18 Jan 18
Our breakfast discussion:
David shared insights and we discussed our own reflections on not being defined by possessions, but seeing each material that passes through our hands as a precious material from the Earth. Environment and conservation: we are called to embody the example of how to live. We have seen on this trip, vast amounts of litter along the roads, especially on the banks of rivers. And of course we see in our society at home, the manner in which we embrace all things disposable. Seeing such large amounts of trash everywhere we went on this trip reminds me again that something that is disposed of in our household and our sight certainly does not mean it is in any way returned to how it was before it came to us, but rather becomes yet another unusable item in the world.
The bus breakdown yesterday:
Sarala told us how other passengers kept confronting the drivers and saying “we can wait more, but what about our guests?” it was heartwarming to hear how they saw us as guests and wanted us to have a pleasant time in Nepal.
Visit to Entertainment Sector:
Sarala says this part of town is active at night, but not in a good way. We visited a building within the sector of the city and met with several women there. This is a resource center connected with Shakti Samuha that helps women exit the entertainment industry. It was established in 2011 to work with girls and women here and help them find jobs outside of this realm, for the entertainment industry itself feed trafficking through its dance bars, massage parlors, and other services. The goal of this center is to provide an introduction to these women of their rights and empowerment.
From my understanding of the conversation, these are some of the people who work here:
A counselor to work with the women who come here.
A beautician, who helps teach them what true beauty is and can also train them as beauticians.
An outreach worker, who visits the sector at night to evaluate the situation and coordinate with other organizations and the police.
There is a library here with stories of trafficking survivors and empowerment material. Women are also able to receive some nonformal education here.
The house was very clean and they were so welcoming to us. And of course they served us milk tea=) This is a place that does receive funds from NCP, especially for microloans so that women can start their own businesses in order to get out of the entertainment industry. They say that “NCP” is a common term around here! There is one woman who knits items to sell. Another woman first tried to start a spicy noodle business, but when that didn’t generate enough income to support her, she started pig farming. She is now making enough to support herself and is no longer working in the entertainment industry.
During the afternoon, we met together once again at the headquarters of Shakti Samuha to discuss our trip, ask further questions, and so that David could discuss with the leaders of Shakti, specifics of how NCP can help their organization between now and when a group will come here again. See, this is how NCP does its business- with the people, among the people, and working with them to create a community between us the giver and the recipient of the gifts they receive- it’s inspiring to see the empowerment that takes place.
After a last dinner at our favorite restaurant, a few of us took a walk in the square around the Boudha Stupa to buy last-minute gifts and souvenirs and make use of any last rupees. As we headed back to our guesthouse, Sarala stopped us at one of the candlelighting stands: “Let us light candles together and pray for solidarity for the women affected by sex trafficking and all who work that it will no longer exist.” It was special to pray together for this on our last night in the city. I continue to pray that Shakti’s work will someday be finished in Nepal and in all countries on this Earth. May God be with all affected and with all who fight it.