Nepali children express their joy in giving and sharing. Along the route of Action Asia Nepal 3-day race, 10-year old petite Nepali girls lined up in one of the villages and handed out marigolds to the runners while cheering and smiling wide for them as each one passed by. I carried that marigold for miles, carrying their smiles with me. Another young boy helped me find the race course that I lost in a small group of houses on the route of 2 miles of stairs straight up. He was a life saver when I ended up in his back yard. I gave him my package of Choc Blocks as a thank you. On the final day of the race, a teenage boy, who spoke no English, walked along with me for much of the last 2 kilometers of the race.
The last day we visited Freedom Children’s Welfare Center, we encountered their joy again when we brought 7 runners from the race to visit the orphanage. When we arrived, the children of the orphanage started yelling “queri, queri” which means foreigners. The excited shouts turned to lots of smiles from the petite Nepali children. After introductions everyone burst into play in a variety of ways. The boys were initially intently listening to Adam, a 6’2″ muscled trail runner extraordinaire. Lindsey, a petite lightly curled brown hair sparkling deep brown eyes with sparkling eyes and Adam’s wife, entertained the girls as well. Another couple , Elina and Maude, brought balsa wood airplanes to put together and strangely shaped balloons with happy faces, which captivated the boys and some of he girls. After a huge lunch was served to all 7 runners and ourselves, we were told the children had a short program for us. It turns out the program was to thank us. They asked all the runners/hikers to get into a semi circle. Kamala presented us with katas (silk scarves that are seen as blessing), knitted hats , and a received a beautiful magenta designed pashima/silk scarf. At the end of all this, they gave JP and me a booklet of drawn pictures from all the children and an amazing laminated Thank you certificate. Many of the runners had tears in their eyes. What a way to end a wonderful trip.