Two young women smile at me from over 15 years ago. Kopila and I are both a bit vague about dates but we do clearly remember the occasion when we met in Dharan in eastern Nepal.. I was on the verandah of a friend’s house where we were staying while we sussed out the details of our eventual move to Nepal. I was making small sari clad figures and she came to visit our friend. She saw me and wondered what I was doing. I shared wth her and we made earrings together and that’s how it all began! Not Samunnat Nepal which had already begun, but my role in the group.
I have lost track of the number of times I have come to Nepal since my first visit in 1976. Once, you had to keep a tally for entry requirements when you flew in and I recall that when it got to more than 40 I just guessed. But I’ve flown here definitely more than 40 times, which is pretty amazing!
I look at the faces of these two young women and think several things. One is that I am so glad we can’t see the future! If you had foretold either of us then about some of the things that happened in intervening years, we’d have wondered how we’d survive. There’s been some big stuff. Often somewhat relentless, big stuff. But we’ve survived. Not always classily, often messily, and in our own funny ways, but we’re still standing….And my survival has been helped by what happens here in Nepal. Getting together, talking, walking, working, crying, laughing, making, reading, picking ourselves up and starting again wth a bit more knowledge, bit more experience, bit more wisdom. And quite a few more grey hairs in my case!!
The other thing that I thought about is my enormous good fortune in making that connection with Kopila and Samunnat. Anyone who knows me, knows what a huge part of my life this is. And through the big stuff, Kopila, the people of Samunnat Nepal and the purpose and meaning that being a part of Samunnat gives, has been part of what sustains me. So…to Kopila bahini, all those who have been involved in Samunnat over the years and all the bahini haru….dhanyabad!*
One of us in particular is looking a bit more weathered in this recent photo but we still talk non stop when we get together!!
*None of them read this blog but I tell them regularly anyway!