Winter 2000 I was absolutely depressed and fed up with the day to day hassle and pressure that all came as part of my role in a retail business.
Around April time I started to think of somewhere where perhaps I could go to “get away from it all.”
I most certainly did not want to lay on a sandy beach or queue for a buffet lunch at some ‘manicured all inclusive’ resort so…
I decided I would go to the Himalayas accompanied by my long-time friend John. We took off for “Shangri Laa”, we hiked, we biked’ we trekked, we talked to the locals and drank quantities of Everest Beer.
For me the over-riding memory I had of that trip to Nepal was the spirit of the children, they have nothing yet seemed so happy and content with what little they did have.
They certainly didn’t have eating disorders, their noses stuck in tablets and mobile phones, nor did they all want to be “celebrities”
Their appetite for life and their ability to soak up knowledge about anything and everything was just so amazing, they were like sponges!
That visit left a lasting impression on me and I guess getting back to my “real world” I felt a certain guilt about feeling peeed off, so much so that a few years later I decided to volunteer to work at an orphanage through an NGO back in Kathmandu.
After two days of intensive language training [even now only manage the normal day to day polite words] they sent me to a home on the edge of the city. It was a little more than a hovel to be honest, the children were filthy they had fleas and head lice and many other things that go hand in hand with acute poverty. They cooked in the open, over wood and kindling that the older kids had been out begging for and the “Mother” who ran the orphanage was by the side of the city ring road every morning at 4am selling cups of tea to passing lorry drivers, to raise much needed money for the home.
Now after a long association with this home, I am so glad I just didn’t pack my bag and come home on day one.
For the past 11 years with help of my wife, some friends and some very kind sponsors we have organised fund raising events and are continually managing to recruit volunteers to go out to visit and help with the children. We have I hope, provided these 28 children with some better prospects for their future and above all given them a roof over their heads, good schooling, clean clothes and a healthier way of living.
It was never my intention, despite the slight similarity in name to become Mother Theresa, but I have become fulfilled knowing that I have contributed something to others who live in a whole different world to the one we live in; in more ways than one.
Terry Mahoney May 2018