Love in the time of the coronavirus
One of our young adults has found love and decided to marry in the past three months. Anita is a shy and considerate young woman, her dreamy smile always in place, letting you know that whatever thoughts are swirling within, they please her. The odds of her marrying anytime soon were ambitiously against it. She did not have a boyfriend before now and would blush at the suggestion.
But then she met a young man in her village and they immediately saw within one another a person whose yearnings, hopes for the future, and character blended with their own. It was not long before Anita approached her grandfather and the boy his parents for permission to marry.
We talk to all of the children and young adults about relationships and the realities of marriage. We do not discourage the idea of romance at all, but we try to help them to understand that taking their time and concluding their education first is imperative to finding out what they truly wish to do with their lives.
But, as every reader here would likely note, when you meet someone special, all the best-rehearsed ideas against a relationship sometimes take flight. Many of our much older children have married, and perhaps half of them report back that they made a mistake. Our children listen and sympathize. And then one sunny village day when they go to fetch a pail of water, they find someone else there who can dissolve their resolve in a wink of the eye.
We wish Anita all the best, and as it is with all of our children, they remain our children forever, and we will always be there for them.
New girls from an old culture
Our daughter Mary (pictured on the right) is from Humla, one of the most unchanged villages and cultures in the far western region of Nepal, nestled high among the Himalayas. Mary came to us when she was 8 years old, brought by her older brother. Though I have written quite a bit about Mary, for the sake of our new readers I will supply some of the back-story. When they entered our gate her brother introduced me to Mary. Her name then was a name given in the tradition of her village and it meant “carrying little brother”. I saw Mary shoot her brother a look which suggested she was unhappy about this reveal and so I asked her if she would like a new name from this moment on. She smiled and said yes. (Mary’s brother spoke Nepali, but Mary did not and so he was interpreting.) The very first name that came to me was Mary, a name I have always loved, but not one I carried around in my thoughts. I asked if she would like to be known as Mary and she smiled so broadly, and so it was.
Until recently, going to Mary’s village involved a four-day trek. One wonders how the people ever settled there. Blown, I guess, like seeds on an autumn wind from far away. Because her village is so remote and hard to get to, the well-defined culture and language have been maintained. Now, a landing strip has been built within a day’s walk of her village and change will slowly come, some good and some unfortunate.
Months before the pandemic which caused us to send most of the children back to their villages for safety, Mary had asked if we would take in two little girls from her village. They are Zoya who is 7 and Saya 5, shown above with Mary. We hope all three will be arriving after the Dashain holiday period which ends in mid-November, providing the virus allows. The second photo shows a gathering of village women. Please note the steep terrain in the background.
Sandip’s Water Buffalo
Two of our children, Sandip and Priya, have spent the coronavirus lockdown in a small village under the care of the single mother of two of our older daughters. Sandip took an interest in the baby water buffalo of a neighbor which inspired us to ask if their “godmother” would like to have one, too.
She said yes, and thus we had a shelter built for the water buffalo and gave her the money to purchase one. The water buffalo is a wonderful asset; it is highly marketable at any time, and after fully maturing in two years it will be worth a great deal of money.
NOH has always believed in finding ways to help folks to help themselves, and this wonderful and hard-working woman is a perfect example of our belief that simply given opportunity, people will make their lives better.