In February 2015 I had the great privilege of travelling to Kathmandu, Nepal. Going there to cover a meeting on the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, I arrived several days early to experience at least a small bit of the country, the colours, sounds, textures and tastes that had tantalised my imagination since I was a child.
The trip was quite incredible. I did a 50km hike through the Kathmandu Valley and saw the great Himalayas with their snow-capped peaks. I visited temples and ancient towns, walking through cobble-stoned streets and running my hands along intricately carved wooden frames. I offered simple, sweet thoughts while turning prayer wheels and surrounded myself with colourful flags that waved my wishes onto the breeze. I meditated on mountain tops and spent days weaving through bustling markets, the endless stalls of colour and texture and beauty enrapturing me at every turn.
But throughout these adventures, what struck me most were the people. I was moved by the humility of the Nepalese, their easy conversation, their simple gestures of kindness, and their overwhelming generosity of spirit. Their bright, beautiful smiles made me feel lighter and their course, calloused fingers reminded me of the hardships of life.
When I learned of the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in April 2015, killing more than 7,000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless, I was reminded of these faces. I don’t know what happened to these precious souls, but my thoughts are with them now and my wishes of strength, courage, compassion and healing continue to wave on the breeze.