On Sunday Rick and I traveled by van about 90 minutes outside of Kathmandu to the small town of Dhulikhel. Our purpose was two-fold: to escape the Kathmandu pollution and breathe some fresher air, and to see Rabina, one of our nursing students attending a medical college there.
When Rabina received a phone call that Rick and I were in town, she literally ran to meet us, she was so excited. She is thriving, working hard at her studies (she has exams in 7 subjects, ranging from biology to chemistry to physiology) and working both day and night shifts at the hospital where the students receive practical experience. After graduation she plans on working at a hospital for a few years, then pursuing her Master's degree and eventually going on to teach other nursing students. She is particularly interested in the field of geriatrics, as she finds that older people have much wisdom to share. Being in my 60's, I agreed!
As for Dhulikhel itself, it was a study in contrasts. Our beautiful hotel, the Himalayan Horizon, overlooked the valleys and the mountains. Unfortunately due to the haze, we were not able to see the mountains clearly, but we enjoyed the views nonetheless. I even awoke in time to watch the sun rise, a yellow-tangerine wafer pasted against a blue-pink sky.
And co-existing with great beauty is great poverty. Merely looking in another direction, I can also see shacks with tin roofs, men and women working the fields by hand with a short sickle, dirt roads filled with trash and debris, and little food stands where people sit for hours just waiting for someone to purchase a bag of chips or a can of soda.
And then I think of our kids, and the opportunities they will have because of an education; young people like Rabina who will not only have a bright future for themselves, but who will help build Nepal as well. It makes me smile.