*This post was written by Christopher Houts, VisionTrust Global Health Team member and Country Advocate for VisionTrust Nepal
“Nice hat, but where’s your jacket little buddy?” I asked.
We met Abhisek in Nepal’s mountainous and remote Dhading District at a VisionTrust Nepal Learning Center on a crisp and frosty December morning. The center serves 48 children and recently added new students this fall from a nearby Buddhist earthquake relocation community.
These new students joined the Learning Center as a result of an outreach Health Camp organized by VisionTrust Nepal (VTN) Country Director, Buddhi Man Shakya. I was joined by Matt Storer, CEO, for visits of several field sites in the Himalayas.
Abhisek, 8, is in second grade at a nearby government school that struggles to retain competent and responsible teachers. He starts his day at 6:00 am by attending our VTN Learning Center. There he receives tutoring, eats a warm nutritional breakfast, hears about Jesus in a culturally appropriate context, and heads off to school.
Abhisek, like many other kids in this program, comes from an extended family of subsistence farmers. We encountered his grandfather later the same morning carrying a load of rice straw.
“No jacket?, No coat?” I asked.
“Warm hat but no outerwear here or at home,” was the essence of Abhisek’s innocent reply.
A New Appreciation
Again I was struck by how easily we take for granted the most basic provisions of life—a meal, a hat, multiple jackets, and maybe even more so, our freedom to discover Jesus. None of these are a given in places like Nepal, which ranks as one of the world’s most resource-deficient countries.
VisionTrust reaches out to places like Dhading—not five-star but five “R” locations— remote and rugged, rare and rough, and real. In places like this, there are no five-star resorts, but there is unmatched beauty and deeply authentic joy!
God is not intimidated by remote and rough, and neither is our courageous VisionTrust Nepal Country Director, Buddhi Man.
Challenges? Yes! Three of our most-remote Learning Centers in far north Dhading are inaccessible for three months each year. Food and school supplies are stockpiled ahead of the rainy season when rising mountain rivers obstruct the “road.” Spiritual challenges are as immense as the peaks, as a syncretic blend of Hinduism and Buddhism creates fear and reluctance to welcome our presence.
But there are glimmers of hope, like Abhisek receiving a winter coat and being cared for by a VisionTrust team that is passionate about providing for his physical, academic, and spiritual life. The best news is, you can be one of the driving forces behind these glimmers of hope.
Please consider partnering with us to reach far places for children like Abhisek. If you are already a child sponsor, please consider adding a Nepali child to your portfolio of gratitude and grace. Child sponsorship is a great way to counter our take-it-for-granted Western cultural toxicity.