Field Note #96: Cultural Immersion in Nepal
Today was our first full day in Nepal. After traveling 6 hours by bus from Kathmandu to Chitwan, where we would be staying and working the rest of the week, a group of us decided to explore the area a little bit. We walked up and down the streets taking in our new surroundings and a new culture. We were met by groups of people joyously greeting us and smothering our faces with colored powder.
You see, today is Happy Holi, one of the biggest celebrations that happens across the whole country. For this festival, people throw colored powder and water balloons at each other in celebration of good defeating evil and to usher in spring. White people aren't completely uncommon in Nepal, but we are still foreigners and unfamiliar with the culture. But that didn't stop the local people we met on the streets from welcoming us in and wanting to share their celebration with us. They graciously covered us in color, invited us to dance with them and laughed with us as we celebrated life together on purpose. It was great to truly immerse in their culture and share a common experience even when we spoke two different languages.
- Sarah, Administrative and Intern Coordinator