Day one in Nepal.
I was happy to arrive at the border and be greeted by Fr P.S. Amal. I was a little worried because, as usual, I didn't know where I was going or how to get there. So if he hadn't been there, I would have been sleeping in an airport that I couldn't even point out on a map.
But he was there and he took to me to what I believe is the loosest border I've ever crossed. It was just some small concrete building on the side of the road. I filled out the paper, paid my money and was on my way.
We crossed the border. Then we crossed a large bridge over the River Ganges, the same bridge that 110,000 Bhutanese refugees crossed by foot over the last few decades. Fr Amal, who was riding with me in the back, chain-smoking and talking about the JRS and Jesuit commitment to the refugees pointed to the far bank of the river saying, "It was on the banks of this river we began our commitment to educating refugees in Nepal."
As we crossed the other side of this holy river, I saw a group of people ceremonially burning a body on the riverbank. While Nepal is known for the Himalayas, I was struck here at the border by the vast flatness; I could see the Ganges twist and turn into the fog at the horizon. I knew I was going to like this country.
Still, I have a lot to see and learn. I am spending my week in the refugee camps to take photos and videos and invite the people we serve to give testimonials about their lives in the camps and their thoughts about their future resettlement.
And I am thrilled at the end of my day to return to a beautiful Jesuit house with hot water, cold beer, clean sheets, three wonderful Jesuits and two incredible sisters.
I can promise a photo of the Nepalese sunrise since the temple next door starts making all sorts of noise at 5 a.m. Until then, here is something I drew in one of my less optimistic moments in India.