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By: Alex McEneney
Today we experienced many unique and special moments that I never knew I would experience. We started the day by walking to the Himalayan Hope Home with the sun shining. We passed a lot of dogs walking and sleeping as people were motor biking past. We were all really excited about where we were going that the long walk felt really short. When we arrived at the Hope Home we quickly began working: three of my friends and I went to the kitchen to help prepare lunch as the rest of the group started working in the garden. All four of the kitchen walls are windows so the view was beautiful because we saw many temples and homes in the hills. We peeled and sliced vegetables and organized them onto the plates. After we ate lunch, we met a girl from the Home named Lalita. I made her a bracelet out of her favorite colors (pink and white). A few hours later she gave me a much more complex and better looking bracelet with my favorite colors. After lunch I worked out in the garden by shoveling out dirt and plants but we were stopped by the rain. Everyone went inside and we sat in the dining room and as Sonam told us the backstory of the Home as well as herself. The story she told proved to me how strong she and the other girls are. The came from difficult backgrounds and have lost their families but are going to school and playing and spreading their infectious happiness to everyone. I saw how much joy they all have when two friends and I learned dances from some of the girls and we taught them some of ours. We listened to their favorite dance songs and added our own moves while attempting to dance as well as the other girls. Afterwards, we went outside to play volleyball in the rain and it was a really fun bonding experience for our group as well as two men who worked with the Home. The rain was coming down but we were having so much fun that we did not care enough to leave the game. After two games, we met all of the sweet girls who told us their names, their village, and their grade levels. We then began to pack up for the walk to the monastery where we would be staying. As I started to walk down the stairs to meet the group, I was stopped by some of the girls who gave me huge hugs and big smiles. I cannot wait to get to know the girls more and help around the Home over the next few days.
We then started our walk to the monastery. We went on narrow elevated paths around huge gardens and saw people working in them and sitting outside of their homes. We reached the monastery when we saw the red and gold gates. On the inside, there are many elaborate and large beautiful temples, which we went into and watched the monks begin their prayer time. We sat on the side of the temple and listened to them pray in low murmurs that together sounded like one big buzz. It was a really fascinating and relaxing experience and a great way to end the day.