After a relaxing morning spent at the Kathmandu house we all packed our bags and crowded into a small bus to leave the city and relocate to Her Farm, a farm run by the Mountain Fund in rural Nepal where our medical camp would be held. Our team, two Nepali sisters from the Mountain Fund, two Japanese volunteers, and a doctor all packed into the bus, so it was very crowded. The unpaved roads also made the ride very bumpy. Yet the view out of the windows made all of this worth it. The hectic Kathmandu streets eventually gave way to beautiful countryside, sloping mountains, and deep valleys. About 2 hours later we got off at a small, dusty village in the district of Dharke, though this was not to be our final destination. Before setting out again, we did stop at the small Namaste café to eat lunch. The sisters bought us sugarcane, and we each got our own stick to chew on! I thought this was really interesting and, with my sweet tooth, was eager to try a new sweet that the Nepalis seemed to enjoy immensely. To eat it, you basically just pull pieces off with your teeth and suck on it for access to the sugar water before spitting the pieces out. Our group had some difficulty figuring out the least messy way to do this, which in itself was very enjoyable. I was really happy that the sisters had yet again shared a part of their culture with us.
After this treat we loaded our luggage into a jeep and set off to the farm, on foot and following Sushila (a Nepali sister working for the mountain fund). When she had said before that we were going to have to walk and climb a good distance in order to reach the farm, which sat on the side of a mountain, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. Yet this journey uphill ended up being one of my favorite moments of the whole trip, one I hope to never forget. The countryside was sloping and speckled with small farms and the occasional cow or goat. As we slowly made our way upward on the dirt trail we passed Nepali farmers and their families finishing up an honest day’s work. The children were especially excited to greet us, placing their palms together and yelling the greeting “Namaste” out at us in rapid-fire sequence. Even with our replies, they would sometimes still continue shouting Namaste at us happily, putting a smile on my face. The sun was setting on the mountains as we progressed, and the view from the mountain of the sun setting over the mountains and valleys, tuning the sky pink,, was the most beautiful landscape I have ever witnessed. By the time we made it to the farm about an hour later, my body may have been sweaty and my feet sore, but I knew that each view and every step had been so meaningful and well worth the exhaustion.
Upon arrival at the Farm we were welcomed by the Nepalis there and settled in for a dinner of the traditional rice, lentils, and curry (dal bhat). We also met the other volunteers staying there, including two university students from Australia. I already knew I would particularly enjoy our stay at the farm. I was so exhausted that only the persistent barking of the farm’s dogs could disturb my rest. -- Caitlin