As you land in Nepal you are intoxicated by the scenery alone. The mountain surrounded Kathmandu is like a vast ocean of pearls in rainbow colours. Here you roam around the first days with a camera hanging on your neck, wanting to photograph every passerby – each of which bear so much stories and life with them. Gradually you leave your camera behind and throw yourself as a part of street life – jumping over sleeping dogs with muddy shoes, singing out ’namaste’ to the laughing children, standing alongside cows in the middle of traffic and smiling to the grannies crouching in the street corners. You almost forget you’re a stranger, a westerner – that is until you get goose bumps when a minibus conductor sticks a dirty bundle of money to his mouth.
Here the Finnish black-and-white world starts to get colours and creativity begins to beat calculativeness. You’ll find yourself smiling in a taxi although the way to work is long and you bang your head on the ceiling in the bumpy roads while Shakira is blasting from the crackling radio. Here – if anywhere – you realise what it is to be content with what little you’ve got and how it can make a person happy. I keep thinking that this country has a lot more to offer to us than we do for it. Yet we’ve been given something important for us to use: material abundance and opportunities to make a difference. This is why we’re here – to support a local organisation in helping women and children to have a safe home and a hope for a better future. Our work is only a droplet in that vast ocean of pearls, but an important one.