Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Kathmandu Cuddle

Nepal has had such a profound effect on me. I don't know if it was the early morning yoga, the meditative circling around the stupa, the vegetarian momos (dumplings) or the workshops themselves, but as I departed I had a feeling that a part of me was left behind in a country full of rich colours and gentle smiles.

On 19th August five Alternatives to Violence (AVP) facilitators arrived in Kathmandu to facilitate a series of conflict resolution workshops. In less than a week the workshops that had been discussed for almost a year were to begin. As Subhash, the local coordinator, ran about collecting materials, responding to last minute enquiries and still managing to maintain his constant calm presence, the rest of us busied ourselves with planning the sessions. In the midst of all this activity, I had not adequately prepared myself for the changes that would take place within me, the friendships that would form, and the lessons I would learn.

When the workshops began, I soon became Aletia Didi (older sister) and enjoyed the feeling of family that the greeting gave me. The group took to some of the lighthearted activities with enthusiasm, and adapted many of them to fit their particular context. Laughing yoga was introduced as part of the morning stretch, and our Koala Hug became the Kathmandu Cuddle. I was reminded of childhood, and of being part of a group that was so positive and loving that I wanted to cry.

People had come to the workshops for very different reasons. Some were there for work and some to improve relationships at home but an overwhelming majority came with the hope of finding alternatives to the violence in their country. When we asked the group at the end of the workshop to imagine and draw a peaceful community in Nepal, it was clear from the posters they produced that they had very specific dreams for their country and had every intention of being part of the solution. Now that the project is in their hands, I can't wait to hear about their achievements.

1 comment:

Gajendra Lohorung said...

Aletia Didi,
Its me good Gajendra from Nepal. We all are fine here and hope you too.
We are trying to do the best what you tough us. I feel proud myself indeed through AVP we got an opportunity to be a intellectual friend like Aletia Didi.