by Kristen Bagwell
Have you ever considered going on a mission trip, or traveling to a community less fortunate? I have several friends who have done this in the past two years: one to Africa, one to Jamaica, one to Haiti, and one to Belize. Most recently - in fact, right this minute - one of my long-time friends is in Nepal working with Habitat for Humanity to build sustainable housing from bamboo.
Although it can be difficult to find "the right time" for a trip like this, it's absolutely amazing to consider, much less go and do. I am fascinated by the stories that my traveling friends have shared, and so I wanted to show a bit of what Amber is experiencing while she is away. After more than 24 hours of travel, her first experience was actually a 6.9-magnitude earthquake, which thankfully did not injure any of their traveling group. A rocky start seems to have led to smooth sailing, though. Here's a bit of background on how she came to choose Habitat and Nepal, and we'll follow up next week with some of her tales from the trip.
How/why did you choose Nepal?
Simply put, Nepal chose me. I did not wake up one glorious morning and say, “I’m going to Nepal”! No, I was searching for a way to give back and volunteer my time in a way that I would find rewarding and possibly change me for the better. HFH was an organization that a former employee joined with on trips to Haiti and Africa last year for several months and she shared her amazing experiences with me on her return.
So, after much research and consideration I began looking intensely into HFH and what they do and where they build. After much thought and my family’s blessing I applied. For those of you that may want to consider one of their trips they build in exotic locales such as Fiji and the beautiful green lush land of Ireland if Nepal is too remote for you. Knowing I wanted to go soon and my son would be in school I decided now is a good time if there is such a thing. I am going to miss my family deeply and my friends however I know the bonds I will make will last a lifetime. I will be gone for two weeks so it will be like going away to camp, just far away.
Who are you traveling with?
There are several teammates from North Carolina, also representing Canada, England, Hong Kong and India. I know NOBODY! Out of 20 teammates, 13 are female and 7 male. I believe there is one couple that recently got married and this trip is part of their honeymoon. How cool is that?
What do your teammates do for a living?
Here are their bios: Architect of Technology, Finance, Forestry, Language Geek (this one kid claimed to be and was learning Nepalese). I could be wrong but nobody seems to have kids, dogs yes but no children therefore nobody had soccer Mom as a current career.
I guess a Mom does it all though, right? You could say I am an Architect of Technology as I have had to figure out every technical gadget before my son does, Finance: I certainly know how to spend it, Forestry: I could use a lifeline on this one as I have managed to kill every lovely orchid in my home, Language Geek: Well now, there are many languages and I do know hand signals and sarcasm. Those are universal! I am sure all these folks are very kind and intelligent looking to share the same experience I am so even though we lead different lives and are on varying career paths we are still on the same journey, together.
What will you be doing on your trip?
We will be building in an area named Dhulikhel. It is near the capital of Kathmandu where we will be staying. The build we are doing is part of a new movement called the “Green Build”. We will be building with bamboo because of it’s sustainability. The homeowners assist in the building of their new homes alongside the HFH volunteers. No skills are required only your time, services and a little heart and soul.
Uh...where exactly IS Nepal?
I suggest you Google Nepal if you are completely lost. I was at first. I knew what general area it was located but when was the last time any of us studied geography? Right off the bat my son asked me if I could bring him home a Yeti...For weeks he has been walking around the house shouting his “Yeti call”.
(From Wikipedia: Nepal, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India.)
Have you been on a mission trip, or are you planning on one? Fill us in using the comments section below!