The questions I get asked are interesting and varied. How did you fly here? Are there hills like this in your country? Do people ride motorbikes in America? Do you know how to swim? Do you speak hindu? Are you married? Why not? Do you have any babies? (one woman actually scoffed that I was 21 with no husband or kids, and just shook her head saying lazy lazy girl) Can you help me get an American visa? Can you take my baby to America? Are you very rich? Do you like Nepali boys? What do you eat? Do you know how to eat with your hands? The list goes on. But one of the more interesting ones that stood out to me was “were you scared to come all the way out here?”
I was at a lower secondary school and this was a higher-grade teacher who asked me- a very good English speaker. Was I scared to come to Dailekh? I understood where his question was coming from. Were you scared to come out here to a place so different, with no running water, no cars, to internet, small schools, dirt floors, and different people. But I couldn’t help but find the question absurd. Of course I wasn’t scared to come out here, I explained. I was excited. I was excited to live among the friendly Nepalis, to enjoy life, to be away from the tourists. I was excited to really learn about Nepal. These villages, this hillside: this is how over 80% of Nepal’s population lives. I wasn’t scared to come out into something I didn’t know, I was thrilled to come learn about something new. And I had no fear of integrating myself into the new lifestyle here. I don’t fear what I don’t know, I embrace the chance to learn about it, in ways that other people without openness may never be able to.