It’s been nearly 2 days since I’ve posted. Yesterday Kadi, Usha, and I flew on Buddha Air to Birgunj where we have border monitoring. Only in Nepal will you see a monkey strolling through the terminal. Our flight only took us 15 minutes, but if we had driven it would have been a 7 ½ hour journey. I’ll take 15 minutes and a cup of Nepali Milk Tea, thank you!
After landing we rented a taxi to take us to the border. This should have been a 30 minutes trip (max), but it took much longer. There was a ton of traffic. We laugh at the fact that we are now used to driving in the wrong lane and having big trucks barreling right toward us (think “playing chicken”) and then having our driver swerving into the right lane at the last minute. My heart doesn’t even stop or speed up any more when that happens.
Nepal has an open border with India, so if you are Nepali or Indian, no one even stops you, you simply walk over the bridge and “Welcome to India!” We badeshi’s (white people) would have had to show our passports. It was nearly 100 degrees or more and SO dusty. Many of the people had never seen foreigners (aka white people) and we were absolutely the feature attraction. As we walked back toward our taxi, I took this video of the traffic on the street. You really can’t appreciate it unless you see it!
Our taxi took us to the spot near where our border-monitoring booth is. We took a picture from a distance, but didn’t want to draw attention to the booth, so after picking up a Tiny Hands staffer, we drove on to the safe house.
At the safe house, I had a wonderful interview with the head of the sub-committee for this border monitoring station. He’s a pastor and his love for the Nepali girls was unmistakable. He desperately wants the girls in his country to be safe and to know Jesus. He shared a number of excellent stories with me. Then we went on to our hotel.
Oh. My. Lands. Words can’t really describe our experience. I absolutely love Nepal and don’t want to share anything that would make people think less of this country, but let me tell you that we had a WILD, SCARY adventure with our first hotel. After finding gecko poop on the bed and finding the culprit on the wall … and multiple geckos in Usha’s first room, we went to find ‘safe’ water to drink. Again, we drew much attention.
We decided to scope out the hotel restaurant where we were going to bring guests that night. One look told us we had to come up with a Plan B … and fast! Usha made a couple of calls and we decided to leave hotel #1. The desk staff was very angry and made us pay a ridiculous price for the room – because we sat in it with the geckos for 2 hours. Sheesh. We were happy to pay and get out! Then we moved to a little piece of heaven. The three of us girls shared a room and had the fastest wi-fi we’ve had yet in Nepal and air conditioning, which was a huge surprise and welcomed treat!
That evening I hosted dinner for the pastor, the sub-committee secretary, four border guards, one substitute guard, the safe house coordinator, and the pastor’s daughter. We had sweet fellowship and enjoyed a nice meal. They all dressed up (we were in our dirty jeans and t-shirts) and ordered simple things. None of them ordered anything to drink. Remember, they are used to eating dal baht twice a day … that’s it. I ordered a Sprite and encouraged them to order drinks. They were so excited! I can’t even tell you how humbling that is! 14 of us ate for 5200 NPR the equivalent of about $52. Unbelievable!
At the end of the meal they expressed their deep gratitude for us taking the time to treat them to dinner and spend time with them. They were so appreciative. I shared our gratitude for their difficult work and faithfulness to THI. Most of all, I thanked them for their obedience. I shared that Jesus asks much of all of His followers. Most put their fingers in their ears, hum “la la la” and behave like Jonah, running the other direction. Instead, those who are helping Tiny Hands, are like David. They are small, but they are taking on a GIANT and we can trust that our God will bring victory one day.
I have to briefly tell you about our breakfast. We wanted to play it safe, so we ordered buttered toast, 2 scrambled eggs, and Nepali Milk tea (Our favorite!!). After an HOUR with nothing served, we asked after our meal and they firmly said that the eggs take time. Hello? After another 30 minutes, Usha told them to cancel the eggs and explained that we had a taxi to catch. They wouldn’t do that and said, “2 minutes.” Then they brought us this …
Oh. My. Gosh. I haven’t laughed so hard in at least a few days. (There’s a team joke that had me almost wetting my pants a few days ago too.) Apparently they curdled milk and then put eggs in it. Who knows what else! I asked why we got two bowls of this stuff and Usha said, it was because I ordered “2 scrambled eggs.” We did not eat this.
I’m not going to lie, I’ve never been so happy to feel our plane’s wheels touch ground in Kathmandu as I was this morning. After a much-needed shower, Kadi and I reconnected with Doug and Shirley. We missed them! Then we got some lunch as our buttered toast was long gone.
We ended our afternoon by taking two bags of goodies to the homeless mama and her two littles whom we have fallen in love with. She recognized us right away and was clearly happy to see us. This time we brought a baby doll for the little girl and a stuffed elephant for the little boy. The little girl and I played. She pinched my cheek and tried to touch my teeth. I think it was the white skin thing again … and I’m so blonde. Then we made fish faces to each other. Oh, my. Carly Cronin, one of the THI staffers, has agreed to look in on our new friends for us. I’m so glad we can still see them through her eyes.
I’m sitting in the lobby of the hotel now as the wi-fi is better here. I just keep crying. We asked God to break our hearts for that which breaks His. He is faithful and He answered that prayer. I can’t say I’m glad.
Tomorrow is our last day here – for this visit. I will be back. I am certain Kadi will too. Huge pieces of our hearts will be left here.