Welcome home!

We have only been in the country for two days, and there’s already too much to write!

Let me set the scene: we flew out of Indy at 8pm on Monday and arrived in Nepal at 7am on Weds with a full day before us. We spent all day doing things like setting up phones and dongles and changing money and meeting our host family, and when we went to bed that night, it had been about 52 hours since we had last gotten out of bed two mornings before. That might be the longest I’ve ever been awake at one time.

One funny note from the airport. Our travel time door-to-door was about 30 hours, so I was feeling a little less than fresh and very sleepy when we lined up for our Nepali visa at the airport. It was one of those quick and chaotic find-the-right-papers-and-get-in-the-right-line-before-everyone-else-on-the-plane-does situations, and we were thrilled to be relatively close to the visa counter when we realized we needed extra passport pics, and I didn’t have one. Jeff saved our place while they pointed me to the photo booth, which was locked and forming a line itself, but a young guy from behind a different counter switched hats, grabbed his keys and ran over to the photo booth, told me to sit on a stool, snapped a pic before I even knew what was happening, and here it was:

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confused, tired, quick and chaotic

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We were greeted at the airport by Sarah, the Tiny Hands Overseas Liaison. She helped get all our phones and dongles set up for us, took us to a guesthouse to shower, helped plan out our week, and hung out with us until our host fam was ready at 3p.

We could not have been blessed with a better host family!

At the family’s gate, a door swung open and a teen girl with a big smile said, Welcome home! Our host family has 14 girls and 4 boys. FOURTEEN SISTERS!!! They range in age from 4-26, and are a combination of siblings and cousins, as their dad’s two brothers, one sister-in-law and one brother-in-law live in the home together. The house is tall and skinny with four levels, maybe 10 bedrooms(?) and bunks everywhere. The host dad, G is a pastor and runs a separate ministry supported by the church and other organizations—his (and his family’s) story is so inspiring, I’m hoping to be able to share more about it later.

Jeff and I are in a room on the first floor, which is where all the kids do their homework.

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Our room

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Homework area outside our room

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Our host home

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Everyone’s shoes all organized outside the door

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The kitchen and living room area are warm and welcoming, and we have felt at home from the very beginning, especially when we discovered a basket of cookies and candy in our room on our arrival. We have Nepali tea with the parents in the mornings and tea on the roof in the evenings, share dinner together as a family in the kitchen, and the kids have come around at different times to talk and hang out one or two at a time. Someone is always home, always friendly and available, and almost everyone speaks English. We are slowly learning everyone’s names, and we’re impressed with how many of the kids come sit with us on the roof to talk or visit, which helps with the name learning one-by-one and is just so darn sweet.

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Family dinner!

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The home has a water filtration system built in, so we’ve had clean water, and there is a solar panel on top to heat water for showers! Which brings me to my favorite room of the house: the roof!

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Evening tea on the roof

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Looking West down our street from the roof

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Our little friend practicing her English homework at dusk

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Some boys playing volleyball on the street below

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Facing south, looking out over the neighborhood

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Looking North

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All the tomato and chili plants- the potatoes and garlic are kept inside because the monkeys steal them!

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The little chili plants

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Hanging the chilis to dry

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The water tank and solar panel

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Our home is a five-minute walk from both the main Tiny Hands Nepal office and the Freedom Operations office, not to mention a restaurant with delicious momos for a dollar. [More on momos later!]

We’ve spent the last two days at both offices meeting and getting to know the Nepali staff, learning a ton about the border monitoring process and the local church’s involvement, and trying to understand things like Bandh- a government issued political strike where no vehicles are allowed on the road at all and nothing is open. Kids are out of school and the only transport option is walking, or sometimes bicycles. Our first morning in the Tiny Hands office was a Bandh day, so people trickled in one-by-one over the course of the morning fanning themselves and gulping water after having walked, some of them, two hours to get to the office (what?!). Our host fam dad, G, had to officiate a wedding that day and had no choice but to walk with several of the kids to the church 5 miles away. All the guests had to walk, so the wedding, which was supposed to start at 11a didn’t start until 1p, and then a second round of guests began to arrive at 5p, so they did another round!

Also tricky are the intentional rolling blackouts. I think there’s a schedule, but I haven’t seen it yet. Wait, I just googled it and found this. Hmm.

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Electricity in certain seasons can be out for up to 16 hours per day. Right now it seems to go out at 8a and come back on around 3p. Some places have generators, and at our house, each room has one working light during blackouts, so that’s nice.

Weather right now is pretty awesome. It’s hot during the middle of the day, but 60s in the mornings and evenings. It hasn’t rained yet so far, and we’re looking forward to doing some cultural things in the city this weekend, before heading down to the borders and to Pokhara with Tiny Hands next week.

We are so impressed with Tiny Hands, it’s difficult to figure out how to fit everything in our short time here, and how to best share everything through World Next Door and on the blog. They are doing SO much SO well, and we’ve already been inspired after only two days.

The International and Nepali staff each have community nights for fellowship and meal sharing, and we’ve been invited to one tonight, which we’re pumped about. We haven’t met the international staff yet, so here’s to hoping we avoid Lost in Translation moments tonight.

Thanks for coming with us via the Internets!

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2013: World Next Door

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So. I’m not really sure how to lay this out, because normal 30-somethings with a mortgage and stable employment don’t up and join a non-profit for a year to advocate for and work alongside social justice organizations around the world.  But you’ll never believe what Jeff and I are about to do…

Yes, okay. You might have just guessed it. 

In March 2013, Jeff and I will be putting our lives on Pause to join an organization called World Next Door. It is a Christian-based non-profit that seeks to inspire and mobilize people here to work alongside and support international mission organizations fighting injustice all over the world—something Jeff and I feel passionate about.

We will be traveling to four different countries, beginning with Rwanda in March and Cambodia in June. We’ll be working hand-in-hand within different social justice missions and capturing their work through writing and photojournalism. In Rwanda, we’ll be working with ALARM (African Leadership and Reconciliation Movement) on leadership development, reconciling relationships, and transforming communities through economic empowerment, education, health promotion, and orphan care—among other programs.  In Cambodia we’ll be working with the Center for Global Impact to combat sex trafficking through a dress-making program called The Daughter’s Project, a culinary training center, and a micro-enterprise initiative called byTavi. Our goal through the writing and photojournalism piece is to bring people to places like Rwanda and Cambodia so that they (you?) can get an inside look at what is happening and how to fight injustices that exist all over.  

If you know us a little, then you know that Jeff and I have passions for social justice, photography, and writing, and we are both inspired by our faith. So, this is a perfect fit!  Also, as you might already know via FB and blogs, we’ve been through two years of infertility, and this is the first thing that has given us excitement and purpose beyond having a family. We still hope and pray that God will give us a family someday, but right now we believe we are still living a life of adventure and purpose, just in a different way.

We would like to partner with others who feel inspired to join this mission- in prayer and/or program costs- to offer a bridge from your home to the other side of the world. We would like to put together a prayer support team, and a fundraising team. We are required to raise half the cost of our year-long mission for World Next Door and are looking for 35 people, families, or groups to contribute $100/mo for a year (2013). This may be the most intimidating part in the whole endeavor. Taking leaves from our jobs, deferring our school loans, and leaving our families is nothing compared to raising a year’s worth of money in three months!

Although we know this is mot the majority, there are individuals and families who set aside a designated amount of monthly or yearly funds to contribute to missions or charity organizations. Maybe that’s you, and you feel inspired to support us individually. Or maybe you know of friends or family members who support different missions you could pass this info along to.

Another option is to pool money in groups (friends, co-workers, life group, small group, Sunday school class, etc.) to donate $100/mo? There are creative ways this could be done, but, given the challenging economic times, maybe you are just not in position to support us financially. We definitely understand and your thoughts and prayers would be much appreciated.

Thank you so much for reading and considering, and if you have more questions, let’s talk! My cell phone is (260-249-9068) and my email address: brkwilson@gmail.com

Here are several links to the organizations we’ll be embedded with: 

World Next Door: http://www.worldnextdoor.org/about/
ALARM:
http://alarm-inc.org/
Center for Global Impact:
http://www.centerforglobalimpact.org/projects.html

TO DONATE (tax deductible):

If you want to contribute financially, just let me know, and I’ll email you a pledge card. You can fill out the pledge card, attach a check, and mail it to World Next Door.

Checks are made out to “World Next Door, Inc.” and designate “Fellowship 4” in the memo line. Mail it to:
World Next Door

5501 N College Ave
                                          
Indianapolis, IN  46220

To Give Monthly (Automatic Bank Payments)

Did you know that most banks allow you to set up automatic monthly payments for free? 

By entering World Next Door as a recipient with your online banking service, your gift can be automatically sent straight to WND mailbox (5501 N College Ave, Indianapolis, IN  46220) without you having to ever lift a finger.  How cool is that?

Check out your online banking website for more information (if your online banking service requests an account number, please use the phrase FELLOWSHIP 4).  *You can also donate Monthly on PayPal by visiting www.worldnextdoor.org/give

Love & Hugs, 
Jeff & Brooke

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