These are the accounts of Sonder Project co-founder, Ashley Hamm as she travels through Nepal and India with our deworming partner, Aaron Jackson of Planting Peace.
Today was my first day in Nepal. I’m 12 hours ahead of you… staying at the Ganesh Himal hotel for $13 a night last night and tonight. This morning I woke up early and went to breakfast at a hotel down the road where there was no electricity but they had great coffee and even better breakfast potatoes and vegetable dumplings that cost me $1.50.
There is a major fuel shortage in the country so it’s the topic of any conversation that we started with locals. A lot of friction between India and Nepal right now because of this and everyone thinks China is a hero because they are bringing fuel for “free.” They have lines of cars that last for miles to get gas.
We met a taxi driver who offered to drive us around all day so we went to The Monkey Temple (so pretty, look it up) and then he drove us all throughout the city, explaining landmarks and the people and the history and the religions and the earthquake. After seeing what feels like 100 beautiful temples of various religions, we had an appointment at the Butterfly Home, an orphanage right outside of the city.
Pushpa Basnet is the owner of the Butterfly Home and was CNN hero of the year 3 years ago. Her story was featured again and updated after the earthquake this year. The earthquake destroyed a large portion of the home so they have been staying in a smaller home temporarily. She is set to move into a new facility in December. She had one of the most beautiful hearts ever. Aaron and I are collecting a list plus cost of what they need. She specifically mentioned Nepalese blankets. Currently she has 40 kids, all of whom came from prisons where children stay after their parents are arrested. They range in age from under one year to around 16. Seriously. The cutest kids. They don’t allow pictures in the orphanage but Pushpa allowed me to take a picture with her (shown here). Check out her story on CNN if you have a chance.
Tomorrow we are headed towards the India/Nepal border (about a 6 hour bus ride) to a small village. There are 2 other orphanages here that we are trying to see.