A Monkey Stole Shelby’s Painting and Kathmandu Stole our Hearts
We spent the next few days in meetings and sightseeing in Kathmandu! We felt more like tourists and had the opportunity to slow down, relax, and enjoy a few days of Nepali culture. The first day, we went to the Monkey Temple, Swayambhunath, in Kathmandu with Sanju and Biraj. The culture and beauty of the temple was so interesting for the team. Afterwards, we had an iconic experience when a rogue monkey decided to jump up onto our table and steal Shelby’s souvenir painting! We were all shocked by its audacity, but luckily Sanju recovered and was able to barter his snacks with the monkey in return for the painting. We spent the rest of the day exploring Thamel as well, a shopping hub in the heart of Kathmandu. Thamel is an explosion of colors, sounds, and culture, and an exciting and almost slightly overwhelming mixture of sensory overload. We shopped, talked with the people, and ate at some of the restaurants (momos of course). The next day we had the opportunity to talk with Kiran Karjit, an education expert and team friend living and Kathmandu to discuss where our team was and hear her experiences working in education in rural areas of Nepal. Later that day, we had a meeting with USAID in Kathmandu, to talk about our trip, the work we’ve been doing, and EWB as an organization. We met some incredible people and got to learn about many of the projects that they’ve been working on as well, and left the door open for some future collaboration. When we got back from our day of meetings, Rashmi held a momo-making party for us, and taught us how to fold the dumplings ourselves. The next day was our last full day in Kathmandu and we took advantage of it by visiting the Pashupati temple in the morning, and then we visited Birajs family in the afternoon for an awesome meal and some dance battles. That night, we went to Patam to visit the temple in the evening, a calmer and more beautiful experience in our opinion, during the day. The next day, we went on a walk, packed, and had Sanju and Biraj drop us off at the airport. As we took off for our long journey home (connecting through Doha, again, and then Los Angeles), we were saddened to have to leave the country that had been our home for the last few weeks, and the many people who had become our friends and family. We had a few extra hours in LA for our layover, so we decided to hit the beach, and watch the sun set on a life-changing trip.