Eating the bugs!
My journey with Volunteers Initiative Nepal started with Dee in Hawaii back in 2011. Dee is a former VIN volunteer and the founder of Friends of VIN USA. Because of my connection to Nepal and my experience in the nonprofit sector, she asked me to join the board. Learning about the work of VIN in Nepal, I was delighted to join the volunteer board.
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to journey far and wide alongside VIN staff, volunteers, and the people supported by VIN’s programs throughout all the geographic areas served. Having lived in Nepal for more than 4 years of my tenure, I have had the pleasure and honor of meeting hundreds of program beneficiaries and volunteers, witness dozens of projects in action, and get to know the ins and outs of the work on the ground. Every month, the US board meets virtually to
Getting to be a part of the ongoing work and witness firsthand the positive impacts that VIN has in so many people’s lives has been an honor and pleasure.
Above all, I believe it is the human connection that keeps us each motivated and inspired. Choosing to volunteer with VIN in Nepal is one way of getting to connect more deeply with the people of Nepal, and with oneself, while giving back.
That being said, one of my favorite memories of all time with VIN has less to do with volunteering, and more to do with the human experience of connection and delight, while with Bhupi in his home village in Okhaldhunga.
Anyone who knows Bhupi knows that he is a stoic figure, working diligently day in and day out, ever-inspired by the vision of a more equitable society. But in this brief moment, I saw his inner-child come out. Expressions of uninhibited glee. You see, the first big rain of the year poured down onto the red earth of his ancestral place. And then? Why was he running around like a kid in a candy shop, you might ask? Because the winged insect, that only appears on this one auspicious night, crawled out and started buzzing around. And we ate them. Raw off the dirt floor. And fried and mixed with garlic and onion, cilantro and lime, chilli and salt. And we laughed. And sang and danced, as the electricity grid came on and off and on again. It was pure magic.