Hope (my daughter) and I had the privilege of joining a small team from Montana on a trip to Nepal in late January of 2017. While the ministry that we were coming under has been in operation in Nepal for several years, there recently has been a change in the US side of the ministry that provides funding and support. The work in Nepal is primarily a home for girls and women rescued out of the sex slavery trade in Nepal and India. It also involves two children’s homes for orphans and children rescued off the streets of Kathmandu. We were there on behalf of a new organization that is being formed here in the States to provide support for the girls' home.
Our goal was to gather video footage of the home and interviews with the directors there as well as with some of the girls for use in making informational videos for the new website and information for churches wishing to partner with the ministry. Hope was part of the team that conducted the interviews. My role on the team was really to meet with the local man that oversees the program, find out how teams could be better equipped for future trips to Nepal, and also to get the “lay of the land” so I could be a future team leader for the state-side organization.
The gentleman that oversees the home met us at the airport and took us to our guest house (hotel). It was too late to meet the girls that night (I say girls, but the ages range from 11-37), so we just caught up on sleep and spent some time talking over the plans for the next five days. The girls are used to teams coming to visit, but they have traditionally been older folks and typically spent only one or at most two days visiting the girls. Because we were spending five days with them and had several younger girls with us, our contact thought it would be a tremendous blessing if we took the girls on a trip. Most of the girls have not been out of Kathmandu for several years and are often confined to the safe house compound because the traffickers are on the lookout for them. We of course thought a trip sounded great. So the next morning we all (ten of us from the States and 25 or so girls and the home staff) loaded into a chartered bus and began the 7-hour drive to Pokhara, Nepal.
Pokhara is a city in west central Nepal set on the banks of Lake Phewa (there are very few lakes in Nepal) with a spectacular backdrop of the snowy Himalayas. We spent two days in Pokhara going to a cave and a waterfall, as well as taking the girls out on boats on the lake. Most of them had never seen a lake or been on a boat before, so that was quite an experience for them. Following that we traveled to the village of Gorkha.
The bus wouldn’t make it the last mile to the farm. So we got our Nepali trek in after all! Gorkha is considered the birthplace of the modern Nepal state. We spent two days here at a mountain-top farm. Here we were able to conduct the interviews and send time getting to know some of the girls' stories in more detail. From Gorkha we headed back to Kathmandu where we spent one more night before spending the morning with the girls.
THE PRIMARY TAKEAWAYS FROM OUR TIME IN NEPAL
The gentleman overseeing the home is doing a tremendous job. He has a full-time job, so the safe house is his side project along with oversight of two children’s homes. He is a humble and committed man. The lady who actually runs the day-to-day operations is AMAZING. Due to the nature of the women’s background, they are in need of a loving mother figure in their life. She provides that and more. There are other leaders as well that help train the girls in various vocations and help with the health and wellbeing of the girls. The safe house is working well and has many components in place to make it successful moving forward.