Our Host in Kathmandu

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February 19th 2012
Published: February 19th 2012
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Arriving in KathmanduArriving in KathmanduArriving in Kathmandu

Shiva met us with garlands
We first met Shiva in 2000. On a scholarship to study organizing and social work at Boys Town in Omaha, as a SERVAS visitor, he visited our home in David City, NE several times, often when I was teaching real estate out-of-town.

Here is his story:

When he was 15, his mother gave him 50 hard-earned and saved rupees. He walked 12 days to an education in Kathmandu and his life's purpose. At one time, he was an advocate (lawyer), but he left that behind to have the freedom to work for peace and freedom, and to bring enrichment to Nepali villages. He has been honored by Amnesty Internation and the Friendship Force, and has been active in SERVAS.

A few years ago, he presented a 3-day course at a Japanese college. A year later, 20 students came with money and energy. Within a month, they built a school in a small village. Once the village had a school building, it could apply for a government teacher.

In another very low caste village, he and his friends built a water line from the mountains down to the village so it would have a source of clean water. Then, they built a septic field and now, as money is available, they build latrines/toilets attached to individual houses. One interesting by-product: a nearby, higher caste village does not have a clean water source. Those villagers are now coming to the low caste village for their water, a mixing of castes that is nearly unheard of.

Gradually, he says, the villagers have been able to articulate their needs and are involved with change. Because he and his friends are helping to make the villages more hospitable, the villagers are less likely to migrate to Kathmandu, and its attendant slums.

One person can really make a change.


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