By: Jayson Morris
I had a much more light-hearted blog ready to go but couldn’t bring myself to post it after the disaster in Nepal. Nepal and its people hold a special place in my heart ever since I crossed the friendship highway from the majestic Tibetan plateau through the mighty Himalayas and into Nepal back in 2002.
I was immediately enraptured with the beauty of this tiny country – the lush green valleys, the soaring backdrop of the Himalayas, the vibrant culture of Hindu, Tibetan and Buddhist worlds colliding - all juxtaposed against such overwhelming poverty that Nepal ranks 145th on the human development index. Despite the poverty, the spirit of the Nepalese people stole my heart. The word Namaste… or as the children of Nepal love to say to trekkers: “na- MA- staaaaaaaaaay!” quickly became one of my favorite words in any language. It’s fun to say, brings a smile to my face, and has such a beautiful spiritual meaning:
"I honor the place within you where the entire Universe resides; I honor the place within you of love, of light, of truth, of peace; I honor the place within you, where, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us.”
It was love at first sight, and my time in Nepal was a large part of why I left to corporate world for international development. Since then, I’ve been fortunate to work with two incredible organizations serving the people of Nepal – Room to Read and READ Global – working side by side some of the most talented and passionate Nepali people who personally sacrifice with long hours and less pay than they could otherwise earn to strengthen their country, particularly the impoverished rural areas. I’ve been back to Nepal five times for work – each time falling a bit more in love with the people, the land, and the dhal baht.
Nepal has given so much to my life – two awe inspiring, spirit soaring, trips to the Himalayas; boundless inspiration from seeing schools and communities change their prosperity trajectory; endless laughter and smiles from friends and strangers; and a sense of life purpose.
These past few days my heart has ached, my shock and frustrations have boiled to random cuss words every time more news comes out, and the tears flow often. Sadly, it is only going to get worse in the next few days as updates from the rural epicenter come in. I can’t help but think of the gorgeous little girl in the photo above which I took in 2010 in Lamjung District – near the quake epicenter. I pray that she and her family are okay.
Amidst the sadness, I am trying to find things to remain grateful for. Here are a few I have found:
As of the time of writing, almost all of my former colleagues and my friends have reported back safe.
I appreciate Google and Facebook for facilitating communication and check-ins that provided information on those loved ones quickly. These companies get a lot of grief from the media, but their technology helped close the information gap.
I am heartened by the lightning quick response of larger relief organizations, governments, more established iNGOs like Room to Read, and the smaller grassroots organizations that will serve a vital role – today is not the day to draw comparison amongst them but to thank them all for what will assuredly be a multi-billion dollar relief and reconstruction effort.
And finally, I remain inspired for the fantastic work that social entrepreneurs have been and will continue to do in Nepal before, during, and after this relief efforts. I am sure Medic Mobile technology will be important in the coming days, the work that Possible is doing with the Nepal health care system will certainly be leveraged, and many other entrepreneurs both international and Nepali will rise up to come up with solutions to help recover and rebuild.
So with a heavy but resilient heart, my thoughts remain with the wonderful people of Nepal and the beautiful people from all around the world that are rallying to Nepal’s aid. Namaste Nepal – I see you, I feel you, and I send you my love and support.
If you would like to help, please visit the link below where one of our grantees Medic Mobile has listed organizations doing relief and rebuilding work on the ground: