Today is the big day! In about an hour and a half I will be off to Eastern and then onto JFK. I can’t believe this trip is really happening, and really happening today for that matter. It is hard to even imagine the new places and people I will interact with on this big adventure because it is so drastically different from the world I live in everyday. I’ve done so much to prepare for this trip and it seems that everyone I’ve spoken to has had some sort of helpful input to give (if I hear someone say don’t drink the water one more time…). I’m both nervous and excited for what lies ahead.
I first heard about this trip from Dr. Escoto and knew I wanted to be apart of the adventure but never signed up because of a pending job opportunity I was waiting on. It’s true that things happen for a reason because on April 20th, way past the intended deadline, I joined the trip. I wanted to go on the trip for a number of reasons. First of all, I loved the Health Psychology class I took with Dr. Escoto this past semester. I knew that I wanted to work in a health field, but was interested in both the biological and psychological processes that drive a person, so this class has been eye opening to me. The trip seemed like the perfect opportunity to see what I learned in class first hand. Also, I have always wanted to travel and see the world, figured my first foreign trip would be a country remotely familiar to my own, but what could be more exciting than starting with Nepal?!
So much about this country fascinates me. I recently read a book entitled “The Little Princes” by a man named Conor Grennan which was a true story about a children’s orphanage in Nepal. One thing that stuck out to me aside from the horrors or child slavery which occurs so frequently in the country, was Nepal’s political history. From 1996 to 2006 the country was involved in a violent Civil War between the monarchy in power, and Maoist rebels. Because the country is so impoverished, urban elites it the most populated area were able to control the government, excluding those in indigenous ethnic groups and the most rural populations. The Maoists united these groups in attempts to overthrow the government. What ensued was a ten year “People’s War” that say thousands of deaths, angry strike, blackouts, and violent clashes. In “The Little Princes” the author will talk about how somedays Maoists in Kathmandu would proclaim nobody was allowed to drive their cars and if they did so they would be burned and destroyed. He also recalled trekking in remote parts of the country and being stopped and harassed by Maoists. Then in 2006 a peace accord was signed and just two years later the monarchy was abolished. However, the situation remains fragile nonetheless as many people are still not united under one functioning system.
I’m excited to see what lays ahead on this adventure but for now I have some last minute packing to finish before we finally embark!