A special note from the CEO of CHOICE Humanitarian:
Just last month, I returned from a life-changing expedition to Nepal. I must share with you some of what I witnessed in the field – not as CHOICE CEO, but as a working volunteer with 15 other participants on the other side of the world.
For an entire week, our group worked hand-in-hand with the villagers of Dhuseni. We lived and worked with gracious families throughout the trip. Tara, a 49-year old widow, hosted me in her modest home. Her husband had died just three years prior, falling off a cliff while working on the mountainside. Despite our language barriers, Tara and I enjoyed sipping tea together in the early mornings as the sun rose from behind the Himalayas. As I sat on a bamboo mat sprawled across the front porch, Tara began working on her morning chores: tending to her animals, picking vegetables from her garden, sweeping her yard with a handful of bounded branches, and caring for her 18-month old grandchild, Dia.
(Leah with her host, Tara)
Our morning rituals quickly started to include others who lived nearby. To counter language barriers, I offered to French braid the hair of a few smiling teenagers before they headed off to school. That is when I met Juna – a young, bright girl in the 12th grade who immediately impressed me with her clever nature. She shared with me her passion for education and her desire to become a teacher. As with most village girls her age, Juna must walk two hours each way to school – not out of the ordinary in their world!
(Juna, right, with her brother and CHOICE expeditioner, Brandi)
During this expedition, we spent our days working with the people of Dhuseni on the completion of a school project. One afternoon, I attended a Village Committee Meeting and witnessed firsthand the impact CHOICE has made in building on the leadership skills of others. As part of a long-term development plan, committee members want to ensure that proper education is much more accessible for all children. I listened as project timelines and required funds were discussed in detail. Their goal is simple: provide quality education inside the school equal to the beauty of its exterior! I was then asked to find qualified volunteers who would spend the next couple of years training their teachers.
(Village Committee Meeting)
(Village celebration with Dhuseni school in background)
I returned from Nepal with endless stories and memories, all of which led to the same conclusion: people across the world in remote villages are just like you and me. Parents want to make sure their children have access to a quality education. Parents want their children to be in good health. Parents want to understand how to make a living. I extended my time in Nepal and shared a profound 19-day experience with both my children. I witnessed how the work of CHOICE Humanitarian builds on the natural talents of human beings. I saw a program that is changing lives across the globe.
I share this with you to reiterate the long-lasting impact CHOICE is having in the lives of those who are eager to make a change, and to THANK YOU for your continued friendship. I hope that one day you might be able to have the same experience.