It’s nearly 25 hours until we take off for our Learning Tour to Nepal with New Community Project! I hear Mr. Paul rummaging through the basement for various objects (many of which we haven’t seen sine he moved in this house), I am waiting for several items of clothing to dry on my inside clothesline, trying to think of what necessities I’ve forgotten to pack, and reflecting on this trip ahead of us.
It’s been eight years since I traveled to Burma with NCP. I went during the Interterm of my senior year at Bridgewater College, and signed up to go mainly because of InMotion’s first two Christmas productions: “Hope of the World” and “Let There Be Light” in 2008 and 2009. When preparing “Hope of the World” in 2008, we decided it would be nice for a Love Offering to benefit a good cause, and I chose NCP’s “Give a Girl a Chance” program because I felt it was relevant to the dancers at our studio (who were all girls at the time) -girls who not only had access to public, private, or home education, but who also had the privilege of furthering their education through dance lessons. The opportunity to share the gift of education with girls elsewhere seemed like something they could understand and appreciate. After spending a season promoting this cause that I came to love even more, I felt that it was important to go see this program in action and meet the girls receiving education scholarships. Not only would it be a wonderful experience for me, but it would allow me to better relate the message and purpose of the program to those in our community.
My original NCP trip was actually supposed to be to Nepal- I chose that learning tour because the dates complemented my college schedule but soon after signing up for the trip, the NCP director contacted me and asked if I would still be interested if the destination changed to Burma (Myanmar). That was fine with me, so it was to Burma that I traveled during January of 2010. Paul was also supposed to travel to Nepal two years ago for their 2016 tour, but I screwed up that plan for him. (though Paul is ahead of me on NCP tours- he’s traveled with them on four separate occasions!) We were dating in the time leading up his 2016 trip and discussing marriage plans for the coming summer, so he decided vacation days would be in short supply for moving to VA and honeymooning and thus put his airline ticket money towards an engagement ring instead;-) So here we are in January of 2018, finally off on this trip together!
Some reasons I am excited about this trip: I have been on several trips and vacations since my last NCP Learning Tour and though each have been lovely for various reasons, I missed the heart of learning that truly existed on that trip. Walking with people, visiting them in their communities, meeting them where they were and seeing the joy it brought simply that we were there with them was beautiful! I am also excited to travel with NCP again after continuing InMotion’s Christmas productions each year since becoming studio director. To date, we have raised an estimated (not calculated) $12,000 for “Give a Girl a Chance” and I am so excited by the scholarships that have allowed girls to receive education around the world. I will probably never know the extent to which this has impacted the lives of these girls, but I hope to catch a glimpse of what this can do for them and share that with my InMotion family back home.
Some reasons I am anxious about this trip: some of the issues we perceived the people encountering in Burma were recovering from a recent cyclone, living in a police state, and the environmental hardships of hillside farming/gathering firewood, etc. Our host group in Nepal is one who supports women and children who have been victims of sex trafficking. In all, I feel that what we are to encounter is very “heavy,” and I pray for a spirit of understanding, peace, and love as we visit, listen, and interact with them.
Our pastor came over this evening and anointed Paul and I for our journey. I feel blessed that we can go on this trip, but I was also blessed by the reminder of what a light we can be in the world, and the light that others can be to us. I pray this journey can be one to share with our community back home, and one that grow us in heart and in our love for others. I plan to journal as much as possible during this trip, and I hope to share those journaled thoughts here with you. My blog (though I no longer have access to edit) from my Burma trip is available here and I will post photos and updates on our Nepal trip if we at some point have internet access.
I am praying for InMotion as we begin classes on Monday, and I look forward to working with all my dancers when I return in two weeks! Paul and I appreciate your prayers as well, both for our travel and for each of those we meet along the way!