeks and months had passed in a blur of sleep-deprived anxiety. Many mornings I would wake up and ask myself if this was truly the way I wanted to grind through my life’s entirety.
In the days we have stayed in Govinda’s home, I have watched a community embrace us in their warmth and customs. I have watched people flourish as they see us walking by, inviting us to their homes where they shared their tea and led us on grand tours of their gardens and property. With a simple “namaskar” I have seen uncertain people unlock their generosity and share their stories of hardships and triumphs. I have seen the fruits of our dedication to Govinda’s endeavors. I have seen this generational individual open his school to single mothers who could not afford to give their children a true education. I have seen this school unlock opportunities for the entire community.
What I have observed has overturned the pervasive perspective that held me for the last year. Their lush way of life is woven from the charm of their culture to the striking way in which their bodies sway. The way they welcome the world for all its hardship and wonder has flipped the way I wish to live.
I await the coming adventures with open arms.