During monsoon season it rains every day, surrounding the mountains north of Kathmandu in distant cloudy haloes.
It is magical seeing Tibetan nuns running through the rain towards their temple in the misty mountains.
One of the highlights of the Nepal site visits was meeting with the beautiful women of Blessed Hope.
They had come to Kathmandu from their villages in the Himalayan mountains to escape the hardships—the same places where stunning views and heroic sherpas draw tourists from around the world.
With no formal education, three indigenous women joined together to help themselves and their sisters by learning trades such as crocheting beads and felting wool.
The moment our small team stepped out of the rain and onto their porch, the welcoming began.
First, an incensed blessing,
then a song,
and shawls and aprons placed on my head, and around my waist.
It was beautiful and humbling, exactly as they intended.
When they tied their apron around me and sang, tears welled with gratitude. The caps they wore were made with coins and contrasted with their shiny black hair plated with red ribbons.
It looked as if they were wearing haloes, as mystic and beautiful as the ones on the mountains.
It could have been that I was still weak from being sick the evening before, it could have been the wonder of distant lands, but their leader, Sonam—whose smile brings sunshine in monsoons—was saintly!
I hope I don’t ever have to take off the bracelets she gave me.
I have heard the story of gender-based violence for so long, and yet I marvel at the resiliency and ingenuity of survivors.
What felt new to me was the sacred connection playing out in real time between survivors and friends all around the world working together for Blessed Hope.
We can generously offer one another ribbons and dances in gratitude for the sisterhood forged in spaces beyond words, where transformed trauma and haloed mountains dwell.
PEACE AND LOVE,